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Put on your best dressed foolishness & come out to play!

No candy, no cards, no dinner or presents, hell there aren’t even any cards.   As I was shopping for thank you cards this weekend, navigating between Passover, Easter and Mother’s Day cards, I realized there aren’t any April Fool’s Day cards. Am I wrong here, or is April Fools Day (a holiday that stems back thousands of years to the celebration of the true new year) the only under exploited holiday of the year?! april fools day We spend more commercial attention on Sweetest Day and National Pencil Day (March 30) than we do on the spring time celebration of the true new year.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a fan of over commercialization.  I think the two month preview that every grocery, convenient and department store gives to the next best holiday before the last one even ends has really run its course.  I believe some of us have actually forgotten the turn of natures season and judge the time of year by whether its the 4rth of July, Halloween, Thanks Giving, Chrismas, New Year, Valentines Day, St. Patty’s Day, Easter, Mothers Day or 4rth of July chatchkas stocked on the store shelves. I just can’t believe some marketer hasn’t identified the looming vacuum and assumed the responsibility to make it there own.

So not one to miss a great opportunity, I’ve decided to make it my own.  Frankly, I believe April Fools Day has gotten a bad rap.  It’s considered an after thought, pranksters holiday left for most of us to completely forget about it until becoming the unwitting victim of a cruel joke.  I advocate we change that and harken back to the original roots of pagans celebrating the spring equinox, ending the death of the old year (winter) and welcoming the birth of a new year (spring).

Seriously, April 1st is a day to put on your best dressed foolishness on and come out to play.  Something made all the more sweet by its virtual neglect by popular attention.  Its the spring time combination of Halloween, Mardi Gras and New Year rolled into the one time of year you can throw caution to the wind and behave complete and utterly foolish.  April Fool’s is a carefree embrace of the infinite potential the new year holds.  Its a creators holiday, a chance to try something new with total permission to fail and at worst appear a fool on a day dedicated to it.  It is a national holiday for entrepreneurs and risk takers.  It’s the essence of being able to do whatever out of this world thing your mind and motivation can come up with and have total permission to have fun, make fun and be a fool.

Join me in embracing the natural start to the new year and celebrating the only unexploited Hallmark holiday of the year.  Enjoy the jokes and pranks, take a chance, create something, act foolish with no fear because today is the day of new beginnings and challenging the limits of popular expectations.

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Getting ready for the CAS conference this week

Attending the Complex Adaptive Systems conference put on by Missouri University of Science & Technology together with Lockheed Martin this week in Dulles, VA http://complexsystems.mst.edu/

Friday’s grand finale will be a panel I moderate from the FBI, Boeing & Tata discussing big data and its impacts.  http://complexsystems.mst.edu/conferencepanelmembers/

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From the chief scientist at Intel on complexity

http://wethedata.org

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Cyber Center Innovation

I submitted an application for the “Pitch Your Idea” contest being hosted by CreateWV this weekend on Saturday, October 27, 2012.  I was selected to pitch in the semi finals which are open to the public beginning at 1:30.  There is a dinner following at 5:30 where they will announce the winner.  The winner’s pitch will get funding to create their idea.

Please come out for a great time to support a great cause.  The more people the better in person and online (tweet, blog or resend it to a friend!).  Go to  www.createwv.wildapricot.org to register for the dinner.

Here’s my Pitch!

Creating a West Virginia Cyber Center Club delivers an innovative space in thought, time and place that would enable young, curious minds to explore technology, its principles and applications, through hands on, professionally lead experiences.

  • WVCCC will combine students with skilled specialists and access to advanced equipment to learn the extent of technology’s possibilities in an experimental atmosphere.
    • Students will be able to investigate many types of technology including electronics, programming in a variety of languages, defending a network, web design and multimedia applications among others. They will have the opportunity to compete in activities based upon their interests, which can include anything from music and fashion to entertainment and gaming.
  • WVCCC activities will enable career awareness highlighting the importance of technology in a developing world.
    • Students will learn about technology through hands-on experience. They will gain real-world experience by directly interacting with professionals in the fields of technology, business and media.
  • WVCCC will help foster opportunities for networking and development through job shadowing and co-opting.

Students will learn how technology impacts their interests and future careers, part of a key initiative for developing West Virginia’s future workforce.

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Innovate, Create & Commercialize

Gregory J. Kaple

Startup Artist

GAK3

Greg Kaple is an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant known for innovating business models and solution delivery platforms for complex professional, technology and services organizations.  His expertise incorporates the discipline of process engineering and technology management with the empathy of social engineering and communications alignment.  Kaple is one of the State of Appalachia’s most dynamic forces leading a vision to transform the Appalachian region into the new global leader for workforce competitiveness and innovative economic development.

As a startup founder, Kaple has repeatedly succeeded at growing ventures like project management software platform TeamDynamix, mens’ barbershop franchise Kennedy’s All American, professional services provider Integrated Management Services (IMS) and new media for the new masses production company Nvision Performance Solutions.

