Month: November 2019

Nov 19 2019

Ten Percent Happier

Over the weekend, we spent time with a friend who works for Ten Percent Happier.

I’ve explored most of the popular meditation apps in the past few years after getting started meditating on a regular basis by using Headspace. I eventually switched to Insight Timer since I usually now just do silent meditation for 20 minutes first thing each morning.

I had never tried Ten Percent Happier, but I felt connected to it because of Ben Rubin, one of the co-founders. We looked seriously at investing in Ben’s prior company Zeo early in the life of Foundry (around the time we invested in Fitbit) and I had several Zeo’s scattered around my world that I used regularly. When I had the headband on, Amy referred to me as “King Brad” which was about the only redeeming thing that happened when I had the headband on (other than getting some data about my sleep.)

On Sunday, I downloaded Ten Percent Happier and gave it a try. I’ve been doing it alongside my 20 minutes of silence with Insight Timer and have been really enjoying. The onboarding is extremely clean and the first teacher – Joseph Goldstein – is spectacular.

I’ve applied beginners’ mind to my Ten Percent Happier use. While I meditate regularly, I’m listening carefully to what Goldstein says. He’s one of the founders of the Insight Meditation movement in the west and his tiny, bite-sized starting points are incredibly poignant. I remember having similar aha moments when I started up with Headspace, so I don’t have a strong opinion as to which is better, but my beginner’s mind has been well-nourished the past few days.

If you are interested in meditation and mindfulness and just want to see what it’s above, give the Ten Percent Happier app a try. It’s got a 7-day free trial to give you a taste to see if it’s for you.

Comments
Nov 15 2019

Shirt Competition: Brad Feld vs. Warren Katz

For almost 30 years, I’ve shared a huge number of life experiences with Warren Katz.

Yesterday, I did a breakfast AMA at Cooley’s office near La Jolla with the Techstars MDs and PMs from the western half of the US. At the end of the hour, we were presented with the above video from Warren as the final word on a question that is on everyone at Techstars’ mind.

I suppose if I used Facebook, I’d post this there. But I don’t, so it lives here for all of posterity.

I just showed it to Amy and she laughed out loud four times during the four minutes, which is a record for her since she doesn’t really understand humor very well. But, like me, she adores Warren. And his shirts.

Comments
Nov 14 2019

Happy 13th Anniversary Techstars

Techstars was born 13 years ago. There’s a delicious article in the Denver Post that was the launch article of the first accelerator in Boulder titled How TechStars was born from 5/18/07. The photo is fun.

Some of my favorite lines from the article include:

Jared Polis, Brad Feld, David Cohen and David Brown are the “professors” – the founders of an organization called TechStars, created to mentor 10 startup companies for the summer. The inaugural session kicks off Monday.

“I had never met David (Cohen),” Feld said. “We had a random meeting and in 15 minutes, I was totally in love with the idea.”

“I was thinking about the gaps in my own experience. I made a lot of mistakes,” said Cohen. “I wish I had had more mentorship, and more access, not only for capital, but the critical thinking. How to think about (starting a company) and approach it from a strategic standpoint.”

“Certainly people who are investing look into us and what we’ve done. There’s really a strong bench of support and proven success there,” Polis said. “I wish when I was first starting out I had access to this kind of brain trust.”

“I love helping start companies,” Feld said. “The four of us funded TechStars this year. If it’s successful, we’ll do it again.”

TechStars hopes the summer will shine light on Colorado as a top destination for technology startups.

Happy birthday Techstars. It’s pretty awesome to see what you’ve become after 13 years. And, thanks to everyone who has been involved throughout the entire experience, as Techstars simply wouldn’t be relevant without all of you.

Comments
Nov 13 2019

Laser Engraved Personalized Chocolates

I love chocolate. I love lasers. So it would be logical that I’d love chocolates that are engraved with personalized messages with lasers.

I met Jennifer, the founder of Noteworthy Chocolates, in Boston at the Authors & Innovators event. She handed me some chocolates engraved with “Authors & Innovators” we talked a while and she sent me a long story about how she figured out how to laser engrave chocolates.

A week later a special box of laser engraved chocolates arrived at my office for me and Amy.

They were clever and delicious. Jennifer won me over and I expect that laser engraved chocolates will be on my gift rotation (for gifts I give my friends) in the future.

If you like chocolates and lasers and want to give some customized laser engraved chocolate gifts for the holidays, Noteworthy Chocolates has you covered.

Comments
Nov 12 2019

Through the Looking Glass: Chapter 2

Personal robots and replicators and instrumented humans. I like to invest in areas predicted by the mountains of science fiction I read.  

