Dissatisfied Customers Become Your Most Vocal Advocates?

In 2009, Ellen Brasse launched coop@home, a grocery shopping app for Coop, a Switzerland-based grocer. After the app took off, Brasse actively began seeking feedback from customers to better meet their needs. Through consistent surveys, Brasse realized that the most loyal customers were those who had voiced a complaint and had their problem resolved, not those who had never had a problem with Coop’s services. Although it may be tempting to ignore customers’ negative feedback, this case study shows that dissatisfied customers provide a means for process improvement and can become a company’s most loyal and vocal advocates.
Quote and emphasis courtesy of the esteemable Dan Walsh (source)

BioCurious Heads to the White House

President Obama is hosting the first ever White House Demo Day, tomorrow August 4th. The focus is around American entrepreneurship, showcasing innovators from all around the country showing off their success and discoveries.

BioCurious is home to amazing innovations in biotechnology. Launched as a hackerspace for biotechnology in Sunnyvale, California in 2010, BioCurious is a complete working laboratory, training center, and meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students.

BioCurious is a membership based lab where anyone can come an learn how to use biotechnology tools, make friends, and even start companies. This new model resulted in some amazing collaborations between people from many different disciplines, similar to how electronics and computer science were opened up to innovation with the launch of personal computers.

Home to Biotech Innovations

Executive Directory Eri Gentry is flying to the White House to show off 5 Community Projects from BioCurious. Community Projects at BioCurious are open to the public and developed by people just like you who come to work at BioCurious:

Real Vegan Cheese: making cheese using synthetic biology. This started as an summer project for the iGEM competition. Members of Counter Culture Labs in Oakland and BioCurious in Sunnyvale collaborate on the project, which has now spun off into its own company. You can learn more about Real Vegan Cheese at realvegancheese.org

3D Bioprinter project – Printing with biological materials. Similar to 3D printing, but using actual living cells. The group is working now to print a living leaf that’s able to to photosynthetisis. The printer is based on the open source Rep-Rap 3D printer.

2015 Bay Area iGEM Team – In 2014, the Bay Area iGEM Team won the “Best Community Labs Project”. Following the success of the Real Vegan Cheese team, this years team is working to create . They are launching a crowd funding campaign in the coming weeks. For more information, sign up for the BioCurious mailing list here.

Plant Bio Project – enabling plant biotechnology in the Bay Area, including discussion on GMO vs non-GMO (genetically modified oragnisms), lab techniques, and working with plants.

Microscope Project – working to build an open-source fluorescence microscope, starting with parts hacked together from a older Illumina DNA Sequencer donated to the project.

Learn More Online:

Tune in: Anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship can watch White House Demo Day live from start to finish at http://wh.gov/demo-day.

There’s 3 ways to learn more about BioCurious:

Learn More About BioCurious: Sign up for email updates about upcoming classes and workshop and announcements from BioCurious here (Email signup form)

Upcoming Classes and Community Projects: See upcoming events and sign up at http://meetup.com/biocurious

Visit BioCurious online at http://biocurious.org

About BioCurious:

BioCurious is a volunteer run, 501c3 non-Profit, started in 2010 by a group of 6 co-founders and $35,319 from Kickstarter. BioCurious believes that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to experiment with friends. Based in Sunnyvale, California, it is the place to be if you are interested in biotechnology:

– a complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment, materials, and co-working space
– a training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety
– a meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students

To learn more, visit http://biocurious.org

BioCurious Cookbook: Ivory Tower Crumble

ivory_tower_crumblePaywalls for academic research, expensive reagents, million dollar DNA sequencers. Modern science is often called an ivory tower, high up in the sky where the secrets to truth lay inaccessible to everyday curiosity.

Today, the ivory tower is beginning to change, with low cost open source biotech equipment, biotech hackerspaces like BioCurious, and more scientists publishing their research in open-access journals like PLOS.

Now, like Godzilla, dash the Ivory Tower with your spoon and put it in your belly.

Read the rest of this entry

Launching a Biotech Lab in a Library

Congrats to Cameron Clarke and everyone involved on launching the first biotech lab within a public library, the La Jolla Library in southern California.

If you’re in SD, check out the meetup group for The Wet Lab.

The Wet Lab at La Jolla Library

The Wet Lab at La Jolla Library

From La Jolla Light: http://www.lajollalight.com/news/2015/apr/22/lj-library-launches-3-d-printing-and-biotech-labs/

Wet Lab director Cameron Clarke said at one time, the equipment used by the La Jolla Library’s biotech lab cost thousands of dollars and was only available to labs and universities. “By putting a Wet Lab in a library, you give the public access to tools they would never have access to,” he said. “But this is not going to be full-blown lab, it’s designed to allow folks to come in and get their feet wet. It’s an exciting opportunity and we are going to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run.”

