Greatly Humbled

I need to decompress a bit but there are a few things I need to get out of my brain so I can make room for thinking about what comes next.

What happened today with the Minneapolis Recruiting Unconference and Recruiting Roadshow was awesome in every sense of the word and to borrow an often used phrase, we may have just caught lightning in a bottle.

John Sumser, thank you for coming to Minneapolis. Your idea was the fuel for the event and for what happens next. We are indebted to you. I look forward to our growing friendship.

Don Ramer, I met a new friend and ally in you and I look forward to working with you in the future. You were with us from the get go and I will take you up on your offer to partner on future events. Please thank your team for me.

Josh Kahn and Best Buy, thank you, thank you, thank you. A top notch facility to have the event at and not one logistical issue came up. “Whew” and thank you.

Nicole St. Martin, my wingman, tech, and email partner. There is no way this would have happened without you.

Steven Rothberg, Josh, Toby Dayton, Derrick Moe, Andy Keith, and Doug Berg, thank you for sharing your knowledge with the group today. The only negative feedback we have had is you did not have enough time and more Q&A was needed. What a great problem to have. Next time, and there will be many next times, we will do more by doing less and give you proper time to present.

The response we had today from attendees, email and phone message received since has been very humbling for me. Much too much credit is coming my way.

Yeah, I had an idea but it is John’s roadshow, support from Arbita and HotGigs, the volunteer presenters, and most importantly our HR, recruiter, sourcer colleagues that attended that made this event what it was.

Minneapolis Recruiting Unconference And Recruiting Roadshow Thoughts

I have received a few email the past two weeks wondering where I have been and why I had not been writing.

Between the day job of recruiting and the other day job of “Cruise Director” for the unconference I have been very, very busy. Mix in with that a volunteer stint at the University of Minnesota to help with the hiring of a graduate assistant I have been a little overwhelmed.

But it has been good. I would do it again. And it all ends at around 1 pm o Friday.

Or, 8.15 hours until the beginning of the end.

We have had only a few minor hitches along the way and are things that can be fixed if/when we do this again. And I hope we do this again.

When Steven Rothberg, Josh Kahn and I first met to talk about doing an event we spoke about doing a small event. Steven said 30 plus us local bloggers would be a good turnout. From there we jumped to wanting to do a really large event with hundreds. We realized that we should take it slow for the first one and see what the demand is.

Then I said, “But we can get 100 people” and Steven replied, “Are you on crack?”

Apparently so and it must be the good stuff.

We have been at 100 registered attendees since Monday with between 4 and 12 on a wait list all week. On top of that will be a dozen or so colleagues from Best Buy, the group of presenters, and a few from the sponsors.

I am very appreciative of Don Ramer and Arbita who is sponsoring lunch. He has been on board with this from the beginning and he has been awesome to work with. Doug Berg and HotGigs too for sponsoring a light breakfast.

An event like this is much easier when you have people wanting to help.

I am looking forward to seeing some friends I have not seen in many years. I also look forward to meeting people in person I know of but have never met.

Finally and I will have more to say about this in a separate post, John Sumser is a good guy. John has a reputation for being a little rough around the edges and maybe he is. But like most people he has strong opinions. One might not always agree with him or his delivery style but I never have to guess where he is coming from.

Personally, I like the guy. I have found him very easy to get along with.

John took a rather public beating when he was picked to be the new editor of Many have questioned his motives and intentions. To those I say this, pick up the phone and call him. You will find that he does have a plan for the site and I think that many folks will like it.

The next Recruiting Roadshow is in the works. I hope I am not announcing anything super secret but the next event will be in Atlanta sometime in November September. Oops.

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Minneapolis Recruiting Unconference Invitation

I have been so involved in the planning process I failed to keep people up to date here. Response to the invitation below has been phenomenal. We have space for 100 attendees and have been on a waiting list all week.

The attendee number does not take into account presenters, sponsors, and our Best Buy colleagues. We had to add tables for all of us in order to accommodate the number of requests.

13.5 hours to the beginning of the event...

