TedxBoulder: Time & Change

Last year marked the first for TedxBoulder. Held at Chautauqua, I'd say it was a grand success with a wide variety of interesting topics and speakers. With all the work the organizers have done this year is shaping up to be just as if not even more stellar in its second outing.

The first TedxBoulder was pretty stellar. All of the talks were thought provoking. My favorite below. Even if you're a guy or think you're not interested in Harlequin Romance novels you need to watch this. You're welcome.


This year's theme is...

Time & Change

There will be talks, music and general As I've come to expect, there will likely be a few fun surprises through out the night. Maybe even a bit of free swag. And I hear there's going to be some fun after parties. 

I think there are still a few tickets left. Might want to get on that because  it's a Ted event and when Andrew Hyde and company are involved things tend to sell out.

TechStars Mayhem: Celebrating a Community

Boulder is an outstanding place to live because of it's an entrepreneurial enclave. Being nestled up right against the Rocky Mountains doesn't suck either. Last night was a big one for my fair city with the premier of the TechStars show on Bloomberg TV.

TechStars feels like my family. Even though I'm not a graduate of the program, some of my clients are and I count many friends among their number. But that's not why it feels that way. There's something special about it that not every company has.

 

TechStars is more than a company.

It's a movement.

It's a community.

I commend David Cohen, Brad Feld, Jared Polis, Nicole Glaros, Andrew Hyde and the many mentors for creating such a strong community where the attitude is welcoming, generous and always fun where they never take themselves too seriously. Although they had turned down opportunities to film the program before, they finally took Bloomberg TV up on the opportunity during the inaugural NYC class this past winter. The result is a 6 week series.

Techstars hosted a fun night of mayhem at the Boulder Theatre to commemorate the premier. I was lucky enough to be able to attend. It was a lively evening of sound bites and on camera drama. Just before the premier we had a chance to see the hilarious short I'm a VC written by Jason Mendelson featuring the Foundry Group. If you haven't seen it before or are like me and never get tired of seeing Seth eat sushi out of a car window, here it is.

 

This tongue planted firmly in cheek short film is something I could watch over and over again. Um, and actually have.  If you look closely you can catch cameos by some of Boulder's local entrepreneurs. After that it was on to the first episode of TechStars.


 

Some of my favorite moments:

- "You're not here because of your ideas. We didn't fund your idea. We funded you." David Cohen and "At the core of what we're doing is picking people. We're betting on people." David Tisch. This is such a key element to the TechStars program and to entrepreneurship. It's also one of the things people are most likely to neglect to consider when forming their startup. Which is a bad idea. People first. Then the idea.

- When one of the companies likened David Cohen to The Oracle in The Matrix. My favorite movie of all time and a pretty apt way to describe him from my experience.

- Mentor whiplash. Not the first time I've heard that term but always makes me smile in recognition when I hear it. I'm hoping they talk more about it this season as learning how to be discerning with all the advice you get to discover patterns that emerge and make decisions to move your business forward is critical for entrepreneurs.

- Any moment when David Tisch is onscreen. That man is the king of the sound bite. I had heard that he is bright and very direct in his assessments. I also learned that he's funny. I can't wait to see more of him this season.

After the show premiered David Cohen and Brad Feld held a Q&A session. Their answers were incredibly insightful and of course, funny. Sadly I missed getting one of the funny moments of the night camera. It's right after the clip below. Let's just say the answer involved something about porn and knowing an entrepreneur when you see one. You had to be there.

