Tag Archives: Detroit

Looking forward to TEDxDetroit!

The area’s leading creators, catalysts, entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers and doers will gather on Wednesday, October 21st to share what they are most passionate about — positive ideas for the world from Detroit.  For more info, visit: http://www.tedxdetroit.com/

TED is an annual event where the top minds in the world share, connect and inspire. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three subjects that, collectively, shape our future. The event draws CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists and extraordinary speakers including Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

You can view hundreds of other interesting an engaging TEDtalks from extraordinary speakers like Al Gore, Jill Bolte Taylor, Seth Godin, Elizabeth Gilbert and Tony Robbins at TED.com.


Detroit CIO Executive Summit Recap

Whew!  Where to begin?  I spent the day out in Dearborn, MI attending a CIO Executive Summit  organized by Evanta and the CIO Leadership Network and I must admit, I was very impressed.  As the CIO of Billhighway.com I tend to participate in a number of local and national events, conferences, workshops, you name it – but the quality of content today was just superb.

The opening keynote by Ed Ruggero, Former U.S. Army Office, Author and Military Historian re: A Winning Culture: Leadership as Competitive Advantage set the stage for a very productive day.  Mr. Ruggero is a great story teller and excellent speaker – making countless comparisons between the military and IT leadership.  The CIO Leadership Network will be publishing videos of each presentation soon, and I’ll be sure to post a link once its available.

After a short break, Phillip Bertolini, Deputy County Executive & CIO of Oakland County along with L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive had a unique presentation about the “marriage” between the CEO and CIO, which was very well done.  They touched on the typical stages leading up to and into a successful marriage; courting, building trust, communication and partnership.  A couple noteworthy highlights:

  • CEO Vision + CIO Tools = ROI
  • CEO must have some understanding of Technology
  • CIO must have some understanding of Business
  • To gain the trust of the CEO, the CIO must build and delivery dependable, predictable, repeatable strategic technology solutions

At 11am there were several break out sessions, in which I attended “Achieving Higher Performance in your Current Role and How to Successfully Transition into Your Next Role.”  A couple of the takeways I found here were:

  • Have executive/leadership presence (this is something I’ve been hearing alot lately)
  • Be inspirational, captivate, motivate and lead by example
  • Handle touch situations with confidence
  • Build Relationships
  • Enhance Collaboration
  • Integration your Personal Values

Lastly, a couple book recommendations: Why CEOs Fail & What got you here, won’t get you there.

At lunch, Andre Mendes, SVP, Strategic Planning & Global CIO of the Special Olympics International gave a talk on Crisis-Driven Innovation: The Ultimate Change Agent, which I found very uplifting.  Not only is Mr Mendes extremely intelligent, but a great speaker – very TED esq. touching on a broad spectrum of topics, where we’ve been, where we’re going and the speed of change, often unrealized by industry that’s so closely engaged in the day-to-day business affairs.  This will be another great talk to catch online, once it’s available.  A few takeaways here, for a CIO’s to-do list:

  • Build abstraction layers
  • Consolidate – streamline line of business applications, investigate SaaS
  • Virtualize – reduce hardware footprint, increase manageability
  • Co-locate – ping, power, pipe are commodities, leave this to the pro’s
  • Cloud IT – have the applications you want, without any of the headaches

Lastly, Mr. Mendes challenged CIOs to get out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to the unknown and take [managed] risks.  Abstract technology, focus on the business.  Scalability, availability and security all have their place – in the abstraction layer; don’t let them choke innovation.  To me, this means if you’re spending any respectable amount of time here, GET OUT OF THE WEEDS – you, as the CIO are not allowing your business to realize the value of your role.  Oh yea, and don’t be a “NO” man, as we get older and more experienced, it’s natural to become complacent – not embracing “change”, however if/when opportunities get presented to improve X, you might be better served by giving it a try.

The day closed out for me with a session about eight simple rules for Survival, by Greg Schwem, president of Comedy with a Byte who was very entertaining, keeping things on the lighter side and some pointing out some (often overlooked) examples of Do’s & Don’ts.  Closing keynote was by Kevin Summers, Corporate VP & Global CIO of Whirlpool Corporation who shared some rare insight into the operational aspects of overhauling a nearly 100 year old, multinational organization.  His 10 Transformational best-practices were:

  1. Create a strategic roadmap
  2. Implement a formal change management program (and team)
  3. Adopt (and standardize) an Enterprise Architecture early
  4. Invest time/energy into Value Chain Integration (it works)
  5. Align vision/strategy with business partners
  6. Leverage strategic partners (reduce key vendors where possible)
  7. Manage IT like a business
  8. Talent management is key (yet more about Top-Grading, if you’re not familiar with it, take time to read up!)
  9. Ensure stable operational practices exist
  10. Markets (and opportunities) will return – so be ready!

