Tag Archives: privacy


by William Arrington

While most of our lives have transcended into the digital world through experiences such as social networks, friends are still very much tangible. We make friends because we share common ideals, motives, beliefs, activities, influences, communities and even consumption patterns. Social media sought to capitalize on this relationship by broadcasting our lives to the world and then selling them to the highest bidders (i.e. advertisers and retailers) for lack of a better illustration. The effects of this commercialization of our digital lives has left a divide in the purpose and utility of social networks begging to ask the question whether our friendships and connections online have become nothing more than apparatuses for advertisers and marketers to spam us through?


This year I began to take a hard look at this question and re-examine the usefulness of social media in my own life, but also how I engaged with my friends and how those relationships evolved over time through the lenses of social networks. What was meant to be a study of how my own friendships have evolved as a result of social networks however sparked an idea that has since taken on legs of its own. That sliver of opportunity that emerged is a concept I’ve dubbed hyperlocal social economies. The terms hyperlocal and social economy are not new: Hyperlocal referring to well-defined communities generally segmented geographically or demographically; Social Economies referring to the third sector of economies bridging social elements with business and politics with a common mantra of people over profits.


A Hyperlocal Social Economy (HSE) takes some elements from both concepts, but the intended function is to integrate consumption behaviors of a common group, i.e. friends, in order to benefit the group as a whole. The basic elements of an HSE include the following:

  • A well-defined group of consumers sharing similar lifestyles (i.e. friends)An HSE requires a distinct group of individuals that share similar lifestyles, routines, professions and backgrounds. This is important because these individuals tend to share common activities and consumption patterns which overlap each other.
  • A common set of goods/services consumed by the group regularly (seasonal or common intervals)An HSE requires the group to not only have similar consumption patterns (i.e. disposable income) but also common goods and services they consume. The other key element is regular consumption intervals because an HSE relies on the assumption that these groups are comprised of repeat consumers.
  • A competitive market for goods/services being consumed (some standardization or democratization of the good/service)An HSE requires that the market for goods and services has some standard or baseline value that’s common across the marketplace. For instance, going to a movie theater is relatively ubiquitous no matter the operator of the theater chain.
  • Geographically agnosticAn HSE requires that no matter the location of the group members, the goods or services encompassing the HSE are geographically unbound.


What’s the Value of an HSE?

Putting the whole picture together, an HSE provides for individuals within a collective group to leverage economies of scale to enhance individual value proposition. One may note this as being similar to group buying or purchasing, however an HSE will thrive whether the buyer is a group or individual. The value creation exists by the boundless ties to the group and being able to participate at will within the HSE yet the individual can still maintain complete financial sovereignty.

HSE’s One example of this would be in the purchase of concert tickets, where a person in NY scores 2 tickets to a show; however another person in the same HSE group was unsuccessful. As the date approaches, the New Yorker has an emergency that will prevent them from attending, so rather than sell the tickets through Craigslist or StubHub, the tickets are opened up to the other HSE group members, allowing the individual who was unsuccessful buying tickets to tap their friends.


HSE’s are micro-economies that smooth consumption among group members as well. As the above example cited there are many instances where an individual purchases a good or service only to go unused, leaving them at a net loss for the purchase. By filtering these consumables through the HSE group, losses and unused goods and services can be flattened or mitigated among the group members, because they share common traits and thus another member of the HSE group can come in to relieve you of said tickets.

This scenario begs to question why this transaction could not exist without the support of an HSE? The answer is actually yes, a person could reach out to friends or post to Facebook that they have tickets available. Where the HSE’s value proposition lies is that the members of the group are already tapped into each other and have a digital inventory of all members’ consumables allowing for exchanges, sales and purchases to seamlessly exist. An individual within the group only needs to broadcast those goods and services relevant to their HSE group, signaling to other members that they are attending these events, or buying these brands or using these services.

As this series on HSE’s continues, the next iteration will focus on the value creation for the service providers and producers of goods as we shift our attention to the benefits of business participation in the HSE model. Additionally, I hope to share updates on my current project which is applying the HSE model to the consumption of experiences.




