'Un-conference' tour energizes 'Gen Y' innovators

August 9, 2010

GenJuice, the 13-city national tour taking Generation Y entrepreneurs and innovators by storm, left its mark on about 50 Phoenicians July 25, at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.

“GenJuice Phoenix surpassed any set expectations,” said Virgilia Singh, co-founder of GenJuice. “The energy of the attendees was contagious, and the room was full of brilliant, young Phoenicians many of whom were working on some life-changing projects.” Download Full Image

The GenJuice revolution began last February. Virgilia Singh, Danielle Leslie and Arielle Scott, all in their early 20s, left their corporate jobs to pursue helping others pursue their dreams. This began the GenJuice revolution, which intended to inspire young people who believe they can be successful.

“Hearing that we've inspired one person to go and follow their passions is my personal drive,” Singh added.
Sean Coleman, a young entrepreneur, attended GenJuice for the potential networking opportunities.

“I knew GenJuice would be an excellent opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and young people interested in innovation,” Coleman said.

Despite the fact that Coleman was inspired to attend the ‘un-conference’ by potential networking opportunities, he left motivated by the new information he learned. Coleman said that the most valuable information he learned from the ‘un-conference’ was a formula that “one brilliant Gen Y individual” wrote for tracking customer acquisition.

“It was very intriguing that he put down a marketing strategy in a mathematical formula,” Coleman said.
He plans on exploring this new concept with his business, http://OrangeSlyce.com" target="_blank">OrangeSlyce.com, which is an easy and affordable way to hire recommended students for graphic design projects. 

There is a common goal throughout the month and a tour that made stops in Portland, Boston, Austin and Atlanta, to name a few: to have every person attending the “un-conference” find another person to connect with.

“Finding that one person will help you get to the next step,” Scott said. The co-founders explained throughout the ‘un-conference’ that the key to success is connecting with like-minded, innovative Gen Y individuals.

“I know my team and I met dozens of individuals that will serve as great resources as OrangeSlyce grows,” Coleman said.

The un-conference featured guest speaker Corey Kossack, who has experience being a young and successful entrepreneur, having began an e-commerce business selling DVDs and video games out of his college dorm room. Within two years, the company became one of the world’s largest retailers on eBay. After selling the company in 2007 to pursue new internet and social media startups, Kossack began an online marketplace called Addoway that integrates Facebook.

Kossack presented “How Social Media is Changing the Game for Internet Startups”, and explained that social media is the most effective channel for new startups. Kossack also said that social media has changed the cost equation entirely, because startups can now advertise a multitude of ways without large advertising budgets. Additionally, he explained it is critical to connect with fellow young innovators.

Kossack and the co-founders stressed that social media is your friend; it has the potential to make or break a startup and is the most effective channel for new startups to spread their customer base. In addition to endless marketing potential, social media changes the advertising cost equation. Now, people can market new ideas without large advertising costs.

After the social media presentation, ‘un-conferencers’ wrote their ideas for breakout discussion topics on a whiteboard and then voted on which ones would be discussed. The topics included prioritizing your passions, bootstrapping vs. investment, how to find the perfect co-founder/partner/team, growing yourself through community improvement and sustainability and how to get users for your product or services.

Attendees then broke out in large groups and exchanged personal experiences, ideas and suggestions with each other. The groups were facilitated by the co-founders, who guided the discussions with their personal entrepreneurial experiences and advice. There were also several periods of short networking opportunities, in which ‘un-conferencers’ could simply mingle amongst each other, talk and exchange business information.

“The coolest part of GenJuice was the enthusiasm and array of personal experiences shared by fellow entrepreneurs and innovators in our age bracket,” Coleman said. “No other conference I have been to has had this level of excitement.”

“Connecting with others is a big part of the learning process,” Kossack said. “The best place to start is to start talking to people in the industry, and go from there.”

Enter the largest Google Doc ever

At the end of GenJuice Phoenix, in addition to every other tour stop, ‘un-conferencers’ add their names, respective areas of expertise and email addresses to an accumulating Google Doc. Singh, Scott and Leslie are attempting to make this Google Doc “the largest Google Doc ever”, featuring thousands of young, like-minded individuals’ information. The co-founders hope that registered Gen Y individuals will utilize the document when traveling, for example, and wanting to connect with a fellow innovative mind.

