Pension funds, unions invest in companies like Bain Capital.

Visiting Toronto and speaking at a Private Equity conference, David Rubinstein of Carlyle Private Equity spoke about how private equity is under attack. David worked for Carter so should be on Obama's side,  but he did stand up for the Private Equity industry saying it did a great deal for companies that would have not got further or gone under. As a Canadian, the American election campaign is hard to take when private equity is slammed to make political gains. Cory Booker spoke up for private equity and said a common theme - Unions have their pension invested in private equity funds and rely on them for retirement. If Private Equity was so evil, do not invest your money in it. It's a free world, for now... Here is Booker's brilliant response:
Cory Booker on campaign ads attacking Romney over his tenure at Bain Capital. Booker responded:As far as that stuff, I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just this–we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know. I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, it ain’t–they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.

Soak product on BNN The Pitch actually WORKS!

Dry cleaners seem to have the whole cleaning business wrapped up - that is until I met SOAK on BNN The Pitch.
Jacqueline Save is the quirky entrepreneur running this washing product which just requires you to fill a sink, mix in some SOAK and then add your garment. I tried it on my cashmere blanket which was looking quite shabby. Shazaam - the dirt floated off and after drying, the blanket had recovered its early sharp colours and soft texture.
My picky mother then tried it on her white scarf and the brilliance of the white was impressive. I then did my winter coat which was looking mucky and ready to be retired. Again, back to the colour when I first bought it. This is an amazing product.
Jacqueline - where can I buy some more because you are saving me huge dry cleaning bills.

 @jacqueline_soak on BNN's The Pitch here: bit.ly/HaFOVJ

Andrew Bell says Your Cell Phone is Totemic

The word of the day on the TV stage for BNN was "Totemic" - "the emblem of a clan or family and sometimes revered". It was Andrew Bell, the amiable host for BNN The Pitch, who commented that Smart Casing had an exciting product concept that was totemic. Branding the cell phone case is attractive as the phone is important to the user. 
Think about having the Maple Leafs on the back of your cell phone, or for the big banks, they could get more branding by having employee phones come in their corporate colours. (Although, TD green might not look too chic.) Pranav Sood got ribbed about not looking like a tech geek.
It was clear he had the positive temperment to be a CEO and drive the growth. If Pranav lands BestBuy, watch out.

My Experience Mentoring TheNext36, They Can Pivot

Mentoring TheNext36 team yesterday was a free flow of big ideas. You do have to plant many flags to get a business going and the team triumf discussed a range of ways to focus their start up technology business. The two enthusiastic entrepreneurs, Paul Lee and Ethan Baron, had all the characteristics needed to succeed, particularly the ability to listen and add in their views. Having listening skill means they will be highly likely to be able to pivot the focus of their business as they get it running.
It reminded me of YouTube that began as a dating site and Twitter which began as a podcast sharing site. Also, Canada's Flickr also changed. Here is an excerpt from Fast Company on this very topic and it is from Al Reis, my all time favourite marketing guru:
PayPal's original mission was to beam IOUs from Palm Pilot to Palm Pilot. Flickr grew out of a massive multiplayer online game as a way for players to drop photos into text messages. Groupon emerged from a community promoting political action while online flash retailer Fab.comcame out of a failed gay social network called Fabulis. Instagram's founders created a check-in technology called Blurbn before settling on photos. Pandora was a B2B musicrecommendation service. Yelp transitioned from email recommendations from friends to a local search and user review website.
 These companies, like many others, are examples of startups that "pivoted" from their original visions. First articulated by Eric Ries, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, "pivoting" has become part of the business and technology lexicon, the Moore's Law of startupology. Only a soothsayer can know what will happen before it happens, and only the savviest (or luckiest) entrepreneur can take an idea from the initial inspiration to market and beyond without a few hiccups along the way. So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that pivoting isn't just common, it's become the rule more than the exception. History shows that it's more likely a tech company will undergo a steep course correction at one point or another than stay true to their founders' original vision. Pivots are rooted in learning what works and what doesn't, keeping "one foot in in the past" and "one foot in a new possible future," Ries says. Boiled down to its essence: It's all about survival.
Throughout business history companies have pivoted--we just didn't think of it that way. Nokia once manufactured paper and rubber boots, Nintendo sold playing cards, and the Gap was a Bay-Area record store that peddled Levis jeans. Forty years ago Richard Branson published an indie music magazine and Virgin Records was a modest record store with one London location. The Marriot began as a root beer stand in Washington, DC. And startups aren't the only enterprises to amend strategy to avoid their own creative destruction. There was a time not long ago that Apple Inc. earned most of its revenues from computers and not music players and phones, while no one would accuse Microsoft of whimsy until it created Xbox. IBM used to be a billion-dollar computer maker and now it is a billion-dollar seller of business services.