William Arrington loves to converse on venture capital and startups. This is the first in a series on the HSE concept. Contact him at arrington.william@gmail.com

Graphic credits: William Arrington and MS Office

This article appeared in NEWS FROM HEARTLAND

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. Please perform your own due diligence. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
.Copyright © 2017 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Howard Tullman B&Wby Howard Tullman

From the Journal of the Heartland Angels

Today, entrepreneurs have tools and technologies to collect, monitor, and document more data than ever before. You’re likely swimming in data, since customers leave a trail of it everywhere to be captured and analyzed in real time. As I’ve often said, in business, what gets measured (and acknowledged and rewarded) is what gets done. I haven’t changed my belief about that, but I have come to see that we are putting too much emphasis strictly on the numbers. Numbers don’t lie, but they never tell the whole story. They can only take you so far before they top out and you need something qualitative and experiential to get to the right conclusions.

Pie Chart Hesitation

Peter Drucker’s dictum “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has created a whole generation of leaders so focused on perfecting their company’s processes that they lose sight of the company’s purpose. I hear managers all the time talking about the need to get more work out of their people when they should be trying to get the best work out of them. Optimizing (not maximizing) the team’s output is what matters most to the ultimate success of a business. Working smarter and more effectively—not necessarily longer or harder—is how you ultimately move ahead of the competition.

You need to be exceedingly careful these days that you don’t let the ease of access and the ubiquity of massive amounts of quantitative performance data cause you to over-emphasize the math and measurements—and thereby lose sight of the far more important qualitative attributes of what’s going on. Not everything is easy to measure or quantify, but that doesn’t make these things less important; it just makes your job as manager tougher. But when you get so wrapped up in the measurement process that it becomes the goal itself, it loses its effectiveness. It’s easy to confuse movement with progress, but not all motion is forward. And lots of activities that run up the numbers aren’t remotely productive. Measuring is easy; measuring better is tough.

When you let the numbers drive the train, you give up two important advantages that are critical to your success. First, the goal isn’t to be the thermometer; it’s to be the thermostat. It’s not about measuring the heat; it’s about generating and controlling the heat. You don’t want the analytics to lead you; they’re a useful benchmark and a guide for course corrections, but it’s your job to set the direction and move the business forward. Second, when you get so focused on specific and concrete financial results (sales targets, growth rates, etc.) and you direct all your team’s energies toward getting as close to achieving those numbers as possible, you actually limit your ultimate upside because you lose the ability to think and see beyond those immediate goals. When a game-changing opportunity arises or a quantum shift occurs in your sales prospects, your team will likely be so heads-down chasing those numbers that someone else will come along and grab the new brass ring.

Black Hole of Data

Here are three principles that have helped me resist the temptation to get too caught up in the numbers—and focus on what truly matters at my company:


Elaboration is a form of pollution

Tell your team to keep it simple. No one gets paid by the page, and shorter is almost always better. I’ve found that when people expand and extend their plans, proposals, and presentations, there’s a high degree of likelihood that they’re concerned about the value of their pitch, so they try to bury it in a boatload of facts, figures, charts, citations, and everything else that just hides the hard truth. It’s better for everyone when your people put things right out there—front and center—and take their medicine if that’s what’s called for. If you torture the numbers long enough, they’ll say whatever you like, but that’s not any way to get to the truth or the right result.


Not everything is worth doing well

Tell your team that everyone’s always on the clock. There’s an opportunity cost associated with everything you do, so choosing what not to do (and how extensively to do the things you need to do) is critical in any startup which has scarce resources and time. Some things just don’t warrant the full-court press, and it’s important to make sure that everyone knows that that’s okay with you. Other things shouldn’t be done at all, and you should never try to do things cheaply that just aren’t worth doing. It’s never easy to turn people down or say, “No,” to marginal choices, but it’s part of the job.


No one’s ever measured how much the heart can hold

Ultimately, the value of the critical connections your people make every day with your clients and customers can only be roughly approximated by even the best math. But it’s those daily personal and emotional interactions with your empowered employees that build crucial engagement as well as the lifetime value of those buyers for your business. You need to give your team permission to do what’s best for the customer in the moment that the opportunity arises. If they need to consult a rule book or have a calculator handy to do the math, they’ll lose the value of the moment every time. The best businesses don’t worry about the number or sheer volume of moments–they work to make each moment matter.



Howard Tullman is a philosopher, investor, and Chicago entrepreneur.   For more from Howard, go to



Read his bio: http://tullman.com/resume.asp


This article appeared in the following publicatons:

News From Heartland  http://news.HeartlandAngels.com

INC Magazine  http://www.inc.com/


Graphics: Getty Images, MS Office, H Tullman

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


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VERBATIM by Loop Lonagan – Investor and man about town,

as told to John Jonelis

EMRLoop Lonagan here. This is a story about new tech that’s gonna clobber every one of us in our most secret and private worlds. And we can’t duck it. It’s already started and we’re gonna hafta live with whatever we get. Tonight I hear two highly placed speakers talk about how to do it the right way. The speakers figure there’s a big opportunity here, too.

