Friday, October 29, 2010

School daze – the business plan workshop

Today I was transported to school daze when I had the good fortune to attend a seminar on developing a business plan to a primarily Ryerson student audience.  The seminar was presented by Dr. Dave Valliere and at $10 for three hours was the deal of the century.  The material was so engaging that I managed to fight off flashbacks of incomprehensible scribbles from engineering profs from yesteryear.

Going in I expected to be taken through the structure of the business plan, only to find out that templates are a dime a dozen and what really counts is the thought process that goes into it.
Some of the really important tidbits I learned are:
  • Let the investor know how they will get their money back as soon as possible in the plan
  • Investors will toss your plan in the garbage at the first opportunity.
  • The business has to offer a product that solves a problem exceedingly well.
  • The business is more important than the product.
  • Demonstrating the methodology used to make financial projections is far more important than the actual numbers – projections are always wrong.
  • The numbers should be synchronized with the information in the plan
  • Hire people that are smarter than you, get things done and are not assholes.

Do you want my 3D body?

Last week I got to check out a demo on the use of 3D body scanners by Tasha Lewis, an assistant professor within the Ryerson School of Fashion.  The scanner which costs around $30K is the size of a small change room and scans without using x-ray.  The technology is being used by the apparel industry to develop realistic models of various body shapes to be able to offer a wider range of sizes.
There were some folks from Princess Margaret Hospital in attendance that were interested in using the technology to monitor swelling as well as developing better fitting compression bands that often don’t fit well based on measurements from the old fashioned tape measure.
Above, Tasha Lewis is standing next to the 3d body scan of Gaya from the DMZ.  I would have volunteered but didn’t want the scan to capture all the holes in my underwear!