Tag Archives: Kevin O’Leary

Shark Tank Episode Review – New Season September 20th, 2013

Well the long awaited season of Shark Tank is here. I am excited after the marathon build up from last week.

This is a pre-show poll to see who is watching the show tonight.

And now for our weekly reviews of the Shark Tank products and entrepreneurs.

We for the first time had all 5 sharks on the show at one time and it made for some great TV.

First in the Tank

Inventor: Josh Brooks

Product / Company: Postcards on the Run

Asking: $300k for 5% stake in the company

Postcards on the Run and Josh Brooks

Postcards on the Run

Josh started this company with some help from a couple rounds of Investor contribution (including Selena Gomez). With an initial investment of $1.6mm USD and sales of $450k in 21 months and residual cash flow of $180k remaining, Josh is seeking funding for growth and marketing to further expose his brand. The product is rather unique in that an app is installed onto a mobile phone for free then after paying a $2.49 fee, the user takes a photo and writes a personal message. The results is a glossy 4×6 postcard delivered to the recipient of choice. So far he has 500k downloads of the app and a 180 transactions meaning a conversion rate of 36% (assuming single transactions). In most app-based businesses this would be a very good conversion. I wonder how many users are repeat users or if the drop off is high. That information was not discussed during the pitch. Mark Cuban was rather brutal with Josh stating that he was valuing the company on tech bubble figures. He didnt think it was a good time to invest so he bowed out. The rest of the Sharks soon followed out except for Robert. Robert said that he felt a connection to the product because he thinks his kids would use it and so he offered $300k for 10%. After some back and forth and good negotiating on both parts a deal was struck for $300k for 7.5% stake.

Feedback: Again, I think this product is one that is unique and novel indeed but, I would like to see the future plan for the business (additional streams, ad revenue, etc,…). Josh was proud to state he came from Myspace and he has a strong background in the Social Media segment. Good indeed but having the foresight to see a need to adapt the business plan to address user behavior is even more valuable. I will say that I travel alot overseas and using this app would be a cool way to personalize a postcard for a loved one. I really want to know how things are going after the Tank and to see if cash flow has improved.

Inventors: Lynnae and Ali

Company: Lynnaes Pickles

Asking: $125k for 20% stake

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles

The two women enter the Tank to promote a gourmet pickle business based in Tacoma Washington. Founded on their Grandma’s recipes, they created a brand and a business serving local and nationwide retailers. With $144k in sales in 12 months the girls are looking to get some more money to help boost inventory and grow exposure. They are working with a distribution company now and in 26 states, pretty impressive really. The pickle jars retail for $6.99, wholesale for $4, and COGS is $1.93. The girls talked about Target showing interest in having them in their new gourmet foods sections. The Sharks were not impressed with the financials and the high cost and the uncertainty of the larger market.

Feedback: I always struggle with the food company pitches mainly because rarely is there anything proprietary and the possibility for running into a larger player that is looking to dominate a small segment is all too real. I do think they might be better off approaching a food products manufacturer to see about lowering the costs and then reducing the price point down to $4.99 might make this move faster. Updates anyone?

Inventors: Richard and Albert Amini

Product: Rolodoc

Asking: $50k for 20%

Rolodoc

Two Doctors and Brothers Richard and Albert have a company that will hopefully eliminate the need to carry an outdated pager to get in touch with doctors. The pitch was not all that clear as they continued to mention “social media” but with not explanation as to what that all means. The idea is that Doctors would sign up to the website (much like Facebook) then post their specialities and accreditations (I guess). The Sharks ate them alive and within a matter of minutes, the guys left empty handed.

Feedback: If you watched the episode then I wont repeat the things the Sharks had to say but, I will say that as a patient, I find a huge amount of credibility checking that would need to be performed to vet the Doctors. Also, it was unclear as to how the company would generate money. Again, I would guess advertising and membership fees but who knows.

Inventors: Cole Edgar and James McDonald

Product: SweetBallz

Asking: $250k for 10% stake

NO IMAGE DUE TO SERVER CRASHING (Good thing normally)

So, these two Texas Entrepreneurs came into the Tank with a cake pop minus the stick called Sweet Ballz. With a background in the food industry and business development, they had a fast launch of the product with a huge deal going with 711. Racking in $700k in only 90 days is the real deal and I loved how dropped that on the Sharks rather nonchalant. The current demand is creating a lead time of 22 days which is tough especially considering the shelf life of 45 days. The money would be used to beef up supply and reduce lead time as well as expand into other customers. The numbers on the company are MSRP $1.99-2.49 with a cost of $0.86. I am sure that with a ramped up production they would be able to drive costs down below $0.50. All five Sharks put offers on the table but it came down to a deal from Mark/Barbara $250k-25% or Kevin/Robert/Lori $250k-30%. The Sweet Ballz go for the Cuban led offer and for good reason.

