The Next Big Thing highlights the next big ideas shaping the world

intelligence and so, too, is Wall Street.

A prime example is, which lets you compare your stock picks with other investors in the community. The San Francisco-based firm identifies users whose portfolios are doing well, highlighting their transactions as they happen. One of its byproducts is the CakeTake, a rating service akin to Morningstar Inc., which uses algorithms and leverages historical stock investment data for up to 10 years.

There’s also the CakeDex index fund, which is based on the holdings of the community’s top 10% of investors, and CakeScout, an investment-idea engine. In the works for 2009 is the CakeDex ETF, and exchange-traded fund that will be an index fund made up of the top 100 holdings of the top-performing investors on Cake Financial.

Small Business

globalnetworkFor City Living Home Furnishings, collective collaboration occurs from the bottom up. Designers and sales reps meet weekly, but the collective process also involves the say of delivery drivers, warehouse crew, and customer service representatives who have direct contact and feedback from consumers.

“Their input is coming from what they experience in their day-to-day work environment,” says Andre Dickens, owner and president. “They know how long it took to assemble a bedroom suite or if people are dissatisfied with their purchase.”

Before its build-out into two showrooms and a warehouse, City Living got its start in 2002 as an Internet storefront. Taking advantage of a housing boom and new homeowners, Dickens, 34, a chemical engineer by trade, and Kesha Kline, 34, an interior designer, came up with the idea to sell contemporary furniture and concepts for living spaces by laying out designs and styles online– in essence, interactive interior design.
Not only were start-up costs about 5% of what it normally takes to build a store ($30,000 versus $750,000), it gave Dickens and Kline a greater sense of what customers wanted, avoiding excess inventory.

It’s clear that the Web is no longer just window dressing for companies. The integration of the Internet and enterprise has innovators thinking differently about human interaction.

—Carolyn M. Brown



greenfootstepsIf you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint by eating locally grown food and supporting neighborhood eateries, you’re not alone. Consumers nationwide have caught the fresh-food bug and are flocking to corner eateries, buying produce at farmers’ markets, and encouraging their local supermarkets to stock produce and meats grown and produced nearby. And restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon, too.

Restaurants from foodie favorite Table 8, helmed by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong to Baltimore’s vegan-friendly Yabba Pot Cafe are providing their patrons with food that’s pesticide- and hormone-free. Armstrong, named greenest restaurateur in the February 2007 issue of Black Enterprise, has locations in Los Angeles and Miami, and he’ll soon unveil his latest spot in New York City. The restaurant’s menus change seasonally so that customers can enjoy the freshest regionally grown produce and locally produced meat.


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  • Robin Caldwell

    This article is precisely why I love and Black Enterprise mag. Inspiring and informative.

  • Thanks for the coverage of Cake Financial. We are very excited about what we have planned for 2009. As you note, our goal is to help investors become better at investing, and our goal is to significantly increase our users in 2009.

    I have been an avid reader of BE since my days at Hampton U. and always find relevant and inspiring information. In particular, BE does a great job of covering financial management and investing in an informative manner.