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Jess Knox of Maine Startup and Create Week

Jess Knox Show Logo

Jess Knox is the co-founder and chair of Maine Startup and Create Week, an amazing and visionary convening of everything startup for the week of June 19-23 in Portland, Maine. Jess has a long background with startups and economic development, having worked for President Obama’s Small Business Administration. He’s a big thinker and not afraid to swing for the fences. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

MSCW is full of opportunities. If I had to pick just one (besides my talk), I would go with Maine Technology Institute’s Tech Walk, which is the networking opportunity of the year. From there, fill out your schedule with workshops and keynotes. If you stay in the coffee shop and do email, I guarantee you’ll regret it – in this case, the entrepreneurial opportunities are going to come to you, and since there are so many to choose from, most of the events are not crowded and you will have a chance to deeply engage.

Due to my work as a legislator at budget crunch time, I cannot participate as fully as I would like, but I know you’ll enjoy it, and I’m jealous of you.

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Maine Technology Institute’s Tech Walk

I walked into MTI’s Tech Walk with the ol’ Zoom H4N at the ready and conducted some on the spot interviews. It was fun to do, and I met some powerful entrepreneurs created success statewide. In this episode I also put in a plug for a Biddeford based pitch contest called Pitch York County, which I hope you’ll participate in.

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Shawn Moody speaks at Envision Maine

Shawn Moody from Moody’s Collision Centers, speaking at the Envision Maine ‘Dreamers and Doers’ series hosted by Alan Caron.

Note that the Gorham Savings Bank Launchpad contest starts Jan 15.  And you can register for Heather Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewery here.

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Dan Kerluke of Double Blue Sports Analytics

Dan Kerluke is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bangor, Maine based Double Blue Sports Analytics.  He is a former pro hockey player and UMaine hockey coach who recognized a need for easier ‘moneyball’ type statistics tracking in hockey.  Download and try a free demo of the 360 Save Review System for your iPad from the App Store!  (And give it a 5-star review).

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How can we grow without wrecking the place?

Alan Caron and his nonprofit Envision Maine seek to answer these three questions:

  1. What is the engine of Maine’s next economy?
  2. How do we grow without wrecking the place?
  3. What are we gonna do about it?

The group (of which I’m a board member) is hosting a conference called the Envision Maine Summit on Friday September 26 to explore just these three questions.  Please join me there.

PS: I keep forgetting to mention in my intro and outro how much I appreciate WMPG 90.9 carrying excerpts of The Grow Maine Show as part of their entrepreneurial programming.

Listen to the episode:

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#16: Pete Vigue of Cianbro

Pete Vigue is one of Maine’s most remarkable CEOs.  He’s led Cianbro Corporation, an employee – owned heavy construction firm

Pete Vigue 2013 - head shot

based in Pittsfield, Maine, through a period of remarkable growth, and he’s done it in an unexpected way.  In the lingo of these times, Cianbro has pivoted.

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#9: Don Gooding of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development

Don Gooding is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs.  From his days founding the single largest supplier of a capella music resources inDon recording the cast the US, to his current dual role as Executive Director of Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and Vice Chair of Maine Angels, Don is the center of Maine’s entrepreneurial universe.  He’s also one of the most engaging people to talk to that you will ever find.  So listen in as I screw up his title, and the name of his organization; yet Don still favors us all with a dose of Ol’ Blue Eyes by the end of the show.

Here’s a link to the Business Model Canvas model mentioned in the ‘cast.

Don moved to Maine to sing.  Let’s sing along.  Don’t be afraid to be awesome.

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#8: John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire

John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire does the Grow Maine show logo!John Lee Dumas is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs.  Just over 365 days ago, John launched Entrepreneur on Fire, a daily podcast for entrepreneurs.  That show now has more than 400,000 listeners per month.  If you are a podcaster like me, it’s hard to get your arms around his success – it’s in a different league.  He has listeners like Breaking Bad has viewers.

I actually did my first podcast in 2007, for CorrectDeck.  I just found those episodes the other day – about 7 minutes long, recorded by putting my mp3 player on the desk and just talking about composite decking for a few minutes, and posted on our company website.  Not horrible, really  (I specifically remember recording one in my room at a La Quinta – I used to stay in cheap hotels).  But those old recordings sure don’t give you the idea that 6 years later, John Lee Dumas will have shown the true potential of podcasting.  John is a military man and a systems guy, and behind his success is a precision and execution that the podcasting world hasn’t seen before.   And he has done it in a niche the experts told him didn’t exist, producing quality content at a rate practically unmatched by anyone by building a system around producing daily interviews with a set roster of questions that has him on top of the podcasting world in just one short year,  .

I kept this episode short because were in a borrowed conference room at a busy trade show.  But we cover a lot of ground – hope you enjoy it.  And if you have a Maine resource that people absolutely should know about, like Propel or the Social Media Breakfasts that John mentions, please get that to me!

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#7: Sara Whalen Shifrin of the Gould Academy IDEAS Center

Sara Whalen Shifrin is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs.   Yes, entrepreneurs.  Sara works within a larger organization, Gould Academy, helping to lead the school in new and interesting directions in her role as Director of the IDEAS Center, an Sara Whalen Shifrin at Gould Academy IDEAS Centerentrepreneurial resource  loosely based on the Fablab concept.

So listen in as Sara and I discuss spray painting bikes, grading blueberries, and a possible new job for me if this whole sustainability thing doesn’t work out – Night Shift Slug Picker.

Plus, we spend time digging into the issues such as educating entrepreneurs to go on to become involved with great organizations such as Hardy Girls Healthy Women; the TEDx Dirigo Conference, which we’ll both be attending; and the Blue Napkin Problem, which is the tendency of people to focus on small cosmetic fixes instead of larger structural improvements in sustainability.

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