An Invitation
The Minneapolis Recruiting Unconference:
Online and Real World Networking with the Recruiting Roadshow

Local career and recruiting professionals are partnering with John Sumser, editor of both and, as he starts his ten-city Recruiting Roadshow in Minneapolis.

The Recruiting Roadshow tour and “unconference” style is the first of its kind. It provides an opportunity to learn about successful recruiting strategies, effective industry tools and best practices from local professionals, many of whom speak regularly at national conferences.

What is a “Recruiting Unconference”? Simple, this is an event where you won’t be sitting in an audience listening to people speak. We have volunteers to lead the discussions and speak about their experiences but we want you the attendees to drive the sessions, ask questions, to be involved.

Session topics are:
Intergenerational Recruiting
MySpace, Facebook, and Other Social Network Sites: Best Practices for Recruiters
Blogging as a Recruiting and Employer Branding Tool
”Bringing Sexy Back” To Your Career Website

Learn how to better use social networking sites, blogs, and RSS feeds to attract top talent and passive candidates. Gain insight on recruiting Baby Boomers and Millenials. New and improved ideas on making your corporate career page more effective in attracting active and passive job seeking professionals.

Just as important, this is an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

This is a FREE event (lunch included):
July 20, 2007 - 9 am to Noon
Lunch and networking from Noon to 1 pm.

Best Buy Corporate Campus
7601 Penn Avenue South
Richfield MN 55423
Calhoun/Minnetonka meeting space

Seating is available for 100 attendees.

RSVP by clicking this link (or cut and paste into your browser) to a sign up page,
Here you will also find bio’s of those leading the discussions.

Who should attend:
Corporate Recruiters
HR VPs/Directors/Managers
Staffing Specialists/Managers
HR Recruiters
Workforce Planning Professionals
Search Firm Professionals

Why you should attend:
Improve your organization’s brand awareness
Get insights on current and future recruiting techniques
Use social networks to create active and passive talent pools
Learn to develop alumni/boomerang groups
How to better utilize corporate career web sites including RSS feeds,
Search Engine Optimization practices, and newsletters

For more information contact:
Paul DeBettignies
Managing Partner
Nerd Search, LLC
612-216-1421 (O)
[email protected]

Sponsors of the event:
Best Buy (Host Sponsor) • Arbita (Lunch Sponsor)
JobDigNerd SearchSelect Metrix

Arbita_logoBest_Buy_Logo CollegeRecruiter.com_Logo HotGigs_Logo JobDig_logo Nerd Search Logo Large Select_Metrix_Logo

Recruiting Roadshow Unconference Coming To Minneapolis, July 20th At Best Buy HQ

Many weeks ago I contacted my local career blogging colleagues about getting together for lunch or dinner and take some time to get to know each other. We read each others blogs and some of us have met each other but I am not sure if any of us had met all of the others.

While this conversation was taking place Steven Rothberg of was attending a national conference and had a chat with John Sumser who has taken the lead of

John has been writing for many, many years a daily called Electronic Recruiting News. His main site is and is a fantastic source of information for anyone whose job relates to recruiting or supporting someone who is a recruiter.

John had an idea of taking to the road so to speak, I figured an airplane would be more involved than a car, to meet with recruiters in cities across the country.

As a group we decided that we should try and be the first city to host John and what is being called the “Recruiting Roadshow Unconference”.

I first wrote about this a few weeks ago, Minnesota A Career, HR, And Recruiting Blog Hotbed, but I was kind of vague as we were working out details. Our idea was to do it in June but we decided that it made more sense to take some time in planning the event, so July 20th it is.

The event is free. Yep, no cost.

What is an “unconference”? Frankly, I am a little unsure exactly as this is sort of a new trend from what I can see. But the feel of it is a very informal gathering of professionals to share information and experiences. In our case we are inviting HR professionals, recruiters, search firm folks, and anyone related to the recruiting function like a web developer who works on a career site.

We have the topics picked out (these are not the titles of the presentation):

  • Differences in generational recruiting
  • Using blogs for recruiting and branding
  • Recruiting and networking on MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites
  • Tips on optimizing corporate career pages, use of RSS feeds, and using newsletters

John Sumser and all of the local bloggers will be presenting. There will be networking opportunities and lunch is included. We expect the event will start around 9 am and go until 1 pm but we are still working out specifics.