As a strategy consultant, Kaple has consulted with hundreds of companies, including global leaders like Tiffany & Co, Time Warner, New York Presbyterian Hospital, AIG, LexisNexis, White & Case and WilmerHale and others.  This work has included improving shared service delivery models for infrastructure and risk management, redesigning business operations through insourcing and on-shoring and leading transformational change in organizational cultures and business development.

Kaple has developed a well-regarded methodology for innovation, alignment, creation and commercialization, which he has used repeatedly in different business environments and across a variety of market segments. He is the author of a professional blog reflecting his personal passions, initiatives and experiences, www.Kaple.wordpress.com.  His contributions include research on technology models for managing operational risk within information technology systems, managing multi-sided market platforms and generating value driven business models for service delivery.

Kaple is a founding participant in the Ohio University Ralph & Luci Schey Sales Centre and is a passionate supporter of investing in education and enabling the future of America’s competitiveness through programs that give back.  He’s been a governing member of several University programs for sales and entrepreneurship with West Virginia University, University of Dayton and Ohio University where he recently created a breakthrough class on Entrepreneurial Sales.

Kaple has a Masters Degree of Science in Telecommunications Management from Stevens Institute of Technology and a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Ohio University. He currently resides in Parkersburg, WV at the center of the Great Ohio Valley with his wife, Stephanie, two young daughters, Charlotte Rae & Grace Ann and their two North American Appalachian mountain dogs, Rally & Ryder.

 

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Ohio University Schey Sales Centre

Coach & Candidate Portfolio Competition

Championship

Winner:  Chelsea Kovak   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSLOzZLECf0

Amy Stafford                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWQC0-xpIYk

Final Four

Amy Stafford

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmnkyS3oq6I

Chelsea Kovak

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjTBV4qrth0&feature=youtu.be

Chanel Glenn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JGzbNOiLBo&feature=related

Rebecca Koch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUdLlpIgqu8&feature=youtu.be

2012 Candidate Portfolio Competition, Round One!

http://aspnet.cob.ohio.edu/isms/cobcontent.aspx?5155

Coach & Candidate Program Overview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5IFbLoBBvY

“More than Kaple-able” Award Winners

  • 2012 Chelsea Kovak
  • 2011 Chad Supers
  • 2010 Greg Silverman
  • 2009 Brian Yutzy
  • 2008 Meryl Smith*
  • 2007 Brad Hirsch
  • 2006 Chris Knapik
* First year of the portfolio competition

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There’s a Cowboy in the Jungle

I felt a little bit like that Jimmy Buffet song when I landed in the Big Apple in 1998.  The Dot.com Boom was on but after 4 years doing technology consulting at OU culminating in an internship with Microsoft to launch Project ’98, I was turned off by tech and interested in broadening my horizons.  Pricewaterhouse’s Financial Advisory Services group in New York City seemed to be a great place to begin.  By the time I started the firm had become PricewaterhouseCoopers and the market for bankruptcy and turnaround wasn’t exactly poppin.  I did learn a lot from my time with PwC, mostly about attention to detail, valuation analysis and how to work long hours for free meals, but after one particularly long 48 hour day, I realized it was time to go back to my original calling in technology sales.

A friend of mine from OU was working at AT&T in Florida and got my resume into the HR manager in NYC.  After a raucous, blue collar interview experience, it was obvious results mattered, not hours logged or ivy league politicking, and I knew this was the home for me.  No bones about it, selling is hard and in the competitive landscape after the Telecom Deregulation Act of 1996, AT&T’s years of monopoly control made it an easy target for startups to offer customers a choice.  After a young lifetime of success, I’d personally never experienced so much failure.  I was hearing “no” so much I even resorted to listening to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” just to help figure out what I was doing wrong.  I stuck to it though, through big white whale losses and constantly changing quotas.  I invested myself into the technology sales profession and my clients’ best interests quickly learning to be an engineer as much as a therapist building relationships based on long term commitments.  By 2001 my luck had started to turn with my first big sale of an new fiber installation for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and by my third year I was literally hitting the numbers out of the park as my branch nominated to send me to the company’s annual President’s conference of top sales people.  Little did I know that one of the deals from that successful year would introduce me to my future business partner, John Haselmann, and future IMS client, Ken Levonaitis.

To that point, I wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines watching the entrepreneurial hey day unfold.  The explosive power of the Internet was at hand and together with several partners from my OU days, I launched a new venture, TeamDynamix, to be one of the earliest online portals for project management and team collaboration.  I continued on full time with AT&T while my partners dedicated themselves to growing the venture.  Today the company has a ten year track record of success and just recently graduated from the Ohio State University business incubator.  I was also thinking long term about my educational objectives and after moving to Hoboken in 2002 began my Masters Degree in Telecommunications Management with the Stevens Institute of Technology.  In total I spent five great years selling for AT&T finally ending my career there as a Global Account Executive covering Ernst & Young before making the decision to take the plunge and follow my true serial startup destiny!!

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