Monthly Archives: January 2016

What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

What Does It Mean To Be An EntrepreneurLadies and gentlemen, boys and girls; a little fanfare, if you please! Little Pickle Press is proud to announce the release of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, number six in the award-winning flagship series.

To get you ready to read, we asked co-author Rana DiOrio to tell us why this book is just the thing for young readers today.

1. Breakthroughs are often thought of as big explosions of ideas. Is that how Entrepreneur came about, or was it more of an evolution?
I conceived the idea of writing Entrepreneur a few years ago. I wanted a resource to explain to my children what it is I do. As a former technology investment banker and living in the Bay Area, I knew there were many other children who would benefit from this book. I approached an iconic serial entrepreneur to co-author the title with me. His vision of it was different than mine. I wanted to capture the essence of entrepreneurship, and he wanted to block and tackle the “how-tos”. After I realized that he wasn’t an ideal fit, my editor friend and fellow entrepreneur, Emma D. Dryden, offered to co-author the title with me. I thought the idea was inspired, so that’s what we did. Our collaboration was dynamic and fun. So, the short answer to your question is that Entrepreneur evolved to became exactly the book I hoped and dreamed it would be.
2. What makes this book timely? 
Small business activity is on the rise in 49 of the 50 U.S. states and 38 of the top 40 largest metropolitan areas during 2015, according to two new reports from the Kauffman Foundation. As we speed away from the economic sluggishness caused by The Great Recession, innovation abounds and access to capital is great. Entrepreneurs are changing the way we live, work, and give. Their work product and creative problem solving are improving our standard of living—creating wealth, jobs, and conditions for a thriving global society.
As many children are future entrepreneurs and all children stand to benefit from entrepreneurs, it makes a lot of sense to engage them in conversations about entrepreneurship.
3. Do you feel that an entrepreneurial spirit is something that can be nurtured and developed, or is it something you’re born with? How would you encourage it?
There is scholarly evidence supporting both sides. In my humble opinion, which is informed by working with entrepreneurs for 25+ years, I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit can be nurtured and developed and is most often sparked and fueled out of necessity. There are myriad ways to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in children. An easy place to start is by taking advantage of one of the many programs designed for this purpose—the Angel Resource Institute, the Boys and Girls Clubs Young Entrepreneurs Academy, BUILD, The Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, the Edward Lowe Foundation, the MIT Enterprise Forum, the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, to name a few. Even the Girl Scouts of America recently introduced an Entrepreneur Badge!
Thanks, Rana. Hey, folks. We all know that kids are bright, inventive, and energetic. Books like What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? will give them the direction that they need to channel those resources into a future that benefits everyone. Buy a copy today for that creative little (or not-so-little) someone in your life!

Define Water Bottle: Take Your Pick

Define Water BottleIt’s a rare soul who can truthfully admit that they drink the recommended daily allowance of water, or even close to it. Filtered through coffee, perhaps, or sweetened and carbonated. But plain water? Boring. This is where the Define water bottle comes to the rescue.

Infused water is a big deal right now, with touted benefits from improved health to life-altering events. The real benefit is the fact that when you add a touch of flavor to water, people tend to drink more. When that flavor is derived from chemical-free additions such as fruit and veggies, so much the better.

When thirteen-year-old Carter Kostler realized that his mom loved fruit-infused water, but didn’t have a convenient way to take it on the go, his mind went into design mode. The result? The Define water bottle.

Available in multiple sizes and styles, the Define water bottle features a wide mouth for filling purposes, a secure flip-top lid, a lanyard for easy carry, and BPA-free parts that are easy to disassemble at dish washing time.

Clean water, though kind of dull in the flavor department, is a must for a healthy lifestyle. When an entrepreneurial spirit tackles convenience, boring is all washed up.

Solar-Powered Water Filter: A Prize Winner

Solar-powered water filterWhile many kids her age were worrying about the latest fashion trend or cell phone upgrade, fourteen-year-old Deepika Kurup was focused on a pressing global issue—clean drinking water. This interest led to her prize-winning invention of a solar-powered water filter.

After witnessing children in India collecting water from a contaminated drinking source (the only one then available), Kurup took it upon herself to seek a solution. After several months of research and testing, she hit upon a working combination: “she ultimately came up with a system that exposes titanium oxide and zinc oxide to sunlight, creating a chemical reaction that generates hydroxyl radicals, which in turn can kill harmful bacteria.”

While still in seventh grade, Kurup entered the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, eventually going on to  win a $25,000 award. Rather than simply basking in the glow of the scientific community’s praise, Kurup has further plans for her invention. “My next step is applying for a patent,” she says. “I want to start a nonprofit organization to deploy my innovation.”

From sunlight to limelight, Deepika Kurup and other young entrepreneurs like her should prove that the next generation is in good hands.

3D Printing: A New Way to Build

3D printingIt used to be a common joke that anyone who looked at a printer would wish aloud that said printer could run off material goods such as dinner or a pile of cash. While 3D printing may not make you rich or well fed, it is doing a lot to make lives easier.

The first patent application for 3D printing (then called RP, or Rapid Prototyping) dates back to 1980, when a Dr. Kodama of Japan first sought approval. The patent fell through due to a delay in filing, which allowed Charles Hull to take honors for the first patent.

The idea behind 3D printing is pretty straightforward. Rather than spitting out ink, the print head extrudes melted plastic in a preset pattern. The printer builds up the plastic layer by layer, until the object is complete. The actual process is a bit more complicated, but fun to watch.