For sure the location is at the Best Buy Headquarters in Richfield, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Steven Rothberg wrote about this yesterday, Minneapolis Recruiting Roadshow Unconference Announced and John Sumser today, Recruiting Roadshow.

Steven is giving me credit I do not deserve. All of my colleagues are volunteering their expertise in one form or another. I posted on Steven’s blog that I am just the “Cruise Director”. I like that better than party or event coordinator. Maybe I will bring a sailors hat with me that day.

Next week we will have a Word/HTML marketing piece that will be sent out and a web page to take care of registrations.

For my colleagues around the country John says in his post that other cities he would like to visit include Miami, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Austin and Toronto.

John is looking for someone to help plan/host these other events. We will be sharing our material so the amount of time spent preparing future ones will be minimal. This has been a lot of fun so far and is a great networking opportunity.

If you have any questions about this event please send me an email, [email protected]

Minnesota A Career, HR, And Recruiting Blog Hotbed

It is interesting how the stereotype of Midwestern values of working hard and not telling others about it holds true much of the time.


I had a conversation with a colleague who works at Microsoft and is very familiar with the use of recruiting blogs although he himself does not write one. I told him that Minnesota has 8 or so career related blogs that I am aware of and he was shocked to hear so many.


So often our area is looked at as “fly over” country. I am here to dismiss that, at least as far as the blogging goes.


In fact, we are working on an “unconference” of our own at the end of June. Looks like we have a cool program developing and we will likely have a well known name as a key note speaker. That is what I have come to learn as a tease, more on the “unconference” next week.


So who are the Minnesota bloggers writing about recruiting, being a recruiter, HR related issues, and careers in general?


If you know of a blog not on the list please send me an email so it can be added. Here goes:

Steven Rothberg of has a group of blogs (eight) that you can find by clicking blogs. The RSS Feed is

Josh Kahn of Best Buy writes The Sourcing Riff. The RSS Feed is

GL Hoffman of JobDig writes What Would Dad Say. The RSS Feed is

Toby Dayton of JobDig writes Diggings. The RSS Feed is

Derrick Moe of Select Matrix writes The Hire Sense. The RSS Feed is 

HotGigs has three blogs written by various members of their team: StaffingExchange the RSS Feed is, HiringExchange the RSS Feed is, and ConsultantExchange the RSS Feed is


Nicole St. Martin of HotGigs writes HR Search Marketing. The RSS Feed is


And of course myself writing this blog MN Headhunter. The RSS Feed is


There is another blog that has not been updated in some time, New Workforce – The Weblog of New Equities. The RSS Feed is .


So there you have it.

Minnesota as a thought center on career, recruiting and HR related issues. Other than the concentration of blogs coming out of Microsoft and the Redmond area I am not aware of another part of the country with as many as we do.

Traditional Search Firms Are Going To Be Extinct, Whatever

I really like when new ideas come around and universal statements are made that the cool new thing is going to do away with the “old” way.


Hyrian brings new unit to Twin Cities, grows in niche market:

A primary difference between Hyrian and traditional search firms is in the way it gets paid. Most firms are paid between 20 and 30 percent of a new hire's salary, and only when the position is actually filled. Hyrian charges a flat fee, tiered according to the complexity of the hiring process for each position. It gets paid for the candidate search, even if a client decides to scrap the position.


For example, a search firm would normally charge a fee of between $15,000 and $22,500 for a successful placement of a $75,000-a-year salaried senior accountant. Hyrian's fee would be $3,900.

Great, so they are less expensive than the traditional search firm. What I want to know is:


-What is the quality of candidates found?

-Through what means are they finding them?

-Will they be able to hire enough top-notch recruiters who want to work in this system?

-With a smaller fee will they be able to spend the 10, 20, 40 hours needed to find the difficult candidates or will they only be going after the easy to find ones also known as the low hanging fruit?


From what I have heard Hyrian is a good company. I respect them and I want to be clear about that.


