ASU Education Innovation Summit

April 13, 2013
For those of my friends interested in education, the 4th annual ASU Education Innovation Summit is a tremendous event.  Forbes magazine has called it "the can't miss education innovation event".  

GSV Advisors have done an excellent job collaborating with Arizona State University.  As an ASU alum, I am very pleased to see the good that is resulting from this summit.  Give Michael Crow credit for finding new ways to collaborate and to inspire new approaches by industry leaders to address the problems of education at all levels.

This years event is larger than ever.   The focus continues to be on disruptions caused by education technology. 

Though disruptive technology is exciting,  new financing models - such as charter school movement is also a main theme.   Interestingly - the conference continues to lack participants who finance education.  The sources of funding - are primarily the government - and as an example the discussion of potential disruptions to the federal government financing of higher education.   

Pipeline issues are also a key topic, but through put - graduation rates and addressing career readiness of college graduates appears to be a short-coming or in another way - an opportunity for future entrepreneurs.

The conference reminds me of the quote - "You can't read the label when you are sitting inside the jar" - insiders seldom innovate or disrupt the jar.   What surrounds the jar at the moment is financing of education and job-matching / skill matching post the education systems.  Great opportunities for some new thinking.


In the Arena - Start-Up Life

November 20, 2012
This is an excellent article for anyone interested in some insights into the grit required to build a high potential venture.   This article by Entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist - Mark Suster from GRP Partners is excellent. 

It reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt's quote - about “The Man in the Arena” tells us that the man we should praise is the man who’s out there fighting the big battles, even if those battles end in defeat. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are conside...
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No Fear

September 4, 2012
This is a wonderful message by an outstanding person and entrepreneur - Michael Lazerow - the cofounder of BuddyMedia.   I met Michael through his efforts to build UWire - which became to the college media market what the Associated Press to national journalists.  He has always been modest, funny and inspirational.  He is also brilliant and this video shows that he filled with gratitude and a mindset that sets him a part.

According to Mashable...

"Buddy Media is not a brand most consumers wo...

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Back to College - Changing Mindsets

August 21, 2012
Seasons are important milestones in our lives.   Back to school is one of those seasons that I find useful to consider how things in the world are changing.  It is easy to consider that the grad students who taught classes 20 years ago are now being replaced by online courses taught by professors.  Is it better or worse - probably hard to tell. 

What is different is the mindset and insights of the students who arrive in any class.

A brief article in Inside Higher Ed by

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Useful tips and insights for angel investing by Dave Balter

July 14, 2012

My friend and fellow entrepreneur- Dave Balter wrote the following post that I highly recommend to anyone considering an angel investment.  I was an angel investor in BzzAgent which is Dave Balter’s first company.  Dave and I have also co-invested in TheBump and continue to consider early stage ventures.  I have great respect for Dave’s entrepreneurial insight and instincts. So I highly recommend the article he wrote below.

The article appeared on Dharmesh Shahs websi...

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About Me

John Fees John Fees is an entrepreneur, strategic marketing executive and business leader in the fields of affinity, collegiate and partnership marketing. During the course of his career, John has founded and led successful companies specializing in strategic marketing and media, affinity, partnership marketing and financial services. Currently, he serves as the co-founder & managing director of NGI Group. NGI Group is a large shareholder in portfolio companies including GradGuard, MassDrive & MyLifeProtected.