I’m just outa the Chicago MIT Enterprise Forum meeting on EMR—that’s Electronic Medical Records. Yeah—all that super-personal stuff about YOU that’s gonna be there for any nurse to see. Now the foot doctor knows the ins and outs of yer sex life. You get the idea. And yeah—it’s all gonna be there for Big Brother too. Think about that a minute. Government employees. I don’t like it. But it’s the new reality so we’re gonna learn to live with it just like the rest of the stuff that hits the fan. Maybe it’ll do some good after all—I don’t know.

But I ain’t here to talk about everbody’s personal privacy problems or politics neither. Here’s the rub: Turns out, there’s a lotta friction in developing this new EMR technology. It’s complicated. There’s all sortsa human factors screwing up our quest for nirvana in healthcare. This old sage is perplexed. I guess you can say that all the forces pulling this technology in different directions flabbergasts me.

Dr. Lyle Berkowitz

Dr. Lyle Berkowitz

These are real impressive speakers here tonight – big time innovation names. Dr. Lyle Berkowitz MD, FACP, FHIMSS, and Marti Nyman. You probably heard of them. The audience seems to like ’em a lot. I end up in the back of the room and it’s hard to hear with this crowd but we’re gonna do the best we can.

The Industry

What we got here is a huge ubiquitous industry in turmoil. Everybody says, “I’m doing just fine. It’s the other four verticals in the industry that have to adapt to me, do it my way, and everything will be just hunky-dory.” And we all know that’s not the case.

Who’s running the asylum? The Technologist, the Provider, or the Patient? Are the technologists forcing the providers to adapt to their software? Are the providers forcing the technologist and the patient to adapt to the way that they deliver medicine? Or do we need to find ways to motivate better behaviors in the patients? Berkowitz says the primary driver of behavioral change in patients lies with the hospitals and doctors—and I agree. The patients can’t run the asylum.


The Doctors

Dr Berkowitz comes from the camp that says EMR needs to focus on helping the physician jazz up his ROI insteada helping the bottom line for the technologists. His sore points are Cost, Quality, and Access. At first blush that rubs me the wrong way—I mean, doctors don’t need no financial help, right? They already make tons ‘o money.  It’s the innovators building the systems that take the risks and deserve the rewards.

But then I stop to think. Why should a doctor pay big bucks for something that eats into his precious time and gives no direct benefit to him? So Berkowitz wants the system to automate repeat tasks and make the doctor’s daily workflow a lot better. He’s got a point. Make it better for the docs and you might just make it better for everybody. He also makes a very good point that technology has to be useable.  I agree again.  Doctors are the worst Luddites on the planet.

He says EMR will create a new ecosystem within medical practices. Automation and improved daily workflow means docs do a better and more efficient job. They shuffle patients to the right kinda healthcare—sometimes cheaper healthcare. EMR is all about the providers using Big Data to save dollars and get their ducks in order. For more on Big Data go to https://chicagoventuremagazine.com/2012/10/19/the-story-behind-big-data/

Marit Nyman

Marit Nyman

Marti Nyman says he’s always worked in businesses where there’s what he calls “a convergence of crisis.” I find that an interesting turn of phrase. Within healthcare, he sees a huge, costly market that’s not easy to coordinate, control, or direct. There are so many different technologies that claim to have THE SOLUTION. It’s hard to build one platform across multiple silos.


In the end, I’m not sure anybody’s making any real progress. And I’m left with alotta questions. Nyman says “consumerization” of healthcare is gonna be important. I dunno what he means. Did he miss the election or what? Aren’t we gonna get socialized medicine now? But he says there’s all this opportunity. Everybody’s looking for ways where technology can solve the problem. I ask myself, whadda they gonna do—sell EMR systems to the government like fighter jets? So I don’t understand how that shakes out. Maybe it’ll help standardize it all but I wouldn’t bet the price of a beer on it.

Nyman gives the example of the way hospitals are at risk. If a patient comes back within 30 days, it’s on the hospital’s nickel. They didn’t handle the treatment well enough or maybe they discharged the patient too soon. They didn’t control the situation—didn’t understand it. He sees home monitoring systems and telemedicine improving the situation. Maybe that’s what he means by consumerism. But that assumes the risk will always be on the physician and the hospital. Those policies can change, especially with government in charge. So I’m left wondering if this kinda innovation will ever really happen.