But I remember getting in the business in 1998 and shortly there after hearing how, the Internet, web sites and email were going to allow candidates direct access to hiring managers. That the recruiting industry as it was then was going to go away like the dinosaurs.


Here is a comment similar to my experience in the article:

Web sites like, CareerBuider and other, even cheaper technologies have made it easier to find job candidates, and for candidates to find jobs, she said.

It is worth noting that the person quoted in the article that I have cited here is not a representative of Hyrian.


That last line I have an issue with. If it is easier to find candidates then why is Hyrian or any search firm in business? I would think employers could do this on their own and not need any assistance. Candidates should be knocking down the doors of employers and their security guards with tazers and batons trying to control the horde.


That is just not the case. New tools have not necessarily made finding the best or the right candidates any easier. Matching candidates to open jobs is still an art no matter how much new technologies try to make it into a science.


OK. I vented enough here.


Like the crocodile I and many of my colleagues will continue to adapt and will survive just fine.


I welcome the competition. Thanks for the motivation. Let’s get it on…

Been Thinking About A MN Headhunter Job Board

When I started writing this blog in May of 2005 I have always asked people what they would like to see added to the site. Over time, it has morphed and some have called this more of a portal than a blog.


Whatever, some soda and I say pop.

All I know is I see more total visitors, a growing number of frequent visitors every month, and while comments are few the amount of email has been insane.


I am quite happy offer to offer for free the Volunteer, page to help nonprofits find volunteers and full time employees, and Recruiting Gigs for my recruiting friends to find their job pr contract.


There may be a new page, or web site, about to be born.


The past few months I have been contacted by quite a few startup and small companies looking for information technology professionals and not yet able or wanting to use a search firm guy like me.


They are not using the job boards either because of cost or because of poor results when they have used them. Some are looking for consultants, free agents, and others for full time employment.


I have been kicking around the idea of starting a job board. Something for the Twin Cities technology professionals and employers wanting to hire them.


Not so much as a “money maker” or revenue stream but as a way to help good companies find good people. If a new client or some candidates find their way to me great but if I can help the local tech companies and workers meet up, that would be good enough.


TechCrunch has this post The Job Board Bubble about the growing ease in starting a niche job board.


If the only way to use the service is to charge for ads I should be able to find a way to donate the money to local nonprofits that help train the un/underemployed or put computers in schools.


I have a few domain names I have acquired in the past year so setting up a site separate from this should be easy to do. I had thought about adding it on here but I think it makes more sense to have a separate site.


As you are reading and have an idea on how I could do something like this, or if it is needed in the Twin Cities tech market, send me an email [email protected].

August '06 Minnesota Job Scene

The roller coaster that is the State of Minnesota job creation was down for August. We lost 2,500 jobs yet the unemployment rate went down. A likely sign that some have left the workforce pool.


While some jobs have been lost 71,653 jobs in the past year have been created, a 2.6% increase compared to the 1.3% national rate. On average the state creates between 30,000 and 45,000 jobs.


Unemployment rate:

August ’06, 3.7%

July ’06, 3.8%

June ’06, 3.6%


Jobs Created/Lost:

August ’06, -2,500

July ’06, +11,600

More Northwest Airlines 101 Ways To Save Money

This is a follow-up post to last weeks Northwest Airlines List Of 101 Ways To Save Money. I apologize for not updating this story sooner. I have had to remind myself that I am a tech recruiter first, and blogger second.


Unfortunately I did not get on the National Public Radio (NPR) segment of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell me. They were able to get quotes from a union rep and for as much as I wanted to get in the story they made the right choice.


To hear the segment go to This Week’s Show. Then look for:

“Bluff the Listener” "Thanks for nothing, corporate overlords!" Three stories about good intentions gone awry in the business world.

While not getting on the show was a bummer NPR does have on their front page “Links Heard On Air” with a link to this story Northwest's Advice to the Laid Off: Dumpster Dive. There is also a 2+ minute audio of the piece they did which includes comments from those that received the material. At the bottom of the story is a link to my blog posting. Very, very cool.


There has been a lot of attention to this story. Last Friday I had 1,100+ visitors to the 101 tips. As I type this at 6:00 pm central time I have had 6,100+ visitors just today.


