The various musings of Michael Hiles

Five Pillars of Economic Development


The term “Smart Cities” seems to be all the rage these days. Whether it’s a buzzword or not remains to be seen. However, there does seem to be an awful lot of new interest in technology applications to civil and social models. I spent a lot of time in GovTech in the past, so it’s…

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DANGER! Avoid these two destructive approaches to your marketing

Through the years, I’ve worked with a lot of clients. All of them were trying to figure out the magic bullet solution to market and sell. Two common themes can be found in almost every business marketing organization that drive the overall efforts. Both of these themes are big problems, and in the modern era…

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Founder Institute Cincinnati Fall 2016 semester enters final phase

We’re almost finished with our first Founder Institute Cincinnati semester, we’re going to be graduating eight new companies and nine founders into the StartupCincy ecosystem. There are only two sessions left with the founders having a January 11 deadline for legal. We’ll be finishing up on January 18, 2017, and things can’t possibly be better.

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Stages of Startup Business Operations


This is a particularly challenging issue for founding teams. Especially when it’s a single founder who is trying to sell and keep revenue coming into the front door.

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Teams & Accountability

People who don’t understand the incremental work breakdown structure of complex tasks and roles should never be responsible for committing to the delivery date. This is one of the classic flash points of war between sales and engineering.

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Catalyst 2016 – Dayton Ohio’s startup and innovation showcase

The Dayton, Ohio, startup community held their 2016 Catalyst event this morning. It was a great event featuring several of the showcase presentations of new technologies and startups coming out of the Dayton area. I attended the event with my friends from Ascend Innovations, who were also very much a part of the event. Candace…

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Are you a leader? Or just a manager?


In World War II, Dwight Eisenhower trained his generals by piling a chain up on a table. He asked the generals, “If I push this chain, which way will it go?” The generals would jabber among themselves, debating and offering a bunch of different answers. The true answer, of course, is that nobody really knows…

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Why am I an entrepreneur?

Why, in the face of such the statistically losing proposition, would someone want to start a company? And furthermore, why would they want to do it to themselves over and over again? Am I some kind of sado-masochist, thriving on self-inflicted pain? As I sit and ponder the answers I come up with a few…

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What the heck is Keiretsu Forum?

This morning was the Keiretsu Forum Midwest meeting in Cincinnati. Keiretsu Forum is a global angel investor network that syndicates venture investing in solid Series A rounds for emerging startups who have gained some traction. Sotiris Pagdadis is the director of Keiretsu Forum Midwest. Aside from being one heck of a nice guy, he’s also…

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First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Derek Sivers was the founder of CD Baby. For those who don’t remember, for about 20 years, CDs were the preferred method of packaging and distributing music. Derek wanted to make it easier for artists to sell their CDs direct to their audiences. Then he sold the company. As impressive as that was, I believe…

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