Dr Berkowitz makes a big point of how valuable a physician’s time is. That’s a perplexing comment. Ain’t everybody’s time valuable? A doc is just a highly educated mechanic, right? What makes his time more valuable than yours or mine? As Stephen Potter sarcastically pointed out in his One Upmanship series, “The physician’s time is always more valuable than yours and in a more important way.”

But when I think about it further, this is actually a practical truth for a number of reasons. Physicians spend a big chunk o’ their lives in school, residency, and what not. That’s a big front load of capital expenditure. The years left for actual work are much more compressed than the rest of us. Surgeons need a steady hand and that’s hard to come by after you get past 50. So the career gets truncated even more. They gotta squeeze a lifetime of income outa a real short span of time. Maybe it’s not as short as football players but it’s plenty short. Then there’s the economic facts of life. Physicians are in short supply for all the reasons I just gave. And the demand is plenty high and about to get a lot higher under the National Health. The more efficient they work, the more patients they can cure. So, yeah—turns out their time is real valuable. Valuable to everybody. If tech can help that along, I’m all for it.


One of the speakers is Lyle Berkowitz, a Primary Care Physician as well as the Chief of Medical Innovation at Northwestern Hospital, Director of IT and Innovation at another place, a serial entrepreneur, etc. etc.—the list is as long as yer arm. Maybe he’s triplets.

The other guy is Marti Nyman, Director of Innovation at UnitedHealthcare. He’s got allota VC and business development experience. Retail, Telecom, GE, Best Buy. His list goes on-and-on too.


Find MITEF Chicago at http://www.mitefchicago.org/




Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.


Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


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John Jonelis

Big DataThere’s a lot of buzz about Big Data these days. By Big Data, we’re talking Big Mountains of Data. The manipulation of this resource will change the world and do it soon. I hear plenty of lofty goals for the benefit of mankind but destructive ends also seem likely. So what can we expect? I’m here to pass along the short version in plain language.

Tonight we’re treated to speakers from Oracle, CABI, and Narrative Science – a business that grew out of the artificial intelligence labs at the University of Chicago and Northwestern.

Pound for pound, Chicago’s MIT Enterprise Forum is always dense with PhDs and Thought Leaders. I spot a VC in a room dominated by businessmen, academics and MIT alumni. Josh London from Wellter moderates this high-powered session.


Distilled Data

Louis Nagode – Oracle

Louis A Nagode

Louis A Nagode … jaj

Louis Nagode is a self-proclaimed geek, but he’s world-renowned, with 30 years of business intelligence under his belt. When he talks Big Data, he’s thinking an aggregate of an enormous bulk of worldwide information—ultimately all the knowledge in the world. He says we’re creating data at a phenomenal rate. In the next 2 years we’ll create more data than ever existed before. The key to using it, according to Nagode, is distilling it down to useful information. He breaks it down into four “Vs”:

  • Volume—(How do you process it all?)
  • Velocity—(How fast does it change?)
  • Variety—(How do you make use of it?)
  • Value—(How do you make sense of it?)

The big question is this: Can we use Big Data to reduce workload for people, manufacturing, and other altruistic purposes? The next two speakers give concrete answers to that.

Nagode talks about alternatives to databases—alternatives like HDFS, the distribution of data across multiple computers around the globe. That’s data that can be harnessed.

Oracle Logo

To sift out what we need to know he uses a map-reduce pipeline. Look it up if you want, but it boils down to this: You no longer need a structured query language like SQL. Bottom line, it’s getting a lot easier to use data. Let’s move on and see just how easy this gets:


From Data to Story

Kristian Hammond – Narrative Science

Kristian Hammond - JAJ

Kristian Hammond … jaj

Hammond built the artificial intelligence lab at both the University of Chicago and Northwestern. Now he’s built a Chicago company that takes numbers and symbols and communicates the hidden insights in a more human form. Let me put it more directly: He transforms Big Data into words and narrative. In other words, STORY!

Numbers require expert analysis. Graphs help visualize numbers but we’re still looking at only an 8% penetration. Stories, on the other hand, are highly accessible. They communicate beyond data and tell you things you can’t see. After all, narrative is the way we’ve communicated as long as we’ve been human.

His system produces a short narrative that tells your company the pertinent facts, then gives a summary—A SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK TO MAKE YOUR COMPANY BETTER. We’re not talking about overseas labor knocking this stuff out—no, machines are doing it using artificial intelligence!