Frankly I find this all a little overwhelming. What I thought was an interesting local story has brought 55+ links from other sites, quite a few comments, and 85 email messages. I am slowly responding to the email.


The most frequented question I have been asked is, “What do you think of this?” As I said in the original post I found that many of these “tips” are reasonable actions people could take to save some cash.


The problem is that the material was given to those losing their jobs. If I had been a recipient of the material I would have wanted someone’s butt on the chopping block. And not some mid manager person, a ranking official.


For those who have said the workers were being overly sensitive I ask them this question, “If it had been you how would you have reacted?” I doubt they would have laughed.


The problem I have from where I sit is that this was a complete failure on NWA’s part. So they really did not check the material before it was presented? Geez, that’s an awful lot of trust to put in an outside vendor.


My understanding, and I may be wrong, is that the 150+ page packet was going to be the standard packet moving forward. Can you imagine if this happened to more than 50 employees and not in three small towns?


Finally, even NEAS (the firm who put the material together) is saying that the material was prepared by someone else. Were they aware of what was prepared? Have they passed this same brochure on to other clients? Better yet, who did prepare it?


I lied, one last thing. I have been asked which “tip” I thought most about. #53 Bicycle To Work. Dude, they don’t have jobs!!!


I have gone through my referral pages and I always hesitate to point out one site over another. Some sites have referred quite a few people but only have the original story. Other sites have been either more original with what they wrote or have had great comments on their site.


Here are a few of the many worth taking a look at:


From the local crowd here in Minnesota:

-Metroblogging Minneapolis: Northwest Airlines to employees: go dumpster diving!


-City Pages Blog: Frugal Flyer NWA Says 'Screw Your Dignity'


From the national crowd:

-Funny Business: Distributor of NWA's "101 Ways To Save Money" apologizes--sort of With a copy of the NEAS “apology”. northwest to laid-off employees: dig through your trash! A special award for this one, many stories have had a picture of a person digging or sitting in a dumpster. This one comes with Oscar the Grouch From Sesame Street in a NWA trashcan.


-STL Recruiting: 5 More Ways to Save Money If You're A Northwest Employee I know Jim well and he is not serious about his tips. He is just taking the original 101 steps another step to show the absurdity.


-Lifehacker: Ask the Readers: Cut your expenses when things are tight?


-FatWallet: Money Saving Tips from Northwest Airlines


-Don’t Mess With Taxes: In case of an emergency firing, dumpster dive


-Super Happy Funtime Blog: And People Thought This Was INSENSITIVE????

Northwest Airlines List Of 101 Ways To Save Money

***August 23, 7 pm update***

Click More Northwest Airlines 101 Ways To Save Money to find a commentary, update on NPR, and links to this post.


***5 pm update***

I was interviewed by NPR for their segment Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me segment. When I get the link I will post it.


***3 pm update***

Here is a link to and what a few of the Minneapolis folks are saying


***Noon update***

This morning a federal judge ruled he cannot block a strike by NWA flight attendants. “CHAOS” could start August 25th.


This is a follow up to my previous post Outsourced Northwest Airlines Employees Down In The Dumps(ters)


In fairness it looks as if the company, (NEAS Company, who put this list together has the same list for all of their clients, not Northwest Airlines specifically. Still, you would think the airline would look at the material they are giving to their soon to be former employees.


In my opinion some of these are decent ideas but in this context, jobs being outsourced, this is insulting at best.


So here are the 101 Ways To Save Money from the 4-page “Preparing for a Financial Setback” including the now famous #46 “Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.”


1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night.

2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.

3. Use coupons at the grocery store.

4. Carpool.

5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.

6. Do your own nails.

7. Rent out a room or garage.

8. Replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt.

9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.

10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it's full.

11. Always grocery shop with a list.

12. Buy spare parts for your car at a junkyard.

13. Go to museums on free days.

14. Quit smoking.

15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.

16. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner.

17. Request to get interest on a security deposit for your apartment.

18. Take a shorter shower.

19. Write letters instead of calling.

20. Brown bag your lunch.

21. Make your own babyfood.

22. Use public transportation.

23. Drop duplicate medical insurance.

24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.

