capitalism + collaboration = collabitalism

Monetizing MOOCs

by scott pickard

My neighbor is a professor in computer science and he is developing a new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) and I’m going to meet with him to find out what kind of ePUBS and/or POD documents he wants to offer students. The crazy thing about these Coursera courses is they get sometimes over 30,000 students worldwide that register for just one course. Take a look at the universities and other organizations that are jumping on this bandwagon:

Here’s a link to a course in “cloud computing concepts”:  The course is free but you can earn a “Verified Certificate” which is part of a series of courses in cloud computing. It says that no textbook is required.

I think some of these instructors wouldn’t mind giving the global student the option of downloading some ePUBS and/or Print-on-Demand (POD) class notes and/or textbook. Many students still like to have a hard copy of something which they can carry around and annotate and doodle on.

Profitability Monetization ad networks: widgetbucks | games & social networks:,, upsight, playjam | mobile apps inner-active | Monetization-as-a-Service (MaaSTM): playspan | platform optimize: monetate| social networks: | tv: deliveryagent | user-generated content | video: auditude,,, realgravity E-Mail | Apps | Blogs | Currency | Digital

monetize MOOCs with print-on-demand

The exciting thing about this is that each course can attract anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 students or more to register from across the world, and this is only going to grow as more and more hiring corporations value “skills verification” which can very cost-effectively be obtained via these MOOCs. The number of registered students is driven by the brand name of the professor and the demand for the particular topic. Clearly any topic that adds to a student’s “verified skills,” builds credits toward a degree, and ultimately leads to a good-paying job will be in high demand. Since the student is already able to take the course for free, the marginal cost to pay a modest amount for some E and/or POD publications is something many students would opt in for (i.e., pay for). So you have this massive captive market of students for each course, and right now it looks like there’s really no cloud-based platform for them to get course-related materials.

The “Verified Certificate” is one way they (Coursera and partner institutions) monetize the course. The cloud computing concept certificate is $49. Downloaded E and/or POD course materials would be a second way of monetizing.

Another interesting development is the “Amazon Campus” just announced:


How to get help with a patent if you’re a first-time inventor

by scott pickard

The first thing I would do is identify all the local startup business incubators and/or co-working facilities in your community, especially the ones that seem to be the best fit to your idea.  Usually these places have an open-door policy that allows people to come in with new ideas that have the potential to later on develop into new products/businesses. They’ve got their finger on the pulse of all the local attorneys who provide patent services, and in some cases you can get a sit-down session with one of these attorneys at no cost. See how far you can get without having to spend any money.

Another thing you should do is attend an entrepreneur’s mixer(s) at these incubators and do some social networking with the entrepreneurs and staff because they’ve been down this path before and they will know who to contact and who not to contact.

Reseearch Parks Co-Working Space THE CO-WORKING MANIFESTO inside the corporation, i compete against you, you compete against me, every person for themselves. inside the co-working mashup, you do not compete against me, I do not compete against you, rather, it is the Cheers effect: everybody knows your name, you are happy to see me, I’m happy to see you, you are interested in my ideas, I’m interested in yours, you want to help me, I want to help you, you learn from me, I learn from you, together, we design and build cool things that make an impact in people’s lives. sp in general: about | multidisciplinary mashups: Geekdom | pay-it-forward: gangplank | revenue: $50/sf/year hackerspaces: bio: biocurious, | Case Western: thinkbox | hackerdojo | history: L0pht | hostels | how-to:, eHow, | makezine | 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse by Garth Johnson | tinkering: about, Artisan & Fab Lab, tinkering school incubators and accelerators: Chicago: 1871 | China: innovation-works | corporations: When Big Companies Support Start-ups… Mitra | food & restaurant: lacocinaf | FREE!: commnexus | health applicatons: rockhealth | IT: galvanize Denver | Orange County: | tandementrepreneurs | USC: Viterbi Startup Garage | US-China: | virtual: Incubator-In-A-Box libraries: My idea is to convert the basement of our library (40,000 sf, polished concrete floor, high ceiling, dry, well-lit, broadband wireless, plenty of power, and empty!) into a fablab, makery, hackerspace, design studio, and other creative uses that our patrons can come up with…..more sp | Launch Fishers articles and books : aStore | A Comprehensive Guide to Business Incubation Erlewine | Start Small: Why Tinkerers Get Things Done McGuinness | Startup Nation clusters Entrepreneurship | New Products | Collaboration

tapping the wisdom of the entrepreneurial crowd at your local co-working facility


Board Governance: Champaign Public Library

Preservation of Knowledge Libraries Let this be a holy place for the human spirit consecrated to the forces which magnify the soul. Edmund James History 21st century advocacy: EveryLibrary censorship disruption: Libraries: At the EpiCenter of the Digital Disruption Kinds of Libraries Library architecture Library materials digital content magazines: zinio streaming: hoopla Interlibrary relations The Library profession and professional financial sustainability: local fundraising campaigns organizations: Center for the Future of Libraries | IMLS in general: Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) | Micro-libraries: Little Free Library sharing | beautiful: The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World, 20 Beautiful Private and Personal Libraries Change | think2ool | Books | Digital | Future | Innovation | Search

Champaign Public Library

Scott Pickard joined the library board in October 2013.

Describe the importance of public libraries.
I often run past the UIUC underground library, and one day I stopped to read the words inscribed on the stone wall: “Let this be a holy place for the human spirit consecrated to the forces which magnify the soul,” and, “Books are alive to the man who knows how to use these sources of inspiration and power.” The clarity and truth in these quotes has made a lasting impression on me and emphasizes so well the importance of libraries.