That about summarizes it, overall GREAT day, packed with invaluable content, excellent speakers and thought-provoking subjects.  I literally took pages of notes, but this should suffice for those that couldn’t make it.  If you get the opportunity to attend this event next year, or in another city, I highly recommend it!  For more information visit: http://www.bycios.com/

TiECon 2009

What is TiE Midwest 20?

TiE Midwest 20 is a new program at the TiECon Midwest annual conference. TiE Midwest 20 acknowledges excellence among 20 startups within five industry tracks including Software, Wireless, Cleantech, media, Life Sciences. TiE Midwest 20

TiECon Midwest 2009 is an entrepreneurial conference , attracting Hundreds of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other professionals. TiECon Midwest has been running from 2008 in Detroit with well known keynote speakers. This year TiECon Midwest is being held on Oct 23-24, 2009 at The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn.

Selection process:
TiE Midwest 20 finalists will be selected by a combination of public opinion polls and an experienced panel of industry judges. Last date for Nominations Sep 21th 2009.

The Benefits:
TiE Midwest 20 winners will be honored with awards of excellence in front of hundreds of entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists and other professionals at TiECon Midwest 2009. Additionally, the TiE Midwest 20 winners will get special invitations to PowerConnect premium networking sessions at TiECon and will be part of ongoing recognition from TiE Detroit throughout the year.

2009 Detroit CIO Executive Summit

September 10, 2009 | The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn

The CIO Executive Summit is driven by a Governing Body of leading CIOs who play a vital role in the development of this conference. These CIOs create an agenda that addresses today’s opportunities and challenges faced by their peers, thus delivering on the event promise: “by CIOs, for CIOsSM.”

The CIO Executive Summit also enhances the power and reach of your professional relationships by providing a seat at the table with hundreds of other IT leaders.

Nationally recognized as the most respected IT Leadership conference in North America, the conference is without question, the networking event of the year for CIOs.


The 2009 Detroit CIO Executive Summit is a private conference designed by CIOs, for CIOs. Attendance is by invitation only. All qualified registrants will be considered and will be granted confirmation based upon qualifications and space availability. Access to the conference is open to individuals that meet the following criteria:

Enterprise Corporations:
  • CIOs, VPs of IT and Direct Reports from $1B+ organizations
  • CIOs & Direct Reports from $500M-$1B organizations
  • CIOs (or equivalent) from $250-$500M organizations
Government, Education and Not-for-Profit Organizations:
  • CIOs (or equivalent) of agencies or organizations with greater than 1,000 employees
Information Technology Corporations:
  • CIOs (or equivalent) from $1B+ organizations

More information can be found here: http://www.bycios.com/event_cio_es/agenda/id/119

Eminem’s Letter to Detroit

This originally aired on CBS in Detroit, back in April 2009 when the Final Four was in Detroit.  A lot of people never saw it and thought I’d share..

Office Relocation Part 1: Planning the move

Below is the first part in a multi-post series surrounding a typical Office Relocation.  To read the introduction to this series or to view links of other sections, please click here.

For many companies the cost of leasing office space is typically one of the companies highest expense items – second to only the cost of salaries and wages – its important to be sure that both the move and the timing of the move are right for your company.  Briefly, the relocation process contains:

  • Establishing a relocation team to coordinate the move. This may also include an advisory team consisting of real estate and relocation professionals, a commercial real estate agent and real estate attorney.
  • Determining your needs.  How much space do you require?  What type of building fits your business?  What is your preferred geographic location?  Do you need to be located near restaurants, hotels and/or public transportation?  Lastly, you’ll need to prepare a budget.
  • Identify potential properties. Obtain a list of available properties from your commercial real estate agent.  Narrow the list by excluding properties that are unsuitable.  Schedule a tour of the remaining facilities.  Determine which locations could be appropriate for your business.
  • Prepare a preliminary space plan. With the help of a space planner or architect, determine the most efficient use of space at your two or three top building choices.  For construction cost estimates, establish a general type and amount of changes required.
  • Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP).  Your commercial real estate agent will prepare and distribute an RFP to the landlords of your top building choices.  Based upon response, determine which space would be the best alternative for your business.  Once determined, your real estate agent will submit a letter of intent to the landlord outlining the terms you intend the lease to be based upon.
  • Finalize space plan. Get input from departmental representatives and have a formal blueprint created to represent your new space should remodeling/construction be necessary.
  • Negotiate the terms of your lease. Once a lease is obtained and reviewed by decision-maker(s) from your company, get input from your real estate agent and attorney.  Renegotiate and/or accept lease terms.