Today, I’m delighted to report that another science fiction dream is becoming real. Take a look at this insane video of the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display, which is the world’s largest and highest resolution holographic display.

Foundry invested in the Looking Glass team in 2017. Since then they’ve shipped thousands of desktop holographic developer kits. But the Looking Glass 8K is something different.

The Looking Glass 8K is more like the looking glass that Alice stepped through. It’s a holographic window for groups of up to a dozen people, connecting the world of atoms we inhabit with the world of 3D digital space. In tribute to the sci-fi dream, the holograms in this new iteration also aren’t bound by the physical volume of the device itself – they can extend in front of and behind the glass. 

And this all works without VR or AR headgear.

The Looking Glass 8K is in production now in limited quantities, with units shipping in volume in Spring 2020. Arrange for a private demo to see one for yourself by going to look.glass/8K.  

I think it’s the universe telling me to get ready for Season 4 of The Expanse.

Comments
Nov 8 2019

Give First Podcast with Rajat Bhargava

It was a delight to interview Rajat Bhargava for the Give First Podcast. We’ve been working together since 1994 when I made my first angel investment in Raj’s first company (NetGenesis). We’ve worked on a number of companies since then, some successful, and some not, but our friendship – even with our own personal ups and downs – has been a constant.

Raj covers a lot of ground in this podcast, including some origin stories, his relationship with Will Herman (who co-invested in NetGenesis with me at the very beginning, which is how he met Raj), a moment where I treated Raj poorly and our relationship could have easily gone off the rails if we hadn’t both put energy into acknowledging what had happened and getting back to a healthy place, and how he thinks about Give First, both in the Boulder startup community and at his current company JumpCloud.

Raj – 25 years later, I still learn something from you every time we talk. You are a gem. I’m so glad you came up to me after that MIT guest lecture oh so many years ago.

Comments
Nov 7 2019

One Reason Superhuman Is So Much More Effective For Me Than Gmail

I’ve been a Superhuman email fan for a while. I decided a week ago to go try Gmail and see if I still liked Superhuman so much better.

After about two hours, I went back to Superhuman.

Several days later, I tried Gmail again, deciding that I was just grumpy for some reason. I bounced back to Superhuman within an hour.

This time I sat and thought about why I liked Superhuman so much better. It took a little while for it to come to me, but when it did it was painfully obvious.

When I’m looking at Superhuman, I am processing one consistent font. All the time. It’s the same for every email, except the occasional over formatted and stylized email marketing newsletter thingy. My focus stays on the content and the clean screen. I just read and respond.

When I’m in Gmail, there are a zillion random things everywhere. Emails are in different fonts – both types and sizes. My brain is constantly processing multiple inputs that make me tired, distract me, and slow me down.

All I really want to do it get through my email. When I just sit and process it email by email, with no context switching or distractions, it gets done quickly. Superhuman facilitates this; Gmail doesn’t.

Blogging is similar. The newest WordPress editor is delicious. I just type. It’s clean, simple, and always the same.

When I chew on it more, it’s part of why I love reading on a Kindle. The font is always the same, no matter what I’m reading. Suddenly, my brain is not processing different textures when I’m processing text.

It’s kind of clear to me when I type it out, but it wasn’t obvious until I thought about the other day. We’ve taken the UI to a place of divergence – it’s either consistent and simple or chaotic and complex. I’m all about consistent and simple.

Comments
Nov 6 2019

Looking for Mentors for Entrepreneurs for All – Longmont, Colorado

Earlier this year Amy and I, along with a number of other local friends, supported the rollout of a new organization in Longmont called Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll).

EforAll is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-resourced individuals pursue their dream of starting a business. They believe everyone should have the opportunity, resources, and support they need to successfully start their business. Its programs include a free, full-year Business Accelerator that utilizes a cohort model and includes intensive business training and mentorship as well as quarterly community pitch contests.

Since I first wrote about their launch, EforAll Longmont has hosted two pitch contests featuring over 50 entrepreneurs. To get a feel for the activity, take a look at the article about Lorne Jenkins after he won the top prize at one of the pitch competitions.

EforAll Longmont is accepting applications for its first Accelerator program which will start in early January. To help these entrepreneurs, EforAll is looking for experienced professionals across a wide range of industries to serve as mentors for these entrepreneurs. I’ve written extensively about the importance of effective mentorship and one of the things that I love the most about EforAll is their mentorship model.

After spending time with a few EforAll entrepreneurs, I came away excited by their ideas and aspirations. What they need now are mentors who can serve as their champion, coach, and support network as they navigate the challenges of starting their own business.

If you are an entrepreneur or business leader living near Longmont, Colorado, especially in an adjacent town like Boulder