25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid.

26. Exercise for free-walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.

27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors.

28. Buy your clothes off season.

29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.

30. Share housing with a friend or family member.

31. Hang clothes out to dry.

32. Do not use your calling card.

33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program.

34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly.

35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests.

36. But 'no frills' vitamins.

37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.

38. Make cards and gifts for friends.

39. Shop in thrift stores.

40. Have your water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.

41. Refinance your mortgage.

42. Grocery shop on double coupon days.

43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.

44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term.

45. Shop around for eyeglasses.

46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.

47. Recycle.

48. Move to a less expensive place to live.

49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.

50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.

51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.

53. Bicycle to work.

54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.

55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.

56. Borrow a dress for a big night out. or go to a consignment shop.

57. When you buy a home negotiate the sales price and closing costs.

58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation.

59. Never grocery shop hungry.

60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit.

61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies (Medi-Mail 800-331-1458, Action Mail Order Drugs 800-452-1976, and AARP 800-456-2277). 

62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer's dependent care flexible spending account.

63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.

64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.

65. Caulk windows and doors.

66. Iron your own shirts.

67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping.

68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.

69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.

70. Cut your cable television down to basic.

71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.

72. Buy pre-owned toys and children's books at garage sales.

73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out.

74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.

75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.

76. Don't use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.

77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.

78. Make your own coffee.

79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.

80. Shop at discount clothing stores.

81. Skip annual full mouth x-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends x-rays every 3 years.

82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.

83. Shop around for long distance rates.

84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.

85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.

86. Shop around for auto financing.

87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.

88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.

89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.

90. Keep your car properly tuned.

91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.

92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.

93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.

94. Buy software at computer fares.

95. Search the internet for freebies.

96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.

97.If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.

98. Cut the kids hair yourself.

99. Increase your insurance deductible.

100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.

101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.

ePrairie Changes Name To

I have been a subscriber of the newly named daily email on Midwest business news for many years. They also have really good daily articles of their own. I prefer the weekly networking tips (most of which I already know and practice but serves as a good reminder) and Raising Minnesota written by John Katsantonis.


Below are some of the best since April:


Stand Out in Networking Circles By Becoming a Subject Matter Expert


Perspective Following BIO 2006: The Midwest as Innovation Central?


Eight Midwest Tech Researchers Recognized By MIT in Honor Roll


Q&A: Intellext CEO Al Wasserberger on Smart Bet Charity Poker


How to Turn Simple Networking Snafus Into Effective Techniques Midwest Technology Business News


Book Shows How Upstart Computer Company Beat IBM at Own Game


Indiana Gov. Daniels Announces $105 Million Venture Capital Fund


New Book From Former CDC CEO Walks Readers Through Innovation


Midwest Retains Dominant Role in World Medical Device Market


Perfect Simple Business Networking Gestures With Practice, Patience


Former CDC CEO Price Walks Techies Through Seven Steps of Innovation


‘Freakonomics’: Incentives Are Cornerstone of Modern Life For Entrepreneurs


Leverage the Power of Sports For Summer Business Networking


A Time to Make Friends: More Partnerships in Biotech, Med Tech?

State Of Minnesota Places Call For Techie Help

Citizens of this fine state are getting a glimpse into how far behind state government has fallen in upgrading technology. Minnesota asks industry to lend it some free 'geeks', free?


I would hope that the big shops and consulting firms in town are willing to help out but they would be making a significant contribution:


The senior professionals being sought often are billed to clients at rates ranging from $150 to $250 an hour, said one information technology vendor that has looked at the program.


"That'll separate the men from the boys, certainly," said another vendor, Richard Winkelmann of CA International, a New York-based IT firm.


Winkelmann attended a meeting with state officials last week about the loan program and called it "an exciting opportunity to put someone at the table with the chief information officer to help set strategy for the state of Minnesota." But he said it's been a tough sell to his corporate bosses.


"I've spent a week lobbying CA to come forward with resources," Winkelmann said. "Uncorking someone is a challenge. We're not there yet."