A university and city that supports entrepreneurship is key to successful Gen Y innovators. ASU’s grant-funded entrepreneurship program stresses to students that entrepreneurship can be a career choice, Coleman explained. It was not a coincidence that GenJuice Phoenix was held at ASU SkySong, which has established itself as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

“ASU SkySong is a supportive environment for entrepreneurial activity, especially as it relates to university students,” said Julia Rosen, ASU associate vice president for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Hosting events like the GenJuice Tour allows us to provide a platform for these young entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and hopefully accelerate their success.”

Singh has a great appreciation for the opportunities she encountered through her education at ASU. It is the combination of the quality education that Arizona State University has provided paired with the persistent motivation that resulted in Singh’s and GenJuice’s success.

“ASU taught me about understanding the power of sharing ideas with others and the impact a sole person can have on another,” Singh, who graduated from ASU at just 19, explained.

At the end of the ‘un-conference’, the co-founders shared some exciting news about the future of GenJuice: Gen Y folks will be able to connect with like-minded individuals with the help of GenJuice’s new website that is set to launch Oct. 3. Additionally, individuals can connect offline through the “GenJuice Global” model. The co-founders will be sending out some hints about the new website content and more information about the “GenJuice Global” model in the beginning of August.

“We are positioning GenJuice to become the destination for Gen Y innovators, entrepreneurs, content creators, artists, techies and change makers,” Singh said.

Young innovators, entrepreneurs and techies who attended GenJuice Phoenix were undoubetly inspired and motivated to continue pursuing their ideas. The ‘un-conference’ generated buzz among Gen Y Phoenicians and is sure to leave a lasting impression on the Valley’s young, innovative minds.

“Personally, the GenJuice Phoenix event made me think when and how I can move back to the Valley of the Sun and take advantage of the emerging ideas that are coming out of this great state,” Singh said.

The month and a half long “Gen Y Innovation Tour” began June 20 in San Francisco at the offices of Justin.tv, an internet site that allows users to watch live streaming video and has a following of about 2,000 viewers. Justin.tv has been broadcasting the GenJuice tour as it makes each stop around the country.

About the founding team

Singh, 23, is chief operating officer of GenJuice. Singh is known as “the harmonizer” of the bunch. The corporate strategist is enthusiastic about sustainability and is a former Sun Devil.

Leslie, 24, is chief revenue officer of GenJuice. Leslie, a ‘Do What You Love and the money will follow” believer is passionate about creative marketing, monetization and new business models.

Scott, 21, chief executive officer of GenJuice. Scott is considered “the achiever” and youth digital strategist. She attributes her position within GenJuice to “not doing what people told me to do” and breaking out of the status quo.

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library

Curious about nanoscience? Encyclopedia has answers

August 9, 2010

Produced by volcanic explosions, nanoparticles – about a thousand times smaller than a fly’s eye – have always been part of the earth’s atmosphere. Used, if not understood, by artisans for centuries, nanomaterials have been part of pottery glazes, metallurgy and the glass work of cathedrals.  Produced by diesel exhaust, they have been a human-generated pollutant since before the term nanotechnology was coined.  In the modern age, the possibilities for technological achievements at the nanoscale have been the staples of scientific and literary visionaries for decades.

Now, nanoscience has garnered billions of dollars of funding.  It has been hailed by promoters as ushering in the “next industrial revolution” and dismissed by skeptics as nothing more than “hype.”  But, for such a richly anticipated field, it has already made its way into products all around us – from odor-eating socks to cosmetics, from medications to toys – without much fanfare.  At the same time, popular media entertain us with visions of nanotechnology as cornucopia or Armageddon.  Somewhere in between are social scientists, ethicists and others reflecting on our understanding of the broad implications of nanotechnology, gauging its promises and risks, assessing the impacts of policy decisions, and communicating the meaning of nanoscience research – in short, observing, contemplating and measuring nanoscience as a social and human endeavor in its origins, practices and consequences. Download Full Image

The newly-released two-volume Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society is the result.  Edited by David H. Guston, director of ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society and professor of political science, this resource isn’t designed for the scientist or engineer, but rather for the rest of us who have plenty of questions about nanotechnology – and what it means for our lives – but are afraid to ask.

