Archives februari 2015

The Next Generation Business

Businesses are evolving at an astonishing speed, making them either change or move out of business.

One of these changes that’s happening very fast lately, is the use of so called Intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs within a company. These people usually come up with the new ideas, bring innovations to the table and are usually involved in business development, although it might not be a real part of their job.

These changing businesses also lead to changing rules, and new ideas will have to find new ways to survive in the company. A very good example of this is given on the site of Forbes.

In this article Hakan Exner, Professor of Entrepreneurship, shares six tips on how to survive as an Intrapreneur in a company. Pretty interesting to read, and potentially very helpful for you.

Do you have any other tips on surviving as Intrapreneur? Share them in the comments section!

Should We Still Value Uber Like a Startup?

Once again Uber had another round of financing, this time raising $2.8 billion, giving Uber a total value of over $41 billion dollar. This sounds like an enormous amount of money, which it actually also is, but is a company which is most of all known for its taxi app really worth that much?

It is hard to put a real value on a truly innovative company like uber, as is also explained in this article on HBR. But this also raises another question: Should we value these companies the old way, or should we more look at them like start-ups, where we value the potential of the firm instead of its actual value.

The current value is more made up by the fact that Uber needed that money to grow and they paid in shares, instead of focussing on the perceived value of the total company.

Only by looking at it in this way the value of Uber can be explained, though the future will have to tell us if they can live up to this.

And I believe that other high-valued young companies should be treated the same, when looking at their value, since this is the most sensible way to explain these enormous valuations.

Mirror Marketing

Marketing can be done in a lot of ways. I’ve seen a lot of them over the past few years, but this one is one I rarely stumble across: A sticker on a mirror.

2015-02-12 10.55.48

To promote the sports day of Grontmij, they produced these stickers and put them on the mirrors in the bathrooms, where you see yourself in it while washing your hands (approximately that is, I’m too tall, so my head is cut in half by it…).

Still, I think that it’s nice way to grab attention for those things, though I believe that is one of of those marketing techniques that shouldn’t be used too often.

Innovations You Never Thought You Might Need

Innovation is all about coming up with new ideas and recombining old ideas, to create something new. However, not all innovations are as simple thought of, no matter how handy they are, like the ones who made it to this list.

I’m not saying that all of them are equally useful, but some of them are pretty genius, like the hour-glass traffic light.

What’s your favorite?

What’s Safer, AC or DC?

One of the discussion points for my thesis is the safety when using direct current to transport electricity. Especially when touching cables the risks should be bigger, so I was told.

Is this really true?

Lucky for us, I’m not the first one to have this question. Already in the 1940’s this debate was solved by the only right way. Yes, you thought correct, by testing it on humans.

Charles Dalziel was an American scientist, interested in everything that had to do with electricity, which included safety. To test the effects of electric shock on men, he used the 115 men to test the effects of DC and 167 men to test the effects of AC on the human body and wrote this article about it.

His interesting conclusions were that both systems lead to contraction of the muscles up to the point where the subject looses control, meaning not being able to let go of the conductor the subject is holding. The interesting point of this is that the current needed for this to happen is much lower for AC (between 6 and 24 mA, with an average of 16 mA), than for DC (300 mA on average).

However, a normal power plug kicks out at currents over 16A, meaning that you’ll not be able to retell the story when you stick your fingers in the plug in both cases.

Also, the risks for the heart are very different between the two systems. This is mainly since the alternating current will put the heart into fibrillation (uncontrolled contraction), whereas DC will just put the heart to a standstill, which apparently has a better survival rate (restart use a defibrillator, which uses, surprise surprise, a short DC shock to restart the heart).

Also in this case the current that’s needed to trigger a heart attack turned out to be lower for AC (2s 50mA) vs. DC (2s 150mA). However, when a current of 500mA is flowing through the body, the heart attack takes place after 0,2s for both systems

So, we can simply conclude from here that both systems are dangerous (so don’t try the experiment at home), but that the DC system shows to be hazardous only at a higher current compared to AC.

+1 for DC.

Header photo: Determination of the let-go current. Fig 10a, Dalziel, 1956


New Challenge

Today I officially started my masterthesis internship at Grontmij, doing research on Direct Current in the Office environment for ABN Amro.

I’m quite excited that I have the chance to work for them, and I hope that we can make a nice project with good outcome, and that I can graduate with a nice mark of course.

Keep an eye out here for more information (when I can and may).

Photo: Sander Stoepker via Grontmij