Month: March 2011
A bunch of our portfolio companies are hiring. Just today, I got emails about new job pages at Cheezburger (Seattle and NY), SendGrid (Boulder and LA), and Attachments.me (Bay Area). But the growth is everywhere – Zynga (throughout the US), AdMeld (NY, London, Berlin), Fitbit (Bay Area), Gnip (Boulder), Oblong (LA), Trada (Boulder), and – well – most of our other portfolio companies.
I know I’ve got to come up with a better way to aggregate jobs across our portfolio, but if you are on the job hunt, take a look. And if you are looking for something in Boulder, don’t forget that I manage a CEO list that I’ll happily email your resume to.
I had a really fun night in Montreal at the opening dinner for the C100 Conference that I’m speaking at tomorrow. The dinner was put on by Accelerate MTL and included some friends as well as a bunch of new people I met tonight.
Dinner was really well done. I sat next to Howard Lindzon who teased and entertained me all night long. Dinner was a pre-set menu so I ordered the non-meat choices and didn’t think twice about it.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 19. I eat fish, so I guess I’m a fishetarian or pescatarian or whatever you want to call me, but no beef, chicken, or pork. Once a year I end up accidentally eating some meat (usually on nachos, soup, or something Italian) and I always realize it around 3 am.
The first course was yellowfin sashmi, which was excellent. The second course was some kind of red tuna like thing which I dug into without a second thought. It was easily the best tuna I’ve ever had. Snarf – and gone. I then made fun of my tablemates who were eating a beet salad (which also looked really good.)
Brad: “You guys made the wrong choice – this tuna tartare was awesome.”
Howard: “That’s not tuna, that’s steak.”
Brad: “Howard – you know I’m a vegetarian – quit giving me shit.”
Howard: “No seriously, look at the menu, you just ate a plate full of stake tartare.”
I looked. In fact, they’d served me “Tartare de boeuf epice, truffe, parmesan, citron.” Yes – it was the best tuna I’ve ever had because it was in fact steak tartare. And it was awesome.
Much mockery of me ensued. It’s not quite 3 am, but my stomach is doing the once a year “you just ate meat” rumble.
It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for another Brad Feld’s Amazing Deal. I can’t help myself – it feels so satisfying to be a deal huckster.
This week’s deal is for one year of web hosting from Cloud Jolt. Cloud Jolt is a hosting company focused on the tech entrepreneur. If you are in the market for a new host, thinking of starting a web company, or need to expand your blog, you should give these guys a try. $39 gives you a year of hosting, which saves you $60 bucks (it’s normally $96). That’s a little over $3 a month for the first year. Pretty hard to beat.
Amy and I spent the last week at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. It was awesome.
I was tired and needed a break. I also needed a focused week to finish the final draft of Book #2 (Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and VC) that I’m writing with my partner Jason Mendelson. The submission date is March 31st and I think we are going to be three days early.
While I wasn’t completely off the grid last week, I hid behind a different email address and didn’t check my email, or the web, or any of my traditional news and info services. It was fascinating to be able to quickly catch up using Gist as I could look at the last seven days of news for the people I cared about in the Dashboard view (they prioritized). There were a few interesting things but like most weeks there was a lot more noise than signal.
So I got to spend my entire week on signal, which consisted of three things:
- Spend a lot of time with Amy.
- Finish the final draft of the book.
- Run and exercise (I rediscovered pilates).
I had huge success on all three fronts, I’m refreshed, and ready for Q2.
I was at lunch at Japango with some of my Foundry Group gang yesterday. When I went to my house in Alaska last July, I took a Mac with me but left my PC at home. Ross bet me $100 that before the month was out I’d beg him to fedex my PC to me. He lost and I decided to use my winnings to take whoever was around yesterday out to lunch.
We were enjoying our sushi and talking about random things, like what our family restaurant was when we were growing up (Godfathers, Pizza Hut, Burger King were three of them) and where the smokers hung out at high school. Someone was mid-sentence when the manager of Japango walked up and asked if I was Brad Feld. I said yes; he handed me the landline phone and said “someone is on the phone with an urgent call for you.”
Everyone paused while he handed me the phone.
Them: In a voice that was clearly masked “Is this Brad Feld”
Me: “Yes, who is this?”
Them: “I wrrrr whrrr your rrrr.”
Me: “I’m sorry – I can’t understand you. What are you saying.”
Them “Brad Feld – I know whrrr you rrr.”
This went on for a few more exchanges. I figured out what the person was trying to say but I wasn’t really processing it so I kept asking what they wanted. Eventually I hung up. I explained to my friends what had just happened and we had a short conversation about checking in on Foursquare and I speculated that was what had prompted the call.
A few minutes later the manager came by, picked up the phone, and asked if everything was alright. I quickly told him the story – he was pretty perplexed and apologized for bothering us. A few minutes later he came back and said the person was on the phone again asking for me. I once again picked up the phone, this time with a little anxiety, but by the time I got on the line the person was gone.
Now, I’ve had my share of Foursquare serendipity moments. I met Kevin Kinsella from Avalon for the first time when he stopped by in a restaurant in New York that I had checked in and was eating at (he was hosting a dinner for me the next week for the Do More Faster book tour in San Diego, but we’d never met in person.) In Boulder, Amy has asked me not to check in until after dinner when we eat together because she doesn’t want the periodic interruption. And I’ve had my share of emails saying something like “I see you are in town – can we get together?”