We have very little understanding about the occupational safety and health issues involved in either laboratory nanoscience or industrial production of nanomaterials.  We have perhaps less understanding about the fate of nano-silver particles – used in myriad consumer products for their antimicrobial properties – as they move from these products into our water and our bodies.  We have still less understanding about the ethical, legal and social consequences of even some of the more modest attempts to use nanotechnologies for medical therapies like targeted cancer drugs, and enhancements like neural implants.  And we have, perhaps, the least understanding of what will happen technically, environmentally and culturally if and when nanoscience and nanotechnologies converge with synthetic biology, with robotics and with neurotechnologies.

“It is possible that both perspectives – next industrial revolution or just hype – are correct,” said Guston.  “Nanoscience and nanotechnology could at some time emerge as the engines of one of the most spectacular transformations of human societies, but it also could be that we started down this path led more by our hopes and fears than by reason, more by a sense of adventure than a sense of responsibility.  It is challenges like these that make an encyclopedia of nanoscience and society a necessity.”

The Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society provides an accessible and jargon-free guide to what these understandings and challenges are all about.

Published by SAGE Publications, Inc., the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society contains approximately 425 signed entries by contributors from a variety of disciplines – sociology and psychology, economics and business, science and engineering, computing and information technology, philosophy, ethics, public policy, and more.  They bring varied perspectives to the questions of nanotechnology in society in such general topic areas as: ethics and values; social and environmental issues; law, policy, regulation and governance around the globe; art, design and materials; agriculture and food safety; health, safety, and medical ethics; commercial and economic issues; educational and training issues; computing and information technology; history, philosophy and the human condition; national security and civil liberties; military uses and issues; converging technologies; risk assessment; and technology “haves” and “have-nots.”  It also includes helpful aids such as a chronology, a resource guide and a glossary.

Among the contributors to the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society are 27 scholars from Arizona State University and beyond who are affiliated with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS-ASU), which is funded by the National Science Foundation:

Braden Allenby, ASU
Javiera Barandiaran, University of California, Berkeley
Daniel Barben, RWTH Aachen University
Troy Benn, ASU
Shannon Conley, ASU
Elizabeth A. Corley, ASU
Susan Cozzens, Georgia Tech
Erik Fisher, ASU
Patrick Hamlett, North Carolina State University
Matthew Harsh, ASU
Sean Hays, ASU
Shirley Ho, University of Wisconsin
Daniel Lee Kleinman, University of Wisconsin
Gary Marchant, ASU
Richard Milford, ASU
Mark Philbrick, University of California, Berkeley
Alan L. Porter, Georgia Tech
Juan D. Rogers, Georgia Tech
Cynthia Selin, ASU
Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin
Philip Shapira, Georgia Tech
Catherine Slade, ASU and University of Georgia
Li Tang, Georgia Tech
Jue Wang, Florida International University
Jameson Wetmore, ASU
Gregor Wolbring, University of Calgary
Jan Youtie, Georgia Tech

For more information about the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society, visit SAGE">http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book233289&">SAGE Publications online.

The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University is a federally-funded academic research, education and outreach center focused on the complex societal relations forming around nanoscale science and engineering research.  It gathers scores of researchers and educators across ASU and other public research universities to pursue an ambitious array of interdisciplinary programs.  Its vision is to develop new ways of producing knowledge through the collaboration of scientists and non-scientists alike, so that deliberation and decision making about nanoscale science and engineering is improved, thereby ensuring that nanotechnology advances improve the quality of life for all.  CNS-ASU probes the hypothesis that a greater ability for reflexiveness – that is, social learning that expands the range of available choices – can help guide the directions of knowledge and innovation toward socially desirable outcomes, and away from undesirable ones.  For more information about CNS-ASU, visit online at http://cns.asu.edu">http://cns.asu.edu">http://cns.asu.edu or send e-mail to cns">mailto:cns@asu.edu">cns@asu.edu.