Describe your background and what you bring to the board.
My background is a combination of engineering, entrepreneurship, and writing/editing. I have served on many for-profit and non-profit boards, so good governance is a special interest of mine. My family has lived in the same house for 30 years only blocks from the CPL, so this library has played a special role with our family and my kids growing up.

Tell us a little bit about your family, pets, etc.
My wife Karen and I have been married 42 years. We have three children and three granddaughters. I’m an avid runner, tennis player, golfer, traveler, reader, writer, and tinkerer.

What have you read, watched, or listened to lately?
Read: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Watched: The Golden Globes, mostly to see and hear the comedy genius of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I listen to NPR just about all day, every day.

Due Diligence List

Due Diligence List has over 2,000 good due diligence questions organized under fourteen major functional areas of the business.  There is also a sister book, Leaders Ask Good Questions, which has the same questions organized alphabetically.

On spinning out (commercializing) a university research center

by scott pickard

Sitting there in the meeting this morning and my mind wandering a bit (been doing that since first grade), I thought: “When/if the research grant goes away, what happens?”

Does  the Research Center just go poof, everybody blowing away in the breeze to a new position, some repotted at the University in various departments; some going out to private industry; some retiring?

Then I thought about everything that is inside these walls. If you draw a box around this place and call it “Proprietary Intellectual Property (PIP),” it’s market value as a going concern is substantial when you include:

  • Documents in general
  • Templates
  • Spreadsheets
  • Software
  • Calculators, algorithms, rules-of-thumb
  • Archive of reports
  • Processes and procedures
  • Everything that’s on the web site: content, pictures, videos
  • Curriculum, courseware, workshop and presentation materials
  • Marketing and general collateral materials
  • Database(s) and data
  • Product info, specs, costs
  • The Center’s collective rolodex of professional, industry, governmental contacts
  • The Center’s brand identity and goodwill
  • The Center team and their collective expertise and experience
  • Continuing access to the best students

In a shutdown scenario, who “owns” the PIP?  The University?  The Funding Sponsor?  Would either even be interested?

Engineering and R&D Research and Development What’s likely to be the “next big thing?” What might be the most fertile areas for innovation? Where should countries and companies invest their limited research funds? What technology areas are a company’s competitors pursuing? How are projects chosen for R&D?  What is R&D’s past record for successful completion of projects to budget and schedule?  When does management expect products will reach the market from research projects currently underway?  Is the company working smart to optimize the FDA approval process?  How would management rate the company’s R&D operations against its competitors?  How well does R&D integrate its work with marketing?  End user?  Engineering?  Production?  Is R&D’s major emphasis applied or basic research?  How much do the company’s projected financials depend upon successful new products developed by R&D?  Does the company effectively protect the secrecy of R&D projects?  Is there sufficient federal financing to support R&D at adequate levels?  What is the company’s approach towards capitalization of R&D expenses?  Is management well informed of R&D activities?  Are the company’s research facilities adequate?  How confident is management that R&D’s team and plan will lead to the right product(s) at the right time?  Has management evaluated the cost-effectiveness of shifting some portion of R&D expenditures and operations to external sources? (a) venture capital funds; (b) R&D alliances; (c) government funding such as ATP in general: Chance favors the prepared mind. Pasteur | citations: zotero | crowd funding: experiment | design of experiments: about | electronic lab notebooks: | ethics: Integrity in Research and Publication | europe: cordis | | incentivization: prize challenges | magazines: rdmag | matching problems with solutions: | molecular imaging: | networks: internet2 | patents: mapping | pharmaceutical R&D:, wingu | poster template | rent & read: deepdyve | research universities: | videos: labtv academic: The traditional metric of academic capital is citations. | Should researchers make their source code available when submitting a research paper to a peer-reviewed scientific journal? | bio template: | data sharing: figshare | funding opportunity announcements: grantforward | impact: h-index | news: futurity | scientific literature: Action Science Explorer | Association of Research Libraries | open access, peer-reviewed joournals: peerj,  | social networking: | Search: federal labs: Argonne National Laboratory: | Idaho National Laboratory: | Kansas City Plant: | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: | Los Alamos National Laboratory: | National Renewable Energy Laboratory: | Oak Ridge National Laboratory: | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: | Sandia National Laboratory: | Y-12 National Security Complex Heilmeier Catechism: What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.  How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?  What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?  Who cares?  If you're successful, what difference will it make?  What are the risks and the payoffs?  How much will it cost?  How long will it take?  What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? | The Heilmeier Catechism Visits the University sp lab management: workflow management: accelrys | software: quartzy free multidisciplinary research: What are the top ten actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century? Stanford | synthesis centers: science incubators | World Café charrette translation of project results: To what extent do the research issues being pursued relate to challenges along the pathway towards achieving meaningful use?  How effective are the methods used to accelerate translation of research into application(s)?  To what extent has the project identified the salient, potentially breakthrough challenges?  Are innovative research methods being applied to meet the ultimate research agenda?  What problems have been encountered in implementing all of the required features of the project?  What relationships has the project established with industry to facilitate the translation of the research? | funding: action science: definitions | proof-of-concept books and articles: Breakthrough Stefik | Closing the Innovation Gap Estrin | Evaluating Research Centers & Institutes for Success! Tash | Scientists Popularizing Science: Characteristics/Impact of TED Presenters Sugimoto Sustainability | Wellness | Automobile | Innovation | Crowd | Science |The big idea I’m left with is you could develop a business plan for the inevitable and at that time, license out the entire PIP by mutual agreement with the University and/or the Sponsor, and reboot the Center as a commercial enterprise. If you chose to do it big, you could attract some equity capital to fund startup costs for space, equipment, and competitive industry salaries, benefits, etc.

And that begins a whole new story.