A tough sell? Uh, yeah I think so…

ePrecis, A Better Search Engine Than Google?

In the April edition of Twin Cities Business is a story on page 42 titled “The Google Stalker”. Unfortunately Twin Cities Business does not post their content online or I would link it here.


This is a story of a Minnesota man named Arnie Schultz and it starts in the 1960’s at the University of Minnesota where he was a student. He got a job at the medical school to “electronically index complex medical abstracts alphabetically and by category.”


This was his entry into a lifetime of “assigning numerical weight to every word in the English language in order to perform more useful, contextually correct electronic text searches and summaries.”


This work has resulted in a software program and now search engine called ePrecis.


The article goes into how the software works but essentially instead of searching for words or phrases words are assigned numerical weight and context. It’s much more complicated than that, I really wish this article were online, as I cannot adequately describe how it works.


ePrecis was written about in a post on ZDNet ePrecis - next generation search and at Online Marketing Blog, ePrecis an impressive search tool.


A group of Minnesota investors at a local incubator ZH Computer own ePrecis. According to the article ZH Computer is in discussions with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and West Publishing to work on licensing agreements.


I am going to send this post on to my friends at I started using this instead of Google last week as I have found long word searches are more reliable than on Google. I am curious what my colleagues think.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Released, Good Employment News

Today the Fed released their latest Beige Book. Last time I did one of these posts I was asked what the Beige Book is. My response was the latest report on local and national economic activity.


For a more academic definition, try this:

The Beige Book is released two weeks prior to each FOMC meeting eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key businessmen, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by district and sector.


From the 9th District-Minneapolis Summary:

The Ninth District economy grew at a solid pace since the last report. Increases in activity were noted in consumer spending, manufacturing, tourism, mining, agriculture, construction, and commercial real estate. Meanwhile, residential real estate softened. Overall employment levels and wages increased modestly. Significant price increases were noted in gasoline and some construction materials.


On Employment, Wages and Prices:

Overall employment levels increased modestly since the last report. According to a survey of Minneapolis-St. Paul companies by a temporary staffing agency, 29 percent of respondents expect to increase staffing levels during the second quarter, while 9 percent expect decreases. Montana bank directors reported tight labor market conditions in many areas. March initial claims for unemployment insurance were flat from a year ago in Minnesota.


From the National Summary:

Reports from all twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to expand in March and the first half of April. Three Districts--Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco--characterize growth as "solid," while a number of others describe the rate of economic activity as "modest," "moderate," or "steady." Richmond notes a quicker pace of growth, and Dallas indicates that activity continued to strengthen. By contrast, New York says the rate of growth may have slipped a bit since the last report.


On Prices and Wages:

District reports from Boston, New York, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas say that labor markets are tightening, especially for skilled positions. Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Atlanta indicate that labor markets remain tight in at least some parts of their Districts. Contacts in Atlanta, Richmond, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Dallas state that truck drivers are in short supply. Wages continue to move up, but only a few Districts--New York, Dallas, and Kansas City--mention a pickup in the pace of raises, while Philadelphia cites firms more often paying in the high end of salary ranges. Richmond reports no pickup, but a continuation of "brisk" wage increases in services. Boston says manufacturing wage increases are in the same range as last year, Chicago cites a steady pace of labor cost increases, and Cleveland notes no reports of accumulating wage pressure, while Minneapolis and San Francisco mention moderate overall wage increases.

Cyberstates 2006 Released, High Tech Employment And Exports See Increases

Today the AeA released its 9th annual report Cyberstates 2006: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry. If you are a member the survey costs $95. If not, $195.

Some of the Minnesota highlights:

-Technology products exported 2004, $5.1 billion.

-Technology products exported 2005, $6.1 billion.

-#1 in the Midwest.

-#7 in the U.S.

-2004 high tech jobs, 125,400. An increase of 400.

-Average annual wage, $67,300.

Some of the national highlights:

-U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.6 million in 2005, up by 61,100, or by one percent.

-California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia led the nation in high tech employment in 2004.

-U.S. high-tech exports totaled $199 billion in 2005, up by four percent.

Good news for the national employment numbers as 2002 – 2004 saw declines.