Feedback: Again a food product but, they say you invest in the man not the product and I think that was the big selling point here. The two guys proved they can get this company growing with solid sales history. I would imagine Cuban pushing the product to all of his businesses and Barbara would be looking at the broader retail deals (supermarkets, pharmacies and department stores). I think this will do well. I am interested in any updates….

Thanks again for reading and please come by again for the next weeks posting.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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Weekly Shark Tank Review – April 26th 2013

I was pleased to see the Sharks back on the air after the unfortunate miss last week due to the Boston bombing coverage.

This was a great show with some very passionate business owners with a lot of drive. I applaud you all for sticking with your products and persevering. Lets get started.

Inventor: Jeff Stafford and Dusty Hollowell

Product: Shell Bobbers (www.shellbobbers.com)

Requesting: $80k for 20% stake

Shell Bobbers Website

Shell Bobbers

These two long-time fishing and hunting buddies tell the story about how when they were hunting and a shotgun shell fell into the water it floated. It gave them the idea to make the fishing bobber company Shell Bobbers. I liked the method of pitching and how they incorporated the manufacturing into the sales pitch with I thought was very engaging. The cost to make each bobber is about $1 and they retail for $8.99. The sales to date it about $1000 (or 440 units). They have been selling in various hardware stores but need help getting into the larger retail outlets. They hold a provisional patent but, didn’t do a thorough research on existing patents. They have a trademark as well. Kevin started with a rather rough offer for $80k for 50% with a residual profit per until cash is paid back. Mark then offers a straight $80k for 33% and they do the deal.

Feedback: Like I said, the concept is solid and a novelty and certainly the fishing and hunting segment is enormous. I noticed on their website that they have some photos with the Duck Dynasty guys and I was actually thinking about that during the show. The Duck Dynasty guys would be the ultimate endorsers for this product. I believe to get this into the big box retailers, they need to invest in flashy packaging and a good marketing plan to show how to maximize the sales. I would like to see if the Shell Bobber is in the Bass Pro Shops this year.

Inventors: Tracy and Danielle Noonan

Product: Wicked Good Cupcakes (www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com)

Requesting: $75k for 20% Stake

Wicked Good Cupcakes Website

Wicked Good Cupcakes

This Mother and Daughter pair have been making cupcakes in Boston for some time now but, they wanted to expand their sales capabilities and shipping around your conventional cupcake just was too messy and logical. The idea for the cupcake in a jar was born. The pitch is for gourmet cupcakes cooked in the jar and available to shipping and retail. They have sold about $73k year to date with $360k in forecasted sales for this year. The cupcakes have a shelf life of 7-10 days (without preservatives). The cost to make each is $2.15 and sells for $5.95 but with wholesale, they only make $0.85/jar. All Sharks bow out except Kevin who proposes a rather dirty deal of $75k for zero equity but with a perpetuity royalty of $0.50/unit. The girls exit to discuss then come back to negotiate a $0.45 a final deal.

Feedback: While I do think the whole cupcake crazy is going to be short lived once people realize they are loaded with fat and calories but, for sake of the hot segment this is a really creative way of presenting the cupcake. After all, the one thing I hate about cupcakes are that they are messy. The jar solves this by incorporating a spoon. I understand that walking into the tank you are under some pressure to get a deal done but, I would have recommended to play hard ball with Kevin. Kevin’s deal was nothing but a loan with a lifetime commitment, never advised no matter the situation. Because now they are forced to pay Kevin his share for every unit and that means a lot more when the company grows and sales are skyrocketing. All this for a $75k loan!

Inventor: Arron Lemieux

Product: nPower PEG / Tremont Electronic (www.npowerpeg.com)

Requesting: $2million for 22% stake

Personal Motion Charger

nPower PEG

Arron is a passionate individual looking to revolutionize the way we consume power. His company Fremont Electric has invented a Faraday induction-based personal charger for mobile electronics. The nPower PEG is a unique product that has a backing of 5 or so utility patents. The black cylindrical tubing houses a induction coil and concentric magnet that with motion will create a charge that is stored in the integral battery. Your device can then be plugged into the device to gain as much as 25% charge. he retails the product for $199 and has sold about 1300 units so far but the cost is a bit high. He explains the end goal is to apply his concept to mass power generation in the way of floating wave buoys. While the Sharks are all intrigued by the idea, they are also confused at how the personal device will lead to the large scale development. Kevin even comments that he would be interested in licensing the idea to a company like GE but he would not want to do all of the leg work. No deal is made.

