Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Welcome to the Innovators Summit

Getting on the TRAX in Salt Lake City, Utah
I gave myself plenty of time to get to Salt Lake City from Provo. The train takes about an hour and then you transfer to the TRAX or light-rail and get dropped off about half a block from the Salt Palace where today's Innovator Summit is being held. I got my registration materials and stood around talking to a few people and then went to Ballroom where the Keynote for the Innovators Summit is being held.

Registration was really simple if you got here before sunrise. This is the South entrance registration area on the main floor of the Salt Palace.

The Ballroom hall was large enough to make it look like the room wasn't too crowded. A couple of bloggers were sitting around the lone electrical outlet. If I am going to keep typing all day, I need electrical connections. Finally, the intro by Bruce Brand of FamilySearch. Now, I will go into my report and comment mode.

We are in the Golden Age of Genealogy. Interesting statement but I am not sure that there was enough progress in the past with genealogy that what we have accomplished will qualify as the Golden Age in the future. Bruce reviews DNA as the tipping point and machine learning as the impetus of the changes in genealogy. I see blog topics here.

Sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs, there is a Hack-a-thon and other development activities planned.

Next Scott Sorensen, Chief Technology Officer at

This is an exciting time for family history and I agree. TV programs increasing interest. 4 out of 5 people want to learn about their family history. He talks about mobile platforms. has a very useful and easy to use app for my own iPhone. Document analysis technologies are advancing. He reviews the 13th International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition. Innovators innovate, customers validate, quote from Nathan Furr.  DNA is the main thrust of his presentation.
Here is the process:

  • Indentify group of people with common ancestor
  • Match your DNA to those in the circle of ancestors
  • Pursue the connections
My observation is that the "research" part is the problem since many of these connections are based on unsourced family trees.

Dr. Nathan Furr, Author and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

How do you turn your ideas into reality. Alternative to a business plan:
Is the problem worth solving?
Experiment with idea multiple times and ways
Answer key questions - can we develop an online solution?
Run a number of experiments
See -- a startup that used this outline

New technology is changing the way companies are run faster than you can imagine. Where does management come from? Entrepreneurial management vs. traditional management. High uncertainty vs. Low uncertainty. Study on how entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.  Elements include:
Agile Learning and other factors. To get the details, you probably have to read Dr. Furr's books. Gave example of Corning Ware glass. His first research was on Disruptive Innovators. Savor Surprises. Innovators display discovery behaviors: questioning, observing, experimenting, associating. 

Studio C even shows up in the Innovator Summit. Understanding the job to be done with an example of Harley Davidson motorcycles to how all this fits into the Innovators' Cycle: build, measure, learn. Use of theoretical prototypes, virtual prototype, minimum viable prototype, minimum awesome product. One of the traps is applying the "old" business model to new ideas. 

Comment: This looks like a complicated process. I suggest that if you want to be an entrepreneur that you get busy and review some of these ideas and get to work. Having started about eight different companies, I learned quickly that some got off the ground and others did not. Over the years, one business lasted 4 years, one lasted 11 years and one lasted 30+ years. Some never made it past the talking stage. 

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