While it’s neat to think of printing out your own knick-knacks, one of the most important uses of 3D printing is in the medical field. Prosthetics, organ and tissue models, and other printed pieces are helping to improve surgical procedures and enhance independence and mobility for amputees.

While the old saw about printing off a new yacht might be closer than ever to coming true, it’s no joke that an entrepreneurial spirit is something to build on.

Stem Cells: Your Body’s Building Blocks

Stem cellsRemember when you were a kid, and you got to play with modeling clay in art class? Wasn’t it neat, turning that nondescript clump into whatever you could dream up?

Did you know that your own body is capable of that same type of creativity?

In addition to bone cells, brain cells, and a ton of other kinds of cells, your body produces stem cells. These are unspecialized cells that can, with the right encouragement, become just about any kind of cell that your body needs.

The discovery that cells are the building blocks of life has been around since the mid-1800s. By 1961, the first research studies were being conducted. The year 1968 saw the first bone marrow transplant, a medical breakthrough that led to cloning research and incredible advancements in cancer treatments.

A well-known use of stem cells involves the treatment of cancers such as lymphoma. Stem cells are removed from an adult donor through a process called apheresis. The patient undergoes heavy doses of chemotherapy to kill the cancer, and then the stem cells are transfused into the patient. If all goes well, the stem cells multiply, creating healthy new cells and starting the patient on the road to remission.

Cells are microscopic. BUT.

Combined with an entrepreneurial attitude and a desire to change things for the better, they become one of the biggest breakthroughs of this century.

Velcro®: Stick With It

Velcro® Combing burrs out of your dog’s fur usually results in snarls—from pelt and person both. For George de Mestral, an “Ah, rats!” moment turned into an “Aha!” breakthrough, with the invention of Velcro®.

During a hunting trip in Switzerland in the forties, Mr. de Mestral decided to take a closer look at the tenacious and aggravating cockleburs that covered his pants and his dog. The image of hundreds of tiny hooks snagged in his brain, and our man George realized that it might be possible to create a strong, lightweight, and re-usable fastener.

Within ten years, Velcro® had been patented in Switzerland, with an additional trademark registered in the United States. The name is a mashup of the French words velour and crochet—velvet hook.

Simple yet ingenious, Velcro® is also an empowering tool. Small children and folks with mobility issues can use Velcro® to replace shoelaces, buttons, and other fasteners, allowing them to dress themselves and tend to personal needs without assistance.

George de Mestral’s entrepreneurial eye proves that perseverance can change the world. If at first you don’t succeed …

Stick with it.


Penicillin: Dawn of the Antibiotic Age


It’s that gross stuff that lurks in aging containers of leftovers, or turns your bread gray and nasty.

It’s also credited with saving more than eighty million lives.

In ancient Egypt and for centuries after, physicians would often slap a slice of moldy bread over wounds to promote healing and prevent infection. Nobody knew exactly why it worked until a fateful day in September of 1928, when Alexander Fleming noticed a glob of green mold growing in a petri dish that had been inoculated with Staphylococcus bacteria. The mold had cut a clean swath through the otherwise healthy bacterial colony. Subsequently named Penicillium notatum, this fuzzy green interloper was subjected to numerous studies by Dr. Howard Florey, Dr. Norman Heatley, and Dr. Ernst Chain.

It was discovered that penicillin worked on bacterial cell walls, preventing tiny holes (caused by cell division) from closing, and allowing fluid to rush in and pop the bacterium like a balloon.

While the potential for penicillin was obvious, so was the problem with turning it into a useful medicine: the scientists involved couldn’t produce nearly enough. Luckily, the P. notatum strain has several relatives, and the chance discovery of P. chrysogenum led to the purposeful culture of large quantities of penicillin. By 1942, the first civilians could be treated—and cured—by this amazing new medicine.

Alexander Fleming was just doing a little post-vacation cleanup in his lab when he made a discovery that changed the face of medicine. His mind may not have been on a cure at that moment, but his entrepreneurial spirit and sense of curiosity took the “Oo, what’s this?” spark and fanned it into a lifesaving breakthrough.

Penicillin is only one of the many amazing drugs available today. What would you consider a breakthrough discovery in medicine? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Breakthroughs: An Overview

With a special book birthday on the horizon, Little Pickle Press would like to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit helps turn great ideas into a better reality.

Whether it’s building a better mousetrap or creating something entirely new, creativity is at an all-time high. While not every idea will lead to re-inventing the wheel, brilliant concepts are turning up in every aspect of life.

Join us each day this week as we dig into the motivation behind six breakthroughs from the past century. Share your thoughts about each discovery, and tell us what entrepreneurship means to you. At the end of the week, we’ll light the candles on an inspiring new release from Emma D. Dryden and our own Chief Pickle, Rana DiOrio.

Invite your friends, because we’re saving seats for all of you!

Little Pickle Press and The Great Kindness Challenge – A Perfect Way To Start The New Year

The cat from What Does It Mean To Be Kind?

Little Pickle Press has partnered with The Great Kindness Challenge to help educators inspire students to be kind. To achieve this goal, we’ll donate the e-book of our award-winning What Does It Mean To Be Kind? and its discussion guide to 16,000 schools participating in the 2016 challenge!

And from January 5, 2016 to May 5, 2016, Little Pickle Press will donate 15% of the net sales of the print version of What Does It Mean To Be Kind? to The Great Kindness Challenge to fuel this important work.

Please help us foster kindness by spreading the word. And we hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of this title, either from us or wherever books are sold.

What Does It Mean To Be Kind? cover

Thanks for joining us in making our world a better place!

Team Pickle