Password Recovery Services Best Practices

Recently, I helped a client recover the password to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. In doing so, I came up with a few best practices for password recovery services:

  1. Prior to starting any work on a password recovery project, the service provider should require the client to sign an agreement where by the client:
    1. Attests to ownership of the system or file and their right to engage the service provider to recover the password;
    2. Gives permission to the service provider to recover the password to the system or file; and
    3. Gives permission to the service provider to access the system or file for the purpose of confirming that the password recovery was successful.
  2. Best practices for the communication and storage of passwords should be applied to recovered passwords. For example:
    1. Don’t communicate passwords in clear text;
    2. Don’t store passwords in clear text; and
    3. Change passwords if there’s any chance they’ve been compromised.
  3. The provider and the client should have a reciprocal non-disclosure agreements in place.

Do you have any additional ideas for best practices for how password recovery service providers and clients should work together? If so, leave a comment!

Startup Weekend Milwaukee

As you may know, I’m helping to organize the first-ever Startup Weekend Milwaukee. A Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Here are some links to learn more:

Startup Wisconsin Launch Event

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the launch event for Startup Wisconsin (“StartupWI”) at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

The night started out with an hour of networking and hors d’oeuvres. It was fun to see so many people involved with the Wisconsin startup ecosystem gathered in one place, connecting and re-connecting with each other. I estimate there were close to 200 people in attendance, maybe more.

The presentations for the night were kicked off by A-Sun Truth, Founder and CEO of Twicketer. He introduced a video that lasted about 10 minutes. It interlaced short segments about Wisconsin’s historical business successes with short segments about several of Wisconsin’s current startup companies. It was inspirational and very well received. I understand StartupWI may make that video available for viewing online in the near future.

Next, Cindi Thomas of Translator Digital Cafe made the official announcement of the launch of StartupWI, the 23rd region of the Startup America Partnership. Cindi introduced the founding group and emphasized the need for everyone present to support the startup ecosystem in Wisconsin.

Following Cindi was Paul Jones of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, the premier sponsor of the event. He talked about his entrepreneurial background and his experience with venture capital (including co-managing a large early stage venture capital fund).

Scott Case

The keynote speaker for the night was Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership (and founding CTO of Priceline.Com) Scott gave a dynamic and interesting talk about his entrepreneurial experiences and his current work to create the Startup America Partnership. His suggestions for building a strong startup ecosystem were: (1) Build communities, (2) Celebrate success, and (3) Integrate those communities and hold events. Scott urged every startup in Wisconsin to join the Startup America Partnership.

Last up was the ‘Fast Pitch Competition’ in which representatives from 10 Wisconsin startup companies pitched their businesses to the crowd in a competition to win $1,500 in cash prizes. Pitches were given by the following companies:

  1. Twicketer
  2. Wom Street
  3. The Good Jobs
  4. Digital Iris
  5. Bushwack Apps
  6. Print Command
  7. We Do
  8. Our Ballot Box
  9. Ronin Studios and Consulting
  10. DocWrite

The pitches were a lot of fun to watch and reminded me of the pitches at Startup Weekend Madison. Later in the evening it was announced that first place went to The Good Jobs, and second place went to WeDo.

In all, this was a significant event for the Wisconsin business community, especially for startups and their founders. It shows, once again, our entrepreneurial spirit and ecosystem is alive and growing. I’m looking forward to seeing what StartupWI (@StartupWI) does next! A big “thank you” goes out to the organizers and sponsors of last night’s event!

Update: Tailwind Creative also has a nice summary of last night’s event along with a link to several pictures.

MiKE Council Meeting

Last night, I attended the Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) Council Meeting at OpenMiKE at the Grand Avenue Mall. The meeting was opened by Telvin Jeffries of Kohl’s Corporation, who is Co-Chair of the MiKE Leadership Council. Mr. Jeffries had the pleasure of announcing Milwaukee Innovation Week which will be June 6-11, 2012. This first-of-its-kind event for Milwaukee promises to provide a whirl-wind of activity for local entrepreneurs. Steve Glynn and Laurel Osman of MiKE detailed the plans for the week, including the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference to be held June 5-6.

Next up was the keynote speaker for the evening, Daniel Isenberg. Isenberg is a Babson Global Professor of Management Practice and the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP). He is a leading authority on international entrepreneurship, and has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Insead, Reykjavik, Theseus, and the Technion. Isenberg has also been an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and angel investor.

Isenberg started by asking the attendees for their definition of entrepreneurship. It was interesting to hear the various answers. Isenberg’s definition is:

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit, creation, and capture of extraordinary value.”

Isenberg also described entrepreneurship as an often a contrarian activity with opportunity driven by what others may view as “worthless, impossible or stupid.”

Some of his other points:

  • Entrepreneurship is not only “startups.”
  • His definition of entrepreneurship may exclude micro-businesses or “small businesses” since they are often more about self-employment than creating extraordinary value.
  • Entrepreneurship does not need “innovation.” He talked about how “copy cat models,” real estate, retail and trade, technology, professional services, business model innovation, construction, subcontractor manufacturing, and agriculture can all create high value without any significant innovations.
  • Isenberg talked about Lemonade Day and NFTE as being useful resources for teaching entrepreneurship.
  • He listed four “must read” books for entrepreneurs: Blue Streak: Inside jetBlue, the Upstart that Rocked an Industry by Barbara Peterson; Revolution in a Bottle by Tom Szaky; Starting from Scrap by Stephen H. Greer; and Stop and Sell the Roses: Lessons from Business and Life by Jim McCann.
  • Lastly, Isenberg presented the domains of his Entrepreneurship Ecosystem model, which included Policy, Finance, Culture, Support, Human Capital, and Markets.

In all, it was a fascinating presentation by someone who is clearly an expert in entrepreneurship. A big “thank you” to Daniel Isenberg for visiting Milwaukee and presenting at MiKE. Special thanks also go out to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and UWM’s Lubar School of Business for sponsoring the MiKE Council Meeting and to Transfer for providing pizza and drinks.

Update: James Carlson (@hypnagogic) tweeted to tell me he’s created a “sketchnote” of the meeting at