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Small Business Briefing

Group of young entrepreneurs snaps up ski resort Add to ...

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The Summit Series buys Utah ski resort

The Summit Series, a five-year old conference run by young entrepreneurs, artists and activists, has announced that it has taken over Utah’s Powder Mountain – a resort that has an average of 500 inches of annual snowfall and more than 10,000 acres of ski-able terrain, Forbes. The purchase price, though not confirmed, is rumoured to have been around $40-million.

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Along with a year-round program of speakers, conferences and concerns, Summit members now can purchase plots of land on Powder Mountain, build a home and get access to a private lodges as well as all the resort’s many amenities.

The mission of The Summit Series is to create business opportunity, address global issues, support artistic achievement, and build community in an effort to make our world a more joyful place. Now they can do it from the comfort of their own resort.

Short on business ideas? There’s magic in the mundane

Once in a while, business ideas – or in the following case, book ideas – will arise from the most mundane of circumstances. Consider Matthew E. May, for example, who – after buying some D-cell batteries for his flashlight in preparation for a camping trip – sliced his finger trying to open the heavy-duty plastic packaging. In a post for AMEX’s Open Forum , he tells the story about how this episode inspired him to write a book The Laws of Subtraction.

“You’re right to think it’s a silly story about a benign annoyance. I tell it only to introduce in a lighthearted way a much larger problem and far more serious challenge: thriving in a world of excess everything,” he writes.

He pitched the idea to publisher McGraw-Hill, explaining that businesses are more complicated than ever and that “excess everything is choking us.” But at the same time, businesses want to stay on top. So “how do you stand out and stay relevant – win – in the age of excess everything?” he asks The solution he proposed was to cut the junk: the excessive, confusing, wasteful, unnatural, hazardous, hard to use, ugly, etc. (Battery packaging, he says, exhibits all seven qualities in a rather inglorious way) it was, he explained, ‘the art of subtraction’ for which there are six rules, which you can read about here .

It’s not always the “lightning bolt” or “I never thought of that” idea where the real innovation lies, writes Riley Gibson in a blog for The Harvard Business Review entitled The hidden power of mundane ideas . Good ideas can come from noticing already existing patterns – in “what people are requesting or already doing.” The key is to “force ourselves to ask the right questions and brace ourselves for a thorough analysis of the mundane.”

Even the daily routine – the so-called grind – can lay a solid foundation for truly creative moments. In fact, many fascinating creative people – artists, architects, writers and business people – follow a rigid routine, writes Mark McGuinness in How mundane routines produce creative magic .

“By repeating the same routine every day, all these creators are effectively hypnotizing, deliberately altering their state of consciousness in order to access the “deeper state of mind” that allows them to work their creative magic.

Mr. May’s story, Mr. Gibson’s analysis and Mr. McGuiness’ observations reinforce the notion that creativity can come from even the most humdrum or otherwise forgettable experiences: inspiration may be right under your nose.

Y Combinator goes lean

Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley seed accelerator – known for picking hot companies – has announced that not only is it cutting back on the number of startups it accepts, as well as the amount of up-front funding.

“The reason we accepted fewer applications was that in summer 2012 we grew too fast. We had 66 companies in winter 2012, and that was fine, but for some reason more things than usual broke when we jumped from 66 to 84,” writes Y Combinator’s Paul Graham in a statement .

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Startup Canada crowdfunding campaign kicks off

The non-profit, volunteer-run organization will unveil a major crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, December 4 to support one of the Blueprints’ key initiatives.Startup Canada will use Indiegogo to raise $100,000 in support of Startup Canada Connect, a central online meeting place for Canadian entrepreneurs to tap into local and national startup communities to connect with support, resources, opportunities, associations, communities, news, events and mentor. The news conference will take place at Accelerator Centew in Waterloo from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Pinterest for small business

Jess Loren and Edward Swiderski, Pinterest industry experts, authors of Pinterest for Business, and of Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad fame, join Report on Small Business editor Sean Stanleigh for an interactive discussion on how to benefit from the pinboard-style social network and other social media. Leave with a parting gift. The event, sponsored by Bank of Montreal, takes place Dec. 3 in Toronto. For more information, click here .

EDITORS PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Free shipping a perk for e-shoppers, a pinch for online retailers

As holiday e-shopping kicks into high gear, smaller Canadian online merchants must make a costly business decision to compete against big North American retailers

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Video: An intimate office where ideas come to life

At the office of Sid Lee , a creative agency located in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District, Victorian Industrial architecture mingles with design elements of the 21st century, creating an inspiring fusion of old and new

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com. Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues:http://linkd.in/jWWdzT Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you can sign up here. Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site, click here .

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