Alpharetta-based Abel Solutions selected for SharePoint deployment

Abel Solutions selected for SharePoint deployment.

Further spotlight on the growing technology eco-system in the GA400 corridor: Alpharetta-based Abel Solutions, a consulting firm focusing on the SharePoint platform, announced they are managing the planning, deployment and migration for Bank of the Ozarks’ accelerated SharePoint 2010 installation.

When complete, the customized SharePoint solution will provide business intelligence, facilitate process workflows, and enhance communication and collaboration across the Bank of Ozarks’ seven-state branch network.

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Maybe it’s time to rethink how we fund broadband — Broadband News and Analysis

Maybe it’s time to rethink how we fund broadband — Broadband News and Analysis.

This is innovation that makes sense. We need to look at creative ways such as this to extend our infrastructure (such as broadband) while not falling victim to either blind privatization (which so often does not work, due to the inability to effectively balance profit and public benefit) or to creating unsustainable, ballooning public debt.

Who truly speaks for small businesses? | The Great Debate

Who truly speaks for small businesses? | The Great Debate.

The author of this article takes the rather partisan stand that the actions of the National Federation of Independent Business (“NFIB”) are really serving as shill for the Republican Party (a premise that the article does not document in any kind of satisfactory way). Nevertheless, this does raise an interesting question regarding advocacy groups: Whose interests are they truly serving?

A key example of this confusion and line-blurring can be found in the lead up to the 2011 changes in Georgia’s laws dealing with non-compete agreements. During this process, a number of very well established business advocacy organizations claimed to be advocating for the proposed changes on behalf of Georgia’s small businesses. This despite the fact that the changes to the law, as written, were and are demonstrably disadvantageous to small and medium sized businesses who often lack the resources to engage in repeated litigation over the enforceability of non-compete provisions in employment agreements. (The revised statute virtually guarantees a glut of these suits by permitting Court’s to completely re-write otherwise unenforceable agreements, effectively eliminating predictable results in conflicts over the enforceability of non-compete agreements in Georgia.) What was not clear on the surface was that the funding for the campaigns favoring this legislation was largely from large corporations. The mantle of grass-roots, small business support made for much better P.R.

While the situation above is only one small example, the lack of transparency in groups of all stripes alleging to represent this constituency or that constituency ill serves our political process and makes it difficult for meaningful discussion and debate on important economic and political topics to occur.

It is past time for us, as country, to raise the curtain on political advocacy (and especially campaign contributions), and let sunlight in. Free speech guarantees the right to participate in the freely in the political process. It does not, however, entitle entities to participate deceptively. Knowing who is truly supporting (and funding) political initiatives tells us much about whose interests are truly being served. IT allows us to make rational, informed decisions.

Transparency is the lifeblood of an effective and fair political process. Let us strive to ensure that remains part of ours.

The Growing Gulf Between Silicon Valley and the “Non-Valley”

Traversing the Valley — Tech News and Analysis.

This article does a nice job of highlighting the fundamental ridiculousness of the snobbish divide between Silicon Valley and extra-Valley corporate world. In fact, without stating it outright, it highlights not just the gap between the Valley and corporate world, it more highlights the gap between the Valley and the not-Valley.

The ever increasing gap between Silicon Valley and the rest of the innovation economy does not serve either side of the gap well. The Valley is in danger of succumbing to the hubris and tunnel vision of world so singularly focused on itself. The non-Valley innovation economy suffers from a clear  inferiority complex which runs the risk of creating an instinctive oppositional reaction to innovations coming out of the valley in terms of business methods, corporate structures, and other such business-centric, non-technical innovations.

Hopefully, both sides of the divide will recognize the disservice that they are doing both to each-other and to themselves. While a utterly homogenous business environment is neither possible nor desirable, the willingness to teach and to learn symbiotically will only benefit the innovation economy as a whole.

The maker movement starts to attract venture capitalists’ interest | VentureBeat

The maker movement starts to attract venture capitalists’ interest | VentureBeat.

It’s a small start, but some forward think VCs are starting to move past the “no hardware investments” mindset.

Granted, Foundry Group, who is discussed in the article is not interested in classic, straight hardware companies, but is, instead, looking at companies that deal in human-computer interaction. Still, this is a move in the right (and interesting) direction.

Also, the fact that they are looking at Maker Faire shows that this is not your (very young) grandmother’s VC.

I’m hoping to see evidence that this outside the box mentality is starting to push VCs away from their curent same-old/same-old mentality and into some of the really interesting innovation that is taking place (but getting little funding attention).

Crowdfunding via customers is the new startup capital — Tech News and Analysis

Crowdfunding via customers is the new startup capital — Tech News and Analysis.

This is interesting direction in which to take Crowdfunding. Funding by customers (or want-to-be customers, as the case may be) certainly makes a great deal of logical sense. For an intrinsically interesting product, who could represent a more motivated investor base than those who REALLY want to buy the product?

Furthermore, arguably, for ideas with potential legs, the pool of potential investors (and correspondingly, investor dollars) can be much larger than the typical investment-for-investment’s-sake pool.

Certainly the anecdotal evidence presented by the Pebble watch indicates that there is potential in this twist on Crowsourced funding.

Online lender Kabbage adding 65 jobs; expands office – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Online lender Kabbage adding 65 jobs; expands office – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Further evidence of the growth and vitality of the Atlanta tech scene. Locally based Kabbage is bringing (long overdue) disruptive innovation to the business lending market.

Focusing on online merchants, Kabbage is making spar use of analytics and transaction data to assess risk and engage of underwriting of loans that traditional lenders will not touch.

It’s good to see this kind of innovation (and growth) in the local tech family.