Feedback: For all of the pitches I have seen on the show, this one has the most potential wide spread impact on the world energy consumption. The problem with the pitch is the valuation of the nPower PEG (nearly $10million!) that really is an investment for the development of the wave generation device. There is no clear track record for the wave generation system but, I do think Arron is more than knowledgeable so I do think he is the right man  for the job. I only wish he instead approached the Sharks for the small device only and requested much smaller investment to get that product rolling and into the masses. Later taking the profits and investing into the next generation systems. It is all about how you present the idea. Arron you can always send me one of the products and I can personally review it for you.

Inventor: Nate Holzapfel

Product: Mission Belt (www.missionbelt.com)

Requesting: $50k for 20% stake

Mission Belt Website

Mission Belt

Nate developed his adjustable belt without the holes after he struggled to find belts that didn’t wear out and that had more fine adjustments than the normal 1 inch increments. He has been selling the belts through various smaller retailers and has sold $39k so far. The belts cost him $5.50 to make where he retails them for $39.95 and wholesales for $15. He is a very good salesman and this no more evident than when he tells the Sharks about when he arrived to LA and immediately went door to door to sell 20 belts! Lori, Robert and Kevin all bow out. Daymond offers the $50k for 40% stake for the purpose of licensing the belt to fashion companies. Nate negotiates the stake down to 37.5%.

Feedback: Watching Nate really is inspiring to anyone with a product idea. There are three things needed for a successful product-based business; proprietary concept, profitable model and a passionate leader. Nate certainly has the last one nailed down. They dont make sales guys like him anymore and it is a pleasure to see his passion and drive. I am sure his biz will be a success especially with Daymond backing the product. I am very impressed he has driven the costing down to $5.50 which is a very tough thing to do without mammoth volumes. I will say that I have seen this belt design before on the golf circuit (different company). That doesn’t mean it can’t make it, it just means marketing is where he will need to differentiate himself.

Thanks again for reading and please come by again for the next weeks posting.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 412 January 4th 2013

Happy New Year to all the loyal Shark Tank viewers and Odyssey Solutions followers!

Before I go into this weeks episode, I wanted to first start out with a brief word of advice for anyone looking to develop a product. While sales history is certainly good, market analysis is far better. What I mean is that to understand how big the potential is for a product you must first know the ins and outs of the market you are trying to attack (including the competition). Now this may seem like a no-brainer but, in addition to knowing the sales of the cumulative competition you really should look at that the intended target market. Sometimes this is not always clear, as you are hopefully creating a new market through gaps in the competitions offerings. Whether you are pitching the Sharks in the Tank or meeting with some potential Investors, knowledge is key. This episode showed us that a good product will attract the right Investors.

Now on to the review…

Inventor: Doug Marshall

Product: Gameface (http://www.thegamefacecompany.com/)

Requesting: $400k for 25% stake

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

Have you ever gone to a sporting event and wanted to express yourself with your favorite team logo? Wouldn’t you want to celebrate Halloween with a mess-free costume? Well Doug Marshall has come up with a very novel idea to address both. The GameFace non-toxic face masks are a simple, clean and easy way to show your pride. Doug started the business a number of years ago and is now expecting to gross revenues of $100k+ this year alone on his company. The company is fully independent and operates as a side job with his wife. Margins appear to be pretty solid even in the wholesale realm. Daymond is out. Robert is also out and expresses his disinterest in doing business with Doug on such poor sales. Kevin offers a mixed offer of cash, loan and royalties. Finally Mark and Lori jump in with an offer of $1 MILLION for the entire company and an $80k/year salary for 5 years. After some talking with his wife, Doug then settles on a $450k for 35% with 80K/year salary and he still retains ownership.

Feedback: It is so easy to be wowed by a $1 MILLION buy-out offer for your product. However, getting paid is not always the best solution. I especially loved to hear Roberts’ story about how it took him so long as an Entrepreneur to earn a $100k salary and that he always held out for to see the project through. I admire Doug here. He didn’t succumb to the temptation of a big upfront check instead he stuck it out to see his project on to success. Mark and Lori once again showed they are the choice partners for consumer products (especially sports-related ones).

Inventors: Dan Grimm and Brant Myers

Product: Arkeg (http://www.drinkngame.com)

Requesting: $100k for 33% stake

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

Ok so this is a new one for me. I like beer and gaming so why not combine the two? That is what these two guys decided to do with the Arkeg. Dan and Brant both spoke so highly about the ability to sell one to any man cave or game room but the price point may be the limiting factor. The price tag of $4k with 20 units sold to date. The Sharks don’t buy into the deal and they guys leave empty-handed.

