Big Event for Utah Investors and Entrepreneurs, Nov. 20th

Mark Cuban pointed out on his blog last week that President Elect Obama has made his first mistake: he failed to appoint a single entrepreneur to his economic advisory team, when it is clear that "entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy." He suggested that the new President should "ask the people who are actually starting new businesses what they need," so that the government doesn't adopt policies that will backfire by hurting entrepreneurs.

This morning I watched a 1 hour documentary on the Biography Channel about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, who by 1985 was the richest man in the United States. It was especially interesting to see how he grew up during the Great Depression, and how many of his values and goals were shaped by watching his father eek out a living during the depression.

iPhone developers, unite!

A few months ago, after feeling the initial rush of getting a million users of our Facebook app We're Related in just 29 days, I set up a Facebook group with an admittedly dumb name: Utah CEOs With a Facebook Strategy. It now has 488 members. We met a couple of times in Provo earlier this year. Jason McGowan and Michael Jensen from our team at FamilyLink.com shared with about 30-40 attendees how to build an app that is viral and can scale, and I tried to pump the Facebook opportunity as well as I could. I'm a true believer in what Facebook did with their Platform, as you will see from my original blog post the day they announced it, back in May 2007, when I predicted that Facebook would become the world's leading social network.

UTC Hall of Fame Celebration tomorrow in Salt Lake City

My favorite Utah high tech event every year is the Utah Technology Council Annual Hall of Fame event. It is now in its 9th year. This year James Sorenson, medical device pioneer and billionaire, and Bernard Daines, father of gigabit ethernet, are being inducted. Intel CEO Paul Otellini will be the keynote speaker. The list of past inductees is pretty amazing--Utah has produced more than its share of technology pioneers.

Race4Madi.com

Next week, on Saturday morning, a 5k race will be held in Provo (very close to BYU and the MTC) to raise funds for leukemia treatments for the most amazing 15-year old girl. Please visit Race4Madi.com to learn more. Madi was diagnosed a few months ago, and has been in serious chemo treatments for 3 months. She has a super positive attitude and is always cheering everyone up.

Sundance: make room for the new family friendly film festival

My friend Brady Whittingham is a driven entrepreneur. He comes from a football family, and he played football in college. That intensity has stayed with him in business. We worked together years ago at MyFamily.com where he was our best product manager. Fast, smart, and completely results oriented. (Just like the BYU passing game.) He quickly realized that as companies get big they get slow--too slow for him (and later, for me) so he moved on, started his own internet business, and has achieve remarkable success.

Seth Godin Will Speak in Utah! (if we want him badly enough)

Utah blogs are buzzing about the chance we have to get the legendary Seth Godin to visit Utah as part of his new book tour. We just need 500 people to each pay $50 (and get 5 copies of his new book) so that he will stop here on his tour. I took a trip to NYC two years ago to hear Seth speak, so I paid a lot more than $50. He was the keynote speaker at an advertising conference, and he slammed traditional advertising and explained in a powerful way how the internet changes everything. To hear him speak in Utah would be incredible.

Topics for this week’s “Live Friday”

Every Friday an energetic group of internet entrepreneurs and marketers meets at the Provo Labs Academy at 12:30 for a 60-90 minute run down of the hottest online business news of the week. Some weeks we are blown away by the exciting announcements and new launches of venture-backed startup companies or the mind-blowing techtonic plate-shifting announcements that come from the major players in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, AOL and IAC.

Crash Course in Internet Marketing starts March 15th

Yesterday I met with about a dozen entrepreneurs who came to the Provo Labs Academy to learn about the 12-Week Crash Course in Internet Marketing that starts next Thursday, March 15th at 5 pm. An email will be going out to about 1,000 Utah entrepreneurs early next week, as well as a few additional marketing efforts. We have room for at least 10 more people to sign up for the class, but space is limited, so sign up today at www.provolabs.com/academy/

Last chance for Utah entrepreneurs to get $100,000 in funding at Governor’s Summit

Utah is a very friendly state for startup companies. It ranks in the top few states for entrepreneurship. We have a great economic environment, a well educated work force, and a very growth-oriented governor. Plus, we have FundingUniverse.com, headquartered right here in Utah. FundingUniverse.com and Grow Utah Ventures will select five entrepreneurs to present their business plans on March 22nd at Governor Huntsman's Economic Summit, in front of a live audience at Grand America Hotel (the finest hotel in Salt Lake City.) The audience will include angel investors from nearly every angel group in Utah. And the winning entrepreneur will receive an investment of up to $100,000 from these angels.