Now, having conceptualized the process, you’ll need to dive a bit deeper into the details required for planning your move.

  1. Identify dedicated resources. This should include a relocation coordinator and departmental representation.  Each participant should understand occasional evening and weekend work may be necessary.  The team should also plan to attend weekly progress meetings, once details begin to materialize.
  2. Develop an advisory team:
      ->Commercial Real Estate Agent/Broker:
      Choose someone experienced in lease negotations and specialized in similar types of space (e.g. office, industrial, retail, etc.). Understand how he/she finds available space. Ask how this person will get paid for providing services. Also ask for 2 or 3 references of similar clients.
      ->Real Estate Attorney:
      He/she should help in determining rights of both parties and understanding the significance of all lease terms. Should also recognize and leverage the goals of the business with those of the landlord.
      ->Architect/Space Planner:
      Relocation is an excellent opportunity to design a more efficient working environment. This person can help in determining the correct amount of space required, taking into consideration current/future employees and growth expectations.
      ->Furniture Consultant:
      If buying new furniture, bring a furniture vendor into the process to help with the type of configuration of workstations and individual office furniture. Design services are typically offered at no charge to you, depending on the type of and quantity of furniture ordered.
      ->IT Consultant:
      This is crucial in helping to design and setup telephone/data services, esp. if you are planning to move significant existing equipment. Key considerations include building ample capacity for phone/data networks with appropriate access points throughout the new office. This resource may also be helpful in coordinating external vendors, such as utility providers, ISPs, phone companies, etc. and renegotiate contracts.
  3. Determine the budget. Consider the costs of professional advisory fees, hiring a moving company, relocating your equipment and computer network, replacing office furniture and printing costs for new business cards, stationary and other printed material, including relocation announcements for customers.
  4. Establish a Time Line. A typical move can take anywhere from six to 12 months of planning.  In general, your facility selection and lease review process will take the longest amount of time.  It’s important to continue working through other facets of the move, choosing a moving company, researching furniture options and office equipment during the facility selection process.
  5. Key Considerations
      Evaluate the feasibility of renewing your current lease before making decisions to relocate. If you choose to move, interview several commercial real estate agents. Be sure to check references as well as companies/properties they represent. Establish a moving date well in advance, ideally in less busy period of the business to ensure ample time for the relocation process.
  6. Action Steps
      10-12 months prior to the move you should: Appoint a relocation coordinator, interview and select a commercial real estate agent, engage services of a real estate attorney, select the rest of your advisory team including an architect or space planner as well as furniture and IT consultants. Next develop your relocation budget, including estimates for professional services, moving expenses and the cost of new furnishings and equipment. Lastly, schedule the prospective moving day, knowing that this may be a moving target until the office space selection and other factors are determined.

Next, we’ll dive into part 2, creating your ideal office environment.

E2Detroit – Oct 8th

E2 is an information-packed event, designed to inspire and offer pragmatic assistance to small business leaders and entrepreneurs. It will take place on October 8th, at Wayne State University, in downtown Detroit.

In addition to provocative keynotes by David Brandon, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, and Mary Ellen Sheets, Founder and CEO of Two Men and A Truck, some of the day’s practical and educational workshops will focus on:

  • Michigan Resources: Familiarize and Utilize to Maximize…The Success of Your Business
  • The CEO Skillset: Taking It to the Next Level
  • The Legal Expert: Protecting Your Business and Its Intellectual Property
  • The Art of Sourcing Capital: The Do’s and Don’ts
  • and many more!

Of the 756,487 Michigan businesses cataloged by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 89% can be classified as “small business” (self-employed people, limited partnerships, and companies with less than 10 employees). Michigan’s economic health and well-being is, therefore, vitally dependent on the success of this extremely important segment. This has propelled the E2detroit 2008 team (organizers, sponsors, speakers and executive faculty) to dedicate themselves to the revitalization of Michigan’s economy through strengthening entrepreneurship.

In today’s competitive environment, success comes from being extraordinary.
Click Here to Register Now!