The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

SUCCESS Contest Trip: Sharing the Journey (Take 1)

My trip to NYC to visit JJ Ramberg, the host of MSNBC’s new small business show “Your Business,” started early Wednesday morning with a quick workout at fellow entrepreneur Amanda Coe’s Exercise Coach (the founders at Exercise Coach created the twice per week program for busy professionals). After getting my heart rate up a bit, I rushed home to catch my 7:15 a.m. cab to the airport.

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Spotlight on Indiegogo

For those of you oblivious to the concept of crowd funding, it is steadily growing as a model of financing small businesses and other endeavours. Indiegogo as a crowdfunding website makes use of social networking platforms to give easy accessibility to a vast pool of investors who typically put up small amounts into projects that appeal to them. According to Slava Rubin, who co-founded Indiegogo with Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell in 2008, one does not need a ‘right’ time or detailed business plan to pursue something one is deeply passionate about. The website has given various ventures – including films, charities, businesses and recordings – a means to raise money and attract potential customers from a global audience.

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Learning From Facebook

Everyone knows who Mark Zuckerberg is; the billionaire entrepreneur who started Facebook, one of the most visited sites on the internet. He is an inspiration to entrepreneurs’ world over looking to launch the ‘next big thing’, a regular Joe who started with nothing and got everything. Well, I guess that’s not completely true. He did get everything but to say he started with nothing is far from the truth. Anyone who keeps abreast with the news or saw David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ knows that he had more than a little help to say the least.
In late 2003 Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, students of Harvard, approached Mark for fixing and adding the finishing touches to their website HarvardConnection, a social network for Harvard students. Mark was given the private server location and password of the unfinished website and codes without any formal contract. Within a week, Mark decided to create his own social networking site and pretended to be working on the HarvardConnection project while working on He willfully lead the twins on so that he could finish his own project while preventing them from getting a new programmer from finishing HarvardConnection. Eventually he launched his own website and it was days before the HarvardConnection team knew what had happened and were left with an unfinished website with a competitor already in the market. 

If the Winklevoss twins and Divya had taken Traklight’s ID your IP risk quiz, history would have had a different story to tell. By taking out half an hour of their time they could’ve been making millions of dollars more than they got in their settlement. The one big mistake they made was discuss a potentially groundbreaking idea openly without having an independent contractor sign any sort of non-disclosure agreement or formal letter of employment with an anti-competition clause, a fact that would have been pointed out by Traklight’s Report. 

Mark Zuckerberg was already known to copy ideas; his popular Facemash was a duplication of the ‘Hot or Not’ website. Without any formalized agreement the courts held that their conversation amounted to no more than ‘dorm room chit chat’. The unfinished coding of HarvardConnection was not considered proprietary information by the Twins and Divya and if they had protected them as trade secrets then Mark could not have used the same coding in his social networking site thefacebook. 

In essence the two competing sites were different but had the same target audience and Mark’s willful delay on the HarvardConnection project could have been prevented. If he had been bound contractually, then he would not have been able to string them along as he would not have been able to work on a competing project at the same time. After stepping down from his post as web developer for the Twins, Mark would not be able to delay them any further. They would have managed to get their own developer on the project and since it was already near completion, have a head start on Mark’s 
People tend to underestimate the value of a good idea and the Facebook story is a cautionary tale for all aspiring entrepreneurs. Taking out the time and effort to identify and protect your intellectual property at the beginning of an enterprise is a lot better than regretting not having done so while buying a product you created with someone else’s name on it.
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On Our Way to Big!

Last week I wrote a post about the launch of our new website and noted that it takes a village; the extended team. Today, we’re featured in Success magazine as the winner of the Start Small Win Big contest and again I want to thank the village! With over 2,000 entries in the contest, it needs more than just one person to grow a business and compete with such companies. It took our village to help take us from a small team of just me to where we are today.

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Learning How to Protect your Intellectual Property From Facebook

Everyone knows who Mark Zuckerberg is; the billionaire entrepreneur who started Facebook, one of the most visited sites on the Internet. He is an inspiration to entrepreneurs all over the world who are looking to launch the next big thing, a regular Joe who started with nothing and got everything. Well, I guess that’s not completely true. He did get everything, but to say he started with nothing is far from the truth.

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Holy cow we WON!

Funny how earlier this morning I was laying in bed thinking to myself maybe I won’t work today. I spent all of last night counting my heart beats/minute as I lay in bed willing myself to sleep, hoping this sudden surge in pulse due to typical entrepreneurial issues would subside. I woke up in one of those CEO-lows that happen from time to time. Maybe even feeling a hair defeated. It lasted only through my first cup of coffee which was enough to energize me into reality- We can do this.
I dragged myself to the office and was reviewing the latest website revisions when I heard an email pop in… I began scanning it like any other email when I realized what I was reading- Traklight just won Success Magazine’s Start Small Win Big national contest!!! Out of thousands of entrants we were selected. The words, “your business really impressed our judging team” jump off the screen. Not only will our story be featured in the August issue, but I will get an opportunity to sit down with JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s weekend business program Your Business, and Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine, face to face in New York City. It’s an amazing victory timed just right.

We want to thank you for your support of Traklight, our tools, resources & team. It’s your belief in us that keeps us going to the next victory as we continue our journey to empower Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners & Inventors about Intellectual Property worldwide.

To read our Success Magazine Submission: Success Start Small Win Big
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Success Magazine's 'Start Small, Win Big' Names Traklight A Finalist

For eight weeks, from January to March, approximately 2,000 SUCCESS readers challenged themselves and their small businesses by participating in the 2nd annual Start Small Win Big contest. In April they submitted their results to the judging panel of SUCCESS editors and small-business expert JJ Ramberg, who hosts MSNBC’s Your Business, a weekly show devoted to small-business issues. Now, it’s complete. The judges have handpicked five finalists who are moving one step closer to the grand prize and making their small business go big.

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