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Ahnu Footwear puts its best foot forward: Van Dine speaks at Stanford

One month after Ahnu Footwear appears at Stanford’s ‘Cool Product Expo’, CEO Van Dine returns to speak on ‘sustainability and entrepreneurship’

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ALAMEDA, CALIF. (May 21, 2008) – One month after participating in the ‘Cool Product Expo’, an invitation-only gathering at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Ahnu Footwear CEO Jim Van Dine returned to the university as a guest lecturer.

Entitled “The Sustainable Entrepreneur: Idea to Marketplace,” Van Dine spoke last Friday as part of Stanford’s ‘Product Realization Network.’

Providing a candid overview of the realities faced by today’s sustainable entrepreneurs, Van Dine touched on an essential question: why should a startup business incorporate sustainable and socially responsible elements when “green” no longer provides a market edge.

“At some point, the things we now call sustainable or think are leading edge, I don’ think you’re going to get any more credit for doing that … than we currently do for taking our recycling out,” said Van Dine. “But, planet saving will become the biggest undertaking in history. I firmly believe this. Without question, we are going down this road, and where it leads we don’t know … but we do know that serious changes have to be effected in the way we live, in the way we manufacture, the way we recreate, and in every aspect of our lives.”

The speech was prompted by Ahnu’s inclusion in Stanford Business School’s an annual event sponsored by the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing and the Product Design Club at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Rick Reis, Director of Special Projects for the Stanford Product Realization Network, met Van Dine at the Expo. Their conversation sparked the idea for a future lecture.

“When I talked to him about his philosophy … about where (Ahnu) manufactured things, where they designed things, how he felt about manufacturing and employment and his global sense, I realized that if this was interesting to me, it would also be interesting to (our students),” said Reis.

Hosted every spring, the Cool Product Expo strives to build excitement around progressive products and companies. This year’s Expo attendees spanned the spectrum from transportation (Tesla Motors, Dahon Folding Bikes); to green power (DLight Design); to online entities (Reputation Defender).

“Cool”, according to Stanford, is broken down into three components: factor, edge, and function. For “factor,” coolness is readily apparent, requires no explanation; “edge” means radically new, not just an improvement on an existing product; and “function” refers to the essential combination of design and manufacturing.

About Ahnu Footwear: A dynamic new brand built for uncompromising performance in any environment, Ahnu Footwear ( is a refreshing new addition to the style, structure, and substance of the outdoor lifestyle. Ahnu’s unique design approach is centered around simple and fast adjustability, QuiteLight® construction, and adhering to the highest possible environmental and social standards. For additional media information, please contact Drew Simmons at Pale Morning Media,, 802.583.6069.# # #

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