Anyway, here's the clip which has some great advice for inspiring entrepreneurs who want to apply to the program. Apologies for the shaky camera work and any ensuing nausea. My arms were getting tired from holding up the camera at that point. Watch it for the advice.


the gateway to fall

ah, labor day. the gateway to fall and my favorite weekend of the year. i typically spend most of this weekend alone, reading, writing and reflecting on what i want for the rest of the year. this year's annual weekend wasn't too different than past years. well, maybe the first item was new. anyhow, here's what i did.

chased after a chicken to get it back in the coop.

discovered that i love gin. especially leopold's and caprock.

went yarn shopping for some amazing threads that soon will be made into something pretty and useful by the lovely and amazing sarah welch.

went out to a nice dinner wherein i proceeded to state that i would move for love. and then got called out for the truth. i would move for love. to new york, san francisco, london or paris. maybe denver.

had drinks with a dear friend.  attempted to take a self-portrait in the bathroom mirror. this i do at nearly every nice restaurant i go to when i remember to bring my phone in with me. one day i'll manage to take a good one.

watched a string 80's movies with nothing in common. dirty dancing, overboard, grease and blade runner. in truth, i only watched the first half of the last film, go depressed and then switched over to grease. one day i'll muster the spirits to watch the final half.

toured a craft brewery. and learned what a mash tun is. And that you're not supposed to go swimming in one.

slept in to a time that is way to late for someone over the age of 21.

read a book about a woman who traveled around the world to find true love and hoped i wouldn't have to do the same to find mine.

and...got back to blogging. put 3 more into the hopper. a post on this coming tomorrow.

what i didn't do

i didn't climb another 14er, yet. that's next weekend.

i didn't explore a new city. that will likely come later this year.

i didn't go to burning man. that may happen some time.

i didn't drink too much and regret it the next day. that's for another life time.

but i wasn't looking for these things. my quiet(ish) activities were the perfect to spend my favorite weekend.

so, how did you spend yours?

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Startup Weekend Boulder - The Wisdom Edition

Organizers Jon Rossi, Dave Mayer and Matt Bernier did an amazing job of assembling a strong group of entrepreneurial folks to serve as mentors and judges during Startup Weekend Boulder 5. Although it was virtually impossible to record every single piece of insightful information these folks offered I tried to capture some of the best below. Good advice for all entrepreneurs and startup dreamers.

Micah Baldwin, Graphic.ly

  • As Brad Feld says, there are lots of things you measure but only 2 that really matter. Figure out what they are and make sure everything relates back to them.

Duleepa Wijayawardhana, Empire Avenue

  • Don't worry about failure. You'll succeed just because you try. Well, do.

Nicole Glaros, TechStars

  • Know your market. Understand the pain points of your market and build around it. If you do, you will be successful.
  • Be intellectually honest. Listen with unbiased ears. It's hard to do when someone tells you your baby is ugly but if you do this, you will be successful.

Eric Marcoullier, One True Fan

  • If you have to fix a feature, get rid of it.

Ari Newman, Jive Software

  • Simplify your model. As he said to one team, "There's so much I think my head just exploded."
  • Consider going after a large market because it will be more forgiving when you fail. And you will.

Niel Robertson, Trada

  • Make sure you build marketing metrics into the product right up front. Having a data-driven development approach will allow you to scale faster.

Jon Rossi, Startup Weekend Boulder

  • Help each other out and keep the momentum going.

Chris Vieville, Snap Engage

  • Build social gaming into your product but watch out for being too gimicky.

John Wright, Quick Left

  • Find a product that cannot fail and that makes sense.

My own advice
When coming up with a name make sure it's available on all the necessary outlets (URL, Twitter, etc.) and grab it quickly. Make it easy for people to find you.

And finally...

Don't play at it. Play full out and do it for real.

Reverb 10: Photo

Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

This photo was taken during a girl's night out. It was a beautiful, warm and lots of fun. The camera on my Evo takes great photos but has trouble in dark situations. So, I decided to play with the new retro app I downloaded from the Droid store. I prefer to be behind the camera and rarely love any photos of me. This is my favorite of 2010 because...

1. It was taken by my dear friend Kit.

2. I *love* retro style things: photos, clothes, pretty baubles...if it's vintage I'm pretty much gonna like it.

3. This photo reminds me of a very fun night with some of my favorite women:

4. It captures in my essence. This is a very rare event. Kinda like seeing double rainbow. I usually make strange faces so my eyes look kinda freaky in photos. So the fact that my essence comes through is pretty special. It reminds me of my favorite saying. OK, I found it on a perfume ad but the message is solid & a good reminder...

All You Have To Be Is You