Narrative Science Logo

Hammond gives an example of a food chain using corporate analytics. The data says that sales of Reuben sandwiches are down. The STORY gives the company easy-to-understand and actionable recommendations, something like this: “Reuben Sandwiches are this week’s weakest menu item with average sales of 136.7 units. Bringing sales up to norm means $7.2MM in added revenue overall. This requires only 6 more sales per store per day.” Now that’s useful information that people can understand and act on.

According to Hammond, people have forgotten the business reasons for data. By telling them the business side in Story, the data becomes immediately useful. As he puts it, “Story is the last mile in Big Data.”

What about education? His system give feedback on an exam with advice on how to improve a student’s performance: “In physics, you need to focus on the Theory of Relativity. Look back to Chapters 5 and 6 of the text.”

How about a sector report for stock analysis? Or a seasonality report for commodity analysis? Why not pull down the Twitter data of all the speakers at a conference and give it out as written analysis? What about a data-driven narrative for media? Turns out that’s a natural. Hey, this could put me out of business!

So how does it work? They analyze nuance and word choice 200 ways plus adjectives and adverbs. They match the client’s written “voice.” They can generate different styles using the same machine. According to Hammond, “Any data, any story, we can do it.”

Now let’s look into using Big Data on a grand scale:


Use it for Good

Roland Dietz – CABI, IERG, Focused Connections Partners

Roland Dietz - JAJ

Roland Dietz … jaj

Dietz showed us Big Data in use on the world stage. His organization predicts infestations in plant or animal populations worldwide.

They can show a farmer what might happen to his crop. To do that, they combine data from around the world on climate, soil composition, movement of materials, markets, and many other sources. This model is open source. The data is freely given and freely distributed.

The profit is in what they do with Big Data. As he put it, “We start with tons of information, then identify its significance. That becomes our competitive edge.”


For example, let’s say you track the movement of a pest that destroys coffee plantations. You know the various soils, plant densities, climates, population centers, and topography worldwide. With this, you can predict where the plague will spread.

Some governments don’t want to join CABI, but the group has done good work, even in Korea and Pakistan. When countries see that the organization isn’t political, they accept them. Some are restrictive about what they share because they don’t understand the consequences. But when they find out some of the unexpected benefits of Big Data, they open up.

Big Data at Emmi Solutions - JAJ

Big Data at Emmi Solutions … jaj


  • Constant Change—The ecosystem is non-linear and always in flux. Using Big Data means doing analysis in real time.
  • Analysis—Data without an expert is useless. But just like any science, you come up with a theory based on the data. Then you test it. The scientific method is very much alive and well.
  • Opportunities—The biggest opportunities identified so far are in healthcare, world agriculture, education, and evidence-based decision making in business.
  • Privacy—This is a huge question that needs to be answered. More and more, people accept constantly observation. But how is the data used? If, for instance, a telecom company has significant insight into YOU, do they keep it proprietary? Can an organization publish information on coffee production in Senegal without permission? I suggested that I’d love to get my hands on coffee pest data to gain an edge trading commodity futures.
  • Ethics—Turns out, these speakers aren’t the ones to address this issue.  “It’s above my pay grade,” said one. But might not Big Data be used for evil purposes? A member of the audience suggested the specter of ethnic cleansing. Like nuclear power, the possibilities for both altruistic and destructive goals seem endless.



Louis A Nagode—



Kristian Hammond—

Narrative Sciencehttp://www.narrativescience.com/


Roland Dietz—

Focused Connections Partners http://focusedconnectionspartners.com/

CABIhttp://www.cabi.org/ – a not-for-profit international organization that improves lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment.

IERGhttp://www.iergonline.org/ – (International Executive Resource Group) – A not for profit organization of senior business executives from around the world.


Josh London—

Wellterhttp://www.wellter.com/ – Enables employees to comparison-shop for healthcare providers.


The Venue—

Emmi Solutionshttp://www.emmisolutions.com/ – builds patient empowerment solutions for health organizations that measurably impact outcomes. Their offices are a terrific venue for this event. By the way, they’re still looking for talent. Check out this link: www.EmmiSolutions.com/Careers Looks like a great place to work.


MIT Enterprise Forum, Chicagohttp://www.mitefchicago.org/




Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.
Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved





Filed under CABI, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Data, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Events, Financial Markets, IERG, Information, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, MIT Enterprise Forum, MITEF, Northwestern, Oracle, University of Chicago