Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The New Technology Behind Nike's Latest Running Shoe

For professional runners and running enthusiasts, the shoes they were play a huge role in their performance. The perfect running shoe would be one that is lightweight and fits like a glove – or in this case, sock – as such a a design would reduce injuries and increase speed. 

In the 1980s, Nike came out with the Sock Racer. And while it was comfortable, it wasn't durable enough. Other footwear manufacturers have tried to step up to the plate, but no one has succeeded – until now. Nike announced its latest running shoe last month, and this time, they got it right.

The Flyknit, which will be available in US stores starting July, boasts of a precise fit and a weight of 160 grams – way lighter than the popular Air Pegasus+ 28's 290 grams. But Nike executives aren't just thrilled about putting out a better running shoe. According to them, the advanced manufacturing technology behind the Flyknit can change the entire sports footwear industry.

Unlike other shoes that are assembled by hand, the Flyknit is woven together by a 15-foot-long machine using synthetic yarn. The result is a single-piece shoe upper that fits snugly like a second skin; the tongue and sole are added later on. With 35 fewer pieces to be sewn than the Air Pegasus+ 28, the Flyknit significantly slashes labor costs, production time, and wasted material.

Nike CEO Mark Parker says, “There is no more cutting and stitching with this. The most labor-intensive part of the footwear manufacturing process is gone from the picture.”

The Flyknit is the result of a four-year collaboration between teams of designers, engineers, and programmers. The engineers and programmers were hired by Nike to modify a sweater and sock knitting machine to weave a sneaker upper instead. 

Runners will have two models of the Flyknit to choose from, the Racer and the Trainer+.

It's Pothole Season and the Battle is On!

Toronto-based multi-disciplinary agency Taxi has declared war on potholes with Pothole Season! Any concerned citizen can use the app and website to report potholes to local government offices while helping their community at the same time. Pothole Season turns what would be a pretty boring task into a fun game – users can challenge their friends to see who can find the most road cavities as well as take a shot at earning the title of the season's best pothole hunter. 

In addition, the Pothole Season app alerts drivers of any nearby potholes and automatically tracks those that they hit. The app and website employ Google Maps to let users tag those pesky craters.

Recently, Taxi pulled off a PR stunt to showcase Pothole Season to the public. The agency planted a red sedan nose-first at 45 degrees into a road in Montreal and surrounded it with caution tape and traffic cones. The stunt was a success, and over 5,900 potholes have been reported so far – and counting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

David Jorgensen’s Company History, Including Katun Corporation

You could call David Jorgensen a company man, but only because he developed the skills to co-found businesses where none existed. His companies have included Occidental Publishing, which produced college textbooks; Computer Synectics, which engaged in measuring and improving computer performance; and Katun Corporation, a supplier of OEM-compatible parts for imaging equipment. David Jorgensen honed his business skills working for others at Boeing in Seattle, Washington; Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in Menlo Park, California; and Dataquest, Inc., in San Jose, California.

Occidental Publishing, a “nights and weekends” enterprise that was started on a shoestring, did not succeed, but Mr. Jorgensen still thinks he and his partner, who worked for The McGraw-Hill Companies and had an intimate knowledge of the business, identified a viable market opportunity. In 1969, David Jorgensen traded writing his Ph.D. dissertation for the excitement and challenge of co-founding a startup. That company, Computer Synectics, produced monitors for measuring and improving computer operations. Jorgensen and his partners built up the company to more than $1 million in sales, even in the weak economy of the early 1970s, but Computer Synectics failed to make it in the face of competition like IBM.

In 1979, David Jorgensen established Katun Corporation with a partner, which played a significant role in legitimizing the aftermarket for office equipment. From the kitchen and garage of his partner’s home, Jorgensen helped Katun grow into a major competitor in the industry, expanding to Europe and building multiple distribution centers. The men also forged partnerships with key manufacturers, acquired several businesses, and opened a subsidiary, Minco Manufacturing, LLC. Private-equity investors bought Katun in 2002 after it reached sales of $350 million, enabling David Jorgensen to focus on philanthropic efforts. He now utilizes his business skills for nonprofit organizations, including the David and Annette Jorgensen Foundation and the National Philanthropy Board of the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Get a Good Night's Sleep With SHEEX

Inspired by athletic performance fabrics, SHEEX bed sheets are designed to help athletes and non-athletes alike sleep better so they can perform better. The brainchild of former University of South Carolina (USC) women's basketball coaches Susan Walvius and Michelle Marciniak, SHEEX are the world's first luxury performance bed linen brand. Made from a microfiber polyester and spandex blend, the sheets feature temperature control and moisture wicking properties. Nearly 50 percent more breathable than cotton, SHEEX are soft to the touch as well as fade, wrinkle, and shrink resistant.

According to Walvius, one of the main issues that disrupts most people's sleep is being too warm, as traditional sheets trap heat and can interrupt sleep. SHEEX's Sleep-Fit Technology maintains optimum sleep conditions, and studies suggest that getting enough quality shuteye leads to several health benefits, including a stronger immune system, enhanced energy levels, improved mental functions, and weight loss.

The idea came to the founders when Marciniak introduced Walvius to performance fabrics used in gym wear and Walvius commented how she'd love to have bed sheets made of the same material. After students at USC's Moore School of Business conducted a feasibility study and prepared a business plan, Walvius and Marciniak left coaching to run their business.

