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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
Audiobooks have been around for decades, but what recovering Silicon Valley insider John Lee and his colleagues at Ashland-based Folium Partners have in mind is something altogether different. “We’re turning it into an experience; we’re presenting publishers with the opportunity to add games and other features to support the book,” says Lee.
The 2-year-old company’s vision of audiobook apps for smart phones and tablets with enhanced content has landed it Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network’s first annual investment prize of $155,000.
Lee and his associates founded Folium with $12,000, countless unpaid hours and an optimistic if uncertain understanding that their multimedia-enhanced audiobook was in demand. “There wasn’t a strong market indication that people would prefer to experience a book this way; the risk was there if we got it wrong,” he says.
Another initial fear was whether Apple would even agree to sell their product through iTunes because of Apple's strong partnership with New Jersey-based audiobook distributor Audible. Fortunately for them, Apple decided that what Folium is producing is not audiobooks, but rather what Lee calls “Folium-enhanced audio.”
The scope of what this “Folium-enhanced audio” entails is wide and ever changing. One facet, geared toward book clubs, allows users to individually rate a chapter and write or voice record notes. Another product that Folium launched in January is the videobook, which so far is focused on step-by-step DIY guides and other study aids. As of late March, Folium had produced more than 800 titles that are distributed by Ashland audiobook publisher Blackstone. There are plans for the launch of modernbookfactory.com, a user-friendly, self-publishing audiobook website that allows the user to choose from a variety of voice actors and other services to enhance their book.
Folium plans to add nine jobs within the year to expand its distribution partnerships and self-publishing capacity by drawing on its industry connections and local talent. “We rely heavily on the intellectual capital side,” says Lee. “Most of our investment is in people and we’ll be investing in more people.”
Monday, September 28, 2015
BY DAN COOK
Eastern Oregon marketers refocus rural assets through an urban lens.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
BY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED
The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER
Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released a report on the vitality of rural Oregon this week. Media reports focused on the number of Californians moving to the "Timber Belt," but the document contained other interesting insights regarding regional challenges and successes.
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