The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Posts Tagged ‘startups’

Make Today Count: Enter the Knight News Challenge

Posted by Jacqueline on October 14, 2007

How do you plan to spend this Sunday afternoon?

For those of you with entrepreneurial tendencies, chances are you’re at least thinking of plans, ideas, and projects that you can execute.  If your ideas have anything to do with digital technology (and what doesn’t these days?), citizen journalism, and involve building community within a specific geographic region, check out the Knight News Challenge.

The Knight Foundation’s news challenge awards funding to people with innovative ideas that relate to the above subjects – you can win up to $500,000 and anyone, of any age and from anywhere in the world, can enter.

What are you waiting for?

Go here to find out more and submit your proposal.

Advertisements

Posted in Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Do Something Major This Weekend: Enter the Knight News Challenge

Posted by Jacqueline on October 12, 2007

So what are your weekend plans?

How does winning funding for one of those brilliant ideas you’ve been kicking around sound?  After all, it doesn’t take that much time to put together a proposal for the Knight News Challenge.

Techcrunch has an inspiring post up today about Yossi Vardi, a very influential and experienced tech entrepreneur (he was one of the original investors, in ICQ, for instance), including this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Why not jump into the arena by entering the contest?  Get started at www.newschallenge.org.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Become the Master of Your Own Universe: Get Creative

Posted by Jacqueline on October 5, 2007

Want to control your own destiny?  You can create something, build something, or start your own business.  Whatever you do, take a chance and get entrepreneurial.  It’s easier than ever to start a company, publish your writing or artwork, and record your own music, thanks to the web.  Need more inspiration?  Check out this post by Read Write Web’s brilliant Bernard Lunn about how Creative Entrepreneurs are the Next Masters of the Universe.

Basically, it’s time to stop complaining about the status quo and get out there and disrupt it (and if you’re lacking in funds and your idea has to do with news, local and hyperlocal communities, and/or journalism, check out the Knight News Challenge).  Yes, it’s tough to get heard over all the other “noise” on the web, and marketing even the best idea is difficult in this age of over-saturation, but in the end, isn’t being becoming a master of the universe worth it?

Get out there and change the world.

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Web 2.0 Petri Dish on Read Write Web

Posted by Jacqueline on October 4, 2007

Today Read Write Web, one of the net’s foremost technology and digital media blogs (and I’ll admit that it’s a personal favorite of mine as well), posted about the current web 2.0 climate, comparing it to a petri dish – lots of experiments are taking place and no one really knows what’s going to happen.  Contributor Bernard Lunn says:

“The Web 2.0 world is looking increasingly like a giant petri dish. There are so many experiments, so much innovation and, as yet, relatively little real revenue. Within this petri dish are a few ideas that will turn into billions of dollars, at which point we will all say “why didn’t I think of that”? There are also lots of “what on earth were we all thinking” ideas out there. Numerically of course, there will be much more of the latter – but in $ terms the few big winners will mean it’ll all make some kind of sense in the end.”

Now, the Knight News Challenge is not about on awarding funds to companies based their earning potential (after all, they want more corporations that think about the double bottom line), but revenues are the lifeblood of any company, and it’s important for any entrepreneur who is thinking about building something web 2.0ish to realize that very few companies are actually making any real cash on the web.  However, the entry bar and general costs of doing business are still set extremely low, so there is not going to be a lack of people who are going to try to make the big bucks.

Lunn’s petri dish metaphor is extremely apt – lots of people experimenting with this and that, hoping to grow into something big and valuable.  He goes on to cover the current state of web 2.0 in a very realistic manner that is best described as cautious optimism, and ends with some advice to startup founders and other entreprenuers:

“1. Raise more money (a lot more) than you think you need. VCs have plenty of money to put to work and you need enough to ride out a cycle and really build something to last. Jason Calacanis said he raised enough for 5 years with Mahalo and he has seen a cycle come and go.

2. Get to cash flow positive quicker than you had planned. (And if you are already there, don’t take this as the time to start a major expansion built on borrowed money).

3. Accept that offer. Not the first one of course. Not the second one if you have good poker nerves. But take the third one. Live to venture another day.”

Perhaps his advice is little obvious, but really, the current financial climate is not the time to engage in major building on borrowed money.  What’s the solution?  Stay small and lean (with all the current technology, there is no need to have a huge office or other costly accoutrements, especially in a company’s early days of existence), or you could look for funding from non-venture capital sources, such as grants or contests like the news challenge (c’mon, you knew I was going to mention that).

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Make A Real Impact: Build A Necessary Evil

Posted by Jacqueline on October 3, 2007

Last week at On Startups Darmesh Shah posted about how entreprenuers can do better creating something that is a necessary evil (he uses the very apt example of tax software – it’s not fun or buy or use, but we all have to pay taxes), instead of something that is fun, cool, or sexy.  A real market of a few is better than a mythical market of millions, he says, and I’m inclined to agree.   

This makes perfect sense – build something that people need and they will come.  But how does this apply to the Knight News Challenge?  Well, most individuals consume a certain amount of local news just because they happen to live in a particular area.  People want to know what is going around them, because generally those are the events that affect them the most. 

Focus on delivering the necessary information – weather, crime, traffic, and less obvious things, such as quick un-biased summaries on the positions of local politicians during election season, for instance (although the lack of bias may be something that is easier said than done).  After all, we all know the views of candidates in the major national races, because the media covers that incessantly.  But local elections can have just as much, if not more, impact as the presidential race for the people who live in that community.  Think grassroots, not global. 

Yes, something like this might be not particularly cool, but it’ll make a difference – and it might even encourage more people to vote, because they’ll be significantly better informed.  Have a better idea for a “necessary evil” type of startup?  You know the drill.

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Small and Agile Win the Race: The Risks are Worth the Reward

Posted by Jacqueline on September 28, 2007

There is a lot to be said for entrepreneurship, and keeping a company small, lean, and hungry.  After all, it’s tough to innovate within a big business, where simply maintaining the status quo can eat up the bulk of the company’s time and resources.  Why do you think that so many significant techonological innovations come out of start up companies?  Because they are simply more willing to take the risk. 

Today, Seth Godin wrote about how new companies, the ones who assume more risks, can beat out older organizations that may have grown bloated with success or become set in their ways.  He says:

“They don’t have it (meaning the assets that the older, financially better off companies have), though, so they improvise. They lean into the market. They give customers what they want, and embrace technology and new ideas because they have no other choice. The green curve (the larger older companies), on the other hand, is filled with people who feel helpless. They feel like the organization is aligned against them, aligned to fail, all because the status quo is so powerful.”

Do you have a startup or even a basic business plan that could use some of the funding and resources that more established companies have, but you still want to maintain that healthy entrepreneurial drive?  Enter the Knight News Challenge and you could win funding and support for your fledgling business.  Hey, it’s pretty low risk (all you have to invest is the time it takes you to develop a proposal), and the rewards could be immense (up to $500,000 worth of funds).

Seth doesn’t quite hang folks who work for a big company out to dry though – there is hope for them yet.  He claims that sometimes, “just often enough to give the dinosaurs a shred of hope, someone (not often the CEO) stands up and says, “follow me!” And the organization does.”  The moral of the story?  Don’t be afraid to rock the boat.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »