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Startup of the Year

Task 2: Jumping for Joy (And Job Satisfaction)


August 09, 2013

Our second video for the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year competition debuted today, and we're really happy with it. We watched it first thing this morning as group, laughing as our hilariously flailing bodies whizzed across the screen, grinning as each member of the team was interviewed (and then hit in the face with a dodgeball).
The second task challenged us to discuss a problem with the company culture, then devise an activity addressing that issue. Something we have to deal with as a startup company - one that's comprised of a bunch of passionate, sometimes stubborn people - is communication.  After throwing around a couple of ideas, we landed on trampoline dodgeball as the perfect outing.

Once there, we strapped on bounce boots and headed for the dodgeball court. We divided into teams, hurling plush balls at each other and jumping from square to square. Most of us hadn't played since middle school, so the first few rounds were pretty messy. Eventually we got the hang of it, yelling out instructions to our teammates, coordinating our jumping and throwing, systematically taking out each other's players with the tactician of battlefield strategists. 

By the time we left we were red faced and sweaty, but happy. RaeAnn reminded us that infusing play into our daily lives makes us more productive employees and healthier, more content people. Watch the video above for all of the trampoline glory (keep your eyes peeled for an amazing Jarrod flip).  Also, extra credit to RaeAnn for making it to the homepage of the Wall Street Journal.  We can't wait to see what this competition has in store for us next. Want to see us make it to the next round? VOTE here (please and thank you).

Look who got more space than Buffet AND Zuckerberg.
Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Goals, Gearing Up and Good360 with Carly Fiorina


August 05, 2013

There's a lot of things we like about Carly Fiorina. The fact that she was named one of the most powerful women in business for six years running (six!) is just one of them. Nathan recently sat down with our Startup of the Year mentor for a brief chat about vertical markets, why direction is so important and why being a billion
dollar operation isn't right for everyone.

We were appreciative of her frank advice. "Focus, when you start, is everything," she said, imploring us to concentrate on building out a full product that will create a robust reuse community online, "Don't get distracted by all the shiny little pennies."

We discussed how Good360, the nonprofit that Carly chairs, takes a triple bottom line approach to operations. Good360 funnels surplus retail materials to charities, creating a positive trickle down effect. As champions of reuse, we feel this mission is incredibly important and applaud their commitment to increasing landfill diversion while decreasing needs within communities across the country. We see the opportunity to lend value to her operations down the road, contributing to the path of success they have been walking for some time.

Watch the whole video here, then go to our page on the Wall Street Journal's Startup of the Year competition and vote for us.  We appreciate all the support we've been shown so far and are so happy to be representing an issue as important as reuse.

Posted by: Sarah Rendo

Making the Cut: Startup of the Year, Round 2


July 25, 2013

We are happy to announce that we made it to the 2nd round of the Wall Street Journal's Startup of the Year competition! Thanks to our supporters and mentors we can continue using this national platform to champion reuse on a massive scale.
Your continued support helps us keep usable materials out of landfills and in the reuse economy! This means more money for the national network of reuse centers that create jobs, build homes and better their local communities.
Help us stay in the competition and expand the reuse conversation by
  • Continuing to vote (the tallies have been reset to zero!
  • Following the competition on our Wall Street Journal startup page and through our twitter feed
  • Following our blog for entertaining insights on the activities, mentors and the entire process.
We’re lucky to be involved with such an energetic, intelligent, passionate bunch of startups. Watch the video below to see who was eliminated this week and who moves on, as we all compete to be the startup of the year. 

Becoming Sustainable and Scalable, with Vivek Wadhwa


July 17, 2013

Last week we had the great pleasure of sitting down (digitally) with our Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year mentor, the outstanding Mr. Vivek Wadhwa. Mr. Wadhwa, who has done everything from create software to spin off companies to teach executive-level leadership courses, is an inspiration to anyone involved with a startup, especially in the tech field.   
After a brief introduction, we got down to business. Mr. Wadhwa asked us thoughtful, probing questions. He challenged us to expand our thinking on vertical markets, discussed the logistics of the reuse industry and pressed us on our ideas for scalability.  
Check out the video below for the entire discussion, and follow the competition on our Wall Street Journal company page. The conversation was very insightful and we learned a lot from the lively exchange. We look forward to continue working with Mr. Wadhwa, a man whose ethical philosophies and viewpoint on work/life balance serves as a role model to entrepreneurs everywhere.  

The End of PlanetReuse?


July 16, 2013

Our first task for the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year competition threw us off a bit: come up with three new names, logos and taglines for our company. Wait a minute, we thought, didn't we spend weeks at the whiteboard, discussing, drawing and deliberating? Why would we start over from scratch? 
But if the Wall Street Journal tells you to do something, you do it.   
RaeAnn, Ryan and I all pitched ideas. We considered them in depth, Nathan and Jarrod pulling out ideas like meatballs out of spaghetti. We compiled the best parts of each idea like a creative club sandwhich (sorry for all the food metaphors, it’s nearly lunch). By the end of the session, we had brand new insights into branding, customer support and market positioning. While we didn’t ultimately decide to change our name or logo, we did gain new perspectives, seeing ourselves, our mission and our impact in a whole new light.
I guess the Wall Street Journal knows what it's doing. 

Posted by: Sarah 

Mentors: Role Models for a Sustainable Business


July 01, 2013

For us, perhaps the most exciting part of competing for The Wall Street Journal’s Startup of the Year is being paired with innovative, successful mentors. We look forward to conversations with entrepreneurs who have shown tremendous courage and intelligence in their approach to creating sustainable businesses. Not just the ones that make money, but a lasting impact in their community and the environment. 

Business can be a force for good,” Richard Branson recently said, and it’s a mantra we strive to put into practice every day.

We share Branson’s B Team mission, which encourages companies to take a triple bottom line approach to business, one where people, profits and the planet are all taken into account. And we aim to emulate Case’s disruptive business model, now put into practice through the Case Foundation, which expands civic engagement through technology.

This week it was announced which mentors we would be paired with and we couldn't be more pleased.  Who are they? 

(drum roll please)

Vivek Wadhwa has been creating innovative solutions to complex problems for decades. Before becoming Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University, he led the development of a tool focused on developing client-server model software for Credit Suisse First Boston, which was spun off into Seer Technologies. 

A teacher, author, speaker and one of Time magazine's 2013 Top 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech, we are in awe of his creativity, impressed with his commitment to ethics and inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit.  We're excited to pick his brain about everything from corporate leadership to creating a harmonious work-life balance.  

Carly Fiorina, (named the most powerful woman in business (for SIX consecutive years) will bring a unique view on what it takes to succeed in the tech world. As Chairman of Good360, she takes a common sense approach to charity, funneling surplus merchandize to nonprofit organizations, with an outstanding 99% of funds going directly to programs. We look forward to discussing management, leadership, marketing and a host of other topics. 

Alexander Osterwalder, whose innovative business model programs have been used throughout the world, is an expert in helping companies find their core value, ensuring segments, activities and resources are aligned. We can’t wait to brainstorm with him, putting our thought tornados into commonsense, well-laid plans for the future. 

In a few short weeks we will have our first (digital) meeting with these business experts. To say we're looking forward to collaborating with these remarkable entrepreneurs is an understatement. But we'll say it anyway. We can't wait!  

Posted by: Sarah 

Start Us Up: WSJ Startup of the Year


June 17, 2013

It’s an exciting day here at PlanetReuse Marketplace. We’re thrilled to announce (drumroll please) that we have been selected to join the Wall Street Journal’s Startup of the Year project.

Hope to see you soon, Steve.
PlanetReuse Marketplace, along with 23 other promising startups, will participate in a 5-month program, completing branding and business strategy tasks, learning from mentors (Sir Richard BransonSteve Case and Beth Comstock are on the roster) and documenting our success. 

We are honored to be part of a program put on by the prestigious Wall Street Journal, and eager to get outside our comfort zones, develop our creativity and expand our thinking. Oh, and the whole thing is being taped.   

Getting camera ready
We’ll have more to announce as the competition progresses, and we hope you’ll tune in to see us represent our company, the amazing Kansas City startup community and the future of reuse. 

Are you a reuse center interested in increasing your donations and sales?  Let’s talk. Learn more here.

 Startup of the Year Video

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