Feedback: I just don’t think the product attracts a wide enough audience to begin with to be on Shark Tank. Sure I would love to have one but at $4k! No thanks. My entire home brewing setup along with my XBOX 360 was far less.

Inventor: Dan Rothwell

Product: Dura-tent (http://www.duratent.com)

Requesting: $50k for 30% stake

The Dura Tent

The Dura Tent

Tired of pesky flies getting into your picnic or barbecue? The Dura Tent is an innovative approach to keeping the flies and their harmful germs off of your food. The combination tent and mosquito netting works to protect the food you spent so much time preparing. He sold 50k units at the time and has 3 patents total on the product. As he kept going on about the sales figures and costs the numbers weren’t adding up to what he said. Robert and Mark were out. The rest of the Sharks followed. No deal.

Feedback: The product is fairly good but as Lori said, the name just doesn’t translate to function. First rule of naming “phonetically communicate what the product does or what problem it solves”. So many people purchase on impulse and marketing is what drives this. He said that a Marketing consultant recommended he not focus on the act of what the product does. I find that odd. Anyway, the best way to name your product is to get out a white board and write all words associated with the problem on one side then on the other side the words associated with the solution and see if you can combine any two. At least it is a start.

Inventor: Megan Gage

Product: Hot Tot (www.hottot.com)

Requesting: $50k for 15% stake

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

If you have a child then you can see where Megan is coming from. To put just anything in the hair of your young child is so dangerous considering you don’t know what is in the haircare products. She sought out a solution to this problem with Hot Tot. While initially focusing on the kids boutiques shops she now is working towards the high end salons as most of the buyers are women. Her sales are $20k so far but she has $7k in purchase orders waiting to be filled. The margins are very good. All of the Sharks are out except Mark. He offers $75k for 40% stake and she takes it.

Feedback: I really liked seeing Megan speak about her passion in child haircare. I thought of myself when I started working on products. Define-Solve-Sell. While she is still very new and maybe the biggest need is Marketing, Mark will surely help her.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 409 December 4th Holiday Episode

Happy Holidays Shark Tank fans. The much anticipated holiday episode of The Shark Tank aired this evening and as expected, the show was very entertaining. We saw some great product pitches with solid sales, some niche business models that need more time and some hard headed Entrepreneurs that didn’t want to listen to the Sharks had to say. As always read through and make comments with your takes on the products and whether you would purchase any on your own.

Lets get started…..

Inventor: Lucinda Lent and Juliet Boydstun

Pitch: The Coop (www.thecoop-la.com)

Requesting: $150k for 15% stake

The Coop LA

The Coop LA

The pitch began with the two ladies describing how they met and how once they became Mothers, the options for social locations for their children and themselves was limited. Most of the play areas were dirty, outdated and with no focus on the Mothers. They came up with the idea for The Coop, a modern play spot for kids with a coffee bar and deserts for the parents. They opened the first location after securing a $125k loan from a bank. They cater to high end clientele and movie stars but want to roll out the idea to all budgets. The typical cost for a 2 hour party rental is $595-4000 and weekend sales are typically around $5k currently. They recorded $350k in revenue and booked between $125-150k in profit after taking in a salary (pretty nice!). They would ideally like to franchise the concept and the money would help fund another location. Kevin said he was very impressed with the numbers but he would be out. Daymond added that he wouldn’t be able to add anything to the business and for that he would have to be out. Robert followed out. Mark thinks the business is god but it needs more time and he worries about the price and the amount of competition, he was out. Last was Barbara who offered an iterating counter-offer. She would give the $150k for 15% with a personal guarantee to be paid back in 2 years. After some discussion between the two ladies, they took the offer. Congrats!

Feedback: Well I can tell you as a father of a 3 year old daughter, this business is one that parents (Mothers especially) will pay for. Take a look at Gymboree or the Little Gym, while they are competition they do not offer a parent friendly aspect which is unique. I do agree with Kevin in the idea that they need to test a few more locations (outside of LA because LA is not a good representation of the rest of the country because of the amount of affluent citizens). I already have noticed Barbara doing a good job of promotion of The Coop on Twitter and Facebook which will have an immediate impact. The reality of the loan terms are pretty harsh with the fact they need to pay in full the loan in 24 months for relinquishing 15% stake in the company but, the marketing they will get from Barbara is worth it. Look forward to seeing The Coop come to Texas!!