To introduce the scientific concepts available for exploration in the biotech lab, the Wet Lab will host a monthly workshop for all ages and a monthly lecture for adults. The workshop will be 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 and will demonstrate how scientists extract DNA from living things, in this case, a strawberry. The lecture, called Citizen Science, will be 6 p.m. May 5, and continue the first Tuesday of the month, and focus on biological concepts.

How Do You Create a Makerspace/Hackerspace?

Mirrored from Quora, since they require an account just to read articles.

The first of many classes at BioCurious, in this case making glowing cells with Green Fluorescent Protein!

5 bio-enthusiasts and I co-founded BioCurious, a biotech hackerspace in Sunnyvale, California. Eri Gentry had nurtured an awesome meetup group of 500+ people into biotech over about 2 years, and we felt that no one had lab space but a lot of newbs and experts wanted to experiment.

The best Hackerspaces are created when an existing community needs a physical nexus. Here’s what I think are the 4 core steps of starting a successful hackerspace.

Read the rest of this entry

How My Friend Achieved His Lifelong Dream

This summer I hiked 220 miles over 23 nights on the John Muir Trail. It runs all the way from Yosemite National Park to Mount Whitney near LA. 23 days out in the middle of nowhere.

It was my friend Matt’s dream. He’s a hiker, he’s a backpacker, he’s an Eagle Scout. He sells hiking gear online. He sells boots and backpacks and tents and sleeping bags. And he told me “Tito, my dream is to hike the John Muir Trail. I’ve thought about it for years. I want to make it happen before I go off to school. Before I start a family. Before I start a business. Before I buy a house. I want to make this dream happen now.”

Hiking the John Muir Trail is a big dream. I’ve talked to a lot of people who say “I’m planning to go, once I graduate”, or “That’s on my bucket list, once I retire”. People really want to hike this trail.

But it was never my dream. At all. I had no interest in hiking, hiking gear, spending lots of money to be out in a bunch of trees and dirt. Even spending a weekend outdoors sounds kind of boring.

But I said “yes”. And everything changed.

You know, hiking isn’t boring. On the first day, we’re hitting our first mountain, and we’re climbing up, and lightning is flashing in the background. Matt tells me that “the top of a mountain is the most dangerous place during a lightning storm”. And as we get to the top, I look around for the first time and there’s 3 fires caused by the lightning that are burning up the forest around us. After all the worry with the lightning, it doesn’t even matter! We take a bunch of photos, head down the mountain away from the fires.

I’m not some amazing hiker now. It’s not my true passion. What changed was my perception of how to accomplish my own dreams.

I’ve learned that 60% of American adults have some big amazing dream that they’re thinking about, and they don’t know why they’re not making progress on their dream. They have it clearly defined in their head. They’ve got a plan. But they’re not getting there and they don’t know why. That’s how I felt about my own dreams, about my own sense of accomplishment. How good could I be if I can’t make progress on my dreams?

What I’ve learned is that by helping my friend with his dream, I discovered my own sense of accomplishment, my sense of self, my sense of confidence. I’m even thinking of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a 6 month hike. 6 months, that’s an incredible change for a guy who had no interest in the outdoors.

So help a friend of yours with their dream.

It’s easy. You pull out your iPhone, pull up your Favorites list, and you call the person at the bottom of the list. You say “Hey, what have you always dreamed of doing, but you’ve never done?”.

Maybe it’s a hike. Maybe it’s meeting Taylor Swift. Maybe it’s spending a month in Hong Kong, Paris, or Cairo. You can make a plan and and make it happen in the next year.

And after that year, your friend will have accomplished their dream, and you’ll have this massive self confidence in your abilities, and surprise that your dreams can change. That you can help other people achieve their dreams means you can help yourself accomplish your dreams. So call up your friend and ask them “What have you always dreamed of doing, but you’ve never done?”

How to: Rediscover Books You Abandoned

The book “Invisible Cities” has been sitting on my virtual Kindle bookshelf for months.

This morning, I came across a quote from its author in this amazing video about GPS tracking for trash, and was reminded of my abandoned book.

These days, I prefer listening to books to reading books. So, I went online to see the price of the audio book on Audible. Like most books on Audible, it’s listed as $20 :(

“I feel like a dummy, I don’t want to waste $20. Maybe I’ll make another feeble attempt with the Kindle book”

Redemption! Whisper Sync

Then I noticed this cool service Amazon has where I could buy the Audible book for just $3.95. It’s called WhisperSync.

This is a chance for redemption. “I want to read this book. I haven’t read it in six months. I repent. Give me audio”.

“Give It Another Try”

I imagine an option on my Amazon account where, if I haven’t finished reading a book in 6 months, Amazon automatically gives me a cheap/free copy of it on Whisper Sync. It’s called the “Give It Another Try” program :)

Screenshot 2015-02-26 09.40.04