In general, I like the Foursquare serendipity a lot. I don’t check in at my houses because I don’t want to broadcast where I am overnight, although I will check into a hotel when I’m traveling just in case someone is around. And I’ve got Foursquare wired to Facebook so things show up in my feed. I recently wired up Tripit as well (and to LinkedIn) and that has resulted in some positive serendipity lately.
But yesterday’s call spooked me. I didn’t check in for the balance of the day. When I walked out of Japango, I was a little nervous about where I physically was for the first time I can remember while in Boulder. And I had a heightened awareness of my surroundings last night as I walked home.
I haven’t sorted this out yet, but as an early adopter – and a promiscuous one – of location-based checkin – I’m rethinking how I use this stuff and broadcast where I am. I expect this will be a much bigger issue in the future as humans become transmitters of their location (don’t believe me – just go read Daemon and Freedom.)
I guess it’s a good thing that this just happened and caused me to think harder about the implications. One of the reasons I immerse myself in this stuff is to understand the products and services, but also to understand the impact on humans and our society. While it’s easy to think intellectually about privacy, it’s a whole different deal when you have to process the ideas in the context of real issues that you encounter.
GlueCon is coming up soon and is going to be awesome. Alcatel-Lucent is underwriting a demo pavilion this year that will house fifteen demo pods.
If you are a startup and interested in participating, make sure you apply to get a GlueCon Demo Pod. The pod companies will be chosen on merit, the pod space will be free (that includes electricity, signage, hard wired internet drop — basically, everything – just show up with your computer), and will be chosen by the following judges:
- Eric Norlin (GlueCon Organizer)
- Chris Shipley (Guidewire Group)
- Mathew Ingram (of MESH and GigaOm)
- John Musser (Programmable Web)
- Laura Merling (Alcatel-Lucent)
- Alex Williams (ReadWriteWeb)
- Jeff Lawson (Twilio)
- Jeff Hammond (Forrester)
- Ian Glazer (Gartner)
- Ben Kepes (Diversity.net)
- Krish Subramanian (CloudAve)
- Vinod Kurpad (Best Buy)
- Seth Levine (Foundry Group)
The deadline for applying is March 24 (5pm EST) and the selections will be made by April 1.
If you aren’t applying for the Demo Pod but want to come to GlueCon, the “super early bird price” expires on Friday 3/18. The discount code feld12 takes 10% off the super early bird price (discounted to $472 – this is the lowest price that GlueCon tickets will be available for.)
Today Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lugar (R-IN) and Udall (D-CO) unveiled the Startup Visa Act of 2011. This is an updated version of the Startup Visa bill from last year that is aimed at making it much easier for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a company in the US to get a visa. Today, this process is incredibly difficult and has been stifling the creation of new companies and the corresponding job creation that these companies provide.
The Startup Visa Act of 2011 has several significant improvements over last years bill.
– Lowered, More Realistic Thresholds: The minimum investment has be lowered to $100,000. This is more in line with a larger number of startup companies.
– Broadened Qualifications to Include H-1B or Students with Advanced Degrees: Entrepreneurs already in the US on an unexpired H-1B or those who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science are eligible to apply as long as they have either an annual income of $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and a qualified US investor has agreed to invest at least $20,000. This opens up the Startup Visa to students after they graduate, which is a huge thing.
– Entrepreneurs Who Want to Relocate: Entrepreneurs who’s companies are based outside the US can now relocate as long as their businesses have generated at least $100,000 in sales in the US.
I’m particularly excited about the broadened qualifications. I think every student that graduates with an advanced STEM or computer science degree should have a green card stapled to his or her diploma. It makes no sense to me that we’d make it difficult for the best and the brightest to stay in the US if they want. While this doesn’t go that far, at least it’s now easy for them to stay in the US and start a company if they want.
I love Fitbit. The product is great, the team is great, and I’m psyched to be an investor. I’ve been a user for a while – my data is public – but I just recently started using the food tracker which is superb. The only thing that was missing for me was an API.
Fitbit released the Fitbit API quietly a month or so ago. I’ve encouraged them to make more noise as some great applications are coming out. I use two of them – Earndit and the Fitbit Low Battery Notifier by Joshua Stein. There are a bunch more coming but I thought I’d encourage any of you out there who care about human instrumentation to take a look and consider integrating with Fitbit.
And, if you want the best fitness and sleep tracking product in the universe, go take a look at the Fitbit.
My friends at Orbotix are hiring. Following is the list of open positions. If you fit the description, like playing with robots, want free beer all day, and live in Boulder, email them a note with a resume.
– Game Designer: Are you passionate about gaming and have a deep understanding of game design and game mechanics? This isn’t a programming job but you will need to be able to create wireframes and rough graphics for games that bridge the gap between the virtual world on your phone with the physical gameplay aspects of Sphero.
– Android Game Developer: Same as the iPhone developer but on the Android side.
– Social Media & Marketing Manager: Do you love robots, toys, and games and can think of nothing better to do than talk to people about them – both in person and on Twitter, Facebook, and a blog? If yes, then this is you!
– PHP Developer Internship: This paid internship is for someone fluent in PHP development who can help manage the Orbotix web sites.
– Marketing Internship: This paid internship is for someone who will be working with our marketing manager to promote Sphero.
Orbotix has some exciting announcements happening in the next 30 days; if you’ve been waiting for the right time to join a hot startup in Boulder, now is the time. And, if you are at SXSW, go hunt down the Orbotix gang and participate in their “Where are my balls?” contest to win a free Sphero.