Inventor: Donna McCue

Product: Fat Ass Fudge (www.fat-assfudge.com)

Requesting: $250k for 5% stake

Fat Ass Fudge

Fat Ass Fudge

The flamboyantly energetic Donna McCue entered the Tank to pitch her unique fudge company to the Sharks. What makes the product so unique is that it is Lactose Free, Gluten Free and made with goats milk. She began to make chocolate many years ago and the name came from a family nickname. she has been selling mostly locally and has 2 Whole Foods stores she is working with at the moment but has yet to break into their nationwide reach. They recorded $60k in sales over the past 12 months. Kevin offered her $250k for 1000% stake, she is confused then he says he is out. The rest of the Sharks do the same. Donna leaves without a deal.

Feedback: Energy, passion, enthusiasm would be some very accurate adjectives for Donna McCue. She undoubtable has a good product that tastes good and touches on the Gluten, Lactose-Free segments which are growing. The problem once again is her valuation of her company. Valuation can only be accurate when it references either sales history or pending / accounts receivable. Having said that, unless she has an enormous amount of non-cash assets such as equipment her valuation of $5 million dollars is just silly.

Inventor: Scott Martin (a.k.a., Scotty Clause)

Pitch: The Living Christmas (www.livingchristmas.com)

Requesting: $150k for 30% stake

The Living Christmas Company

The Living Christmas Company

The Tank was full of Christmas trees as a jolly Entrepreneur approached with a long Santa cap and a handlebar mustache. Scott talks about the issue of the annual tradition of cutting down a tree then only weeks later after the holidays have passed it is thrown out. He created a sustainable solution to the problem of deforestation by delivering a living tree with a pot that is only temporarily brought into the home. After the holidays, his company picks up the tree and returns it to the farm where it is fed throughout the remainder of the year until the following Christmas whereby the process repeats. The average cost of the tree rental is $100-200. He had $150k in sales last year with a profit of $33k (no salary taken). He is in need of money for further infrastructure growth to take on more business. Kevin doesn’t like the business because it is seasonal. He is out. Daymond owns a tree farm (yes apparently he does) but thinks the business model has too many unknowns. Robert and Barbara are also out. Mark then asks about how many jobs could be created with the money and offers the $150k for 40%. Scott takes the deal.

Feedback: I really like this concept but, i think he needs to diversify into other non-seasonal products / services. Since I don’t know the first thing about the costs to operate a standard tree farm I would be out of place to provide too much insight here but, I see from the website that Scott has garnered the support of various corporate sponsors and partners which is a good sign. The other thing that concerned me with the finances was the amount of profit (~20% without his salary taken). I think with Mark Cubans support they will be able to find a lean solution to the cash problems. Updates on this one will be greatly appreciated since it is that time of year…

Inventors: Julian Jaccard and Connor Pastoor

Product: Partie Poche (http://96.0.165.69/partiepoche/)

Requesting: $100k for 20% stake

Party Poche

Party Poche

Julian and Connor (two MBA students) are pitching a fashionable, discrete holder for a woman’s cellphone, money, etc,.. The Partie Poche is worn on the leg of the user and virtually out of sight to others. They sold 200 units with prices ranging from $17-36/unit (pricing was incrementally increasing towards the end of the 200 units). A Provisional Patent is in-place. Every time the Sharks began to talk to them about valuation and finances they became very argumentative and arrogant. Julian said she had a meeting with a Nordstrom VP but, didn’t receive a PO because she didn’t have any product. They said the initial product inventory was sold and designed by a freelancer and they didn’t have any more product to sell. A late investment of $50k from some college colleagues which was enough to retain 40% stake of the company (leaving Julian and Connor with a 60% net stake). Kevin was furious and said he was out and forbid the other Sharks to do business with the two. Daymond told them that they were hard headed and he was out. Robert said the two were arrogant and stubborn and he was out. Barbara doesn’t think it will sell and bows out. Mark was left and asked the two to stop talking as he requested them to explain the infrastructure and after the same type of responses as before he says he is out.

Feedback: So many things rub me the wrong way about these two. The first is the attitude of they know it all because they are studying for their MBAs (this was evident when Julian started throwing out financial buzz words). While I am a strong believer in higher education, street knowledge and learning from your failures is far more valuable. The other issue here is that this project does not appear to be a full time venture and the lack of focus on getting additional product manufactured with the $50k investment is perplexing. If I had $50k from an Investor I would find the fastest way to pay them back and that would be through product inventory and sales generation which they appear to have none. This pitch should be an example to other aspiring Inventors to listen to those with knowledge and experience in the business world and don’t talk over them. The final thing, with the airing of the show in the works for some time now, their website is still in Beta mode. Ridiculous! Even bad publicity is publicity and if they couldn’t turn the Shark Tank publicity into money they shouldn’t be on the show.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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