Endorsed by the National Sleep Foundation, SHEEX are currently offered in five styles: Home, Nautical (for boats), Adventure (for RVs), Baby, and Travel (similar to sleeping bags). The collections are available online and in retail stores such as Brookstone and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Aside from television, print, and Facebook advertising, SHEEX are promoted by “Sleep Ambassadors” – a team of professional athletes that include triathlon champion Mirinda Carfrae, Houston Texans running back Ben Tate, snowboarder Steve Fisher, golfer Becky Morgan, and Olympic hurdler David Oliver.

What's next for the company? In the near future, SHEEX will launch sleepwear and three more lines for Bed, Bath & Beyond.

C2C Outdoor Leads Advertising Industry in America

Founded in 2007 by childhood best friends Michael Palatnek and David Stutz, C2C Outdoor is a one-stop, out of home (OOH) advertising specialty shop headquartered in New York City with offices in Los Angeles. Palatnek, who served as an executive at OOH advertising firm Titan, would sometimes have clients who wanted their ads on spaces that Titan didn't own, and that's when a light bulb went on in his head.

C2C Outdoor brings together the highly fragmented pieces of the OOH market in one place. With its OUTS software system, the agency can identify thousands of outdoor advertising spaces from nearly 200 different vendors by location, dimension, and price. As a single source provider, C2C Outdoor offers strategy, negotiation, and activation services to its customers as well.

With clients across the fashion, television, education, and other industries, C2C Outdoor has placed advertisements for Tiffany & Co., Comedy Central, and The Art Institutes on billboards, buses, and taxi tops, to name a few locations. Last year, C2C Outdoor ranked third on Inc. Magazine's 2011 Inc. 500 List, establishing its position as the fastest growing advertising company in America.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Steven Pinkert’s Areas of Law Practice with Pinkert and Marsh, PA

As Managing Partner with Pinkert and Marsh, PA, Steven Pinkert handles a diverse case load encompassing transactional law, intellectual property issues, civil litigation, and bar admissions and grievances. His Miami firm offers comprehensive services related to commercial and residential real estate, undertaking document preparation for closings and maintaining full title insurance transactional capacities.

StevenPinkert also regularly assists clients in resolving bar admissions and bar grievances. Law students in Florida working toward admission to the Florida Bar are required to produce evidence that they meet a number of standards pertaining to moral character, as well as knowledge of the ideals and standards of the legal profession. They must also demonstrate the capacity to fulfill the duties and obligations of a licensed attorney-at-law. Mr. Pinkert’s expertise extends beyond assisting Bar applicants with document completion and includes representation at the Board’s formal and investigative hearings. In particular, Pinkert and Marsh, PA, assists clients in cases where the Florida Board of Bar Examiners has questions on issues of criminal history, drug abuse, mental fitness, or past professional disciplinary proceedings.

In cases where legal practitioners find themselves in the midst of ethics complaint or facing alleged Florida Bar rule violations, Pinkert and Marsh, PA, also provides experienced defense. The firm offers clients straightforward assessments of exposure to allegations and Board sanctions faced, striving to protect professional reputations and licenses in an ethical manner. Admitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Steven Pinkert also offers counsel in complex aspects of trademark and patent law.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kicking Off a New Era of Shopping

Attention US shoppers: if you think that your favorite activity can't get any better, then entrepreneur Cyriac Roeding will prove otherwise. Founded in the summer of 2009, shopkick is a Palo Alto, California-based company that aims to “transform shopping into a personal, rewarding and fun experience for everyone.”

The shopkick mobile app, which is available on iPhone and Android operating systems, rewards users with “kicks” every time they enter a participating retail store, such as Best Buy, Old Navy, Macy's, Crate & Barrel, and Target, among many others. That's right, you don't even have to buy anything.

Says Roeding, “The number one challenge facing every retailer in America is getting people through the door... So if foot traffic is so important, then why hasn't anyone rewarded people for visiting stores?”

Another way to collect kicks is to scan bar codes of selected products with one's phone. Kicks can then be redeemed for gift cards, movie tickets, restaurant vouchers, and even donations to charity. Additionally, shopkick users get access to several exclusive deals at various national stores.

So yes, Roeding's right. Shopping can be even more fun after all.

Setting the Stage for the Newest Up-and-Coming Concert Venue

The front row and the backstage – the best places to be for every fan, though not always easily accessible. Stageit, a Los Angeles-based startup, lets music enthusiasts get up close and personal with their favorite artists, right in the comfort of their own home.

Launched by Evan Lowenstein of pop group Evan and Jaron at the 2011 South by Southwest music festival, Stageit gives fans a front row seat and backstage access anytime, anywhere. All they need is a computer with an Internet connection and a ticket to the show of their choice.

Lowenstein, who discovered that online videos shared by fans contributed greatly to an artist's success, started Stageit to help fellow musicians reach more people by broadcasting live shows on the web. Once an artist has signed up for an account, they can schedule an event and set their own ticket prices. (Some artists let fans pay what they can.) During the show, fans can chat with the performer, request songs, and show their support by leaving tips in a virtual tip jar.

While the service is free to use, Stageit collects 40 percent of ticket sales. And because each event is live and unrecorded, the experience is very similar to that of an actual concert.

The average Stageit gig gets about 20 viewers. Its biggest show so far, which attracted 11,000 fans, was a benefit in August 2011 that featured Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Jackson Browne, and others.

Country singer Jake Owen, who used Stageit to raise money for charity, was amazed at the response he received. “I raised over a thousand dollars sitting in my kitchen last night playing acoustic guitar,” he said with a big smile on his face during an interview.

Lowenstein doesn't want Stageit to be limited to just musicians, though, and sees other performers such as authors and comedians utilizing the service as well. According to him, “I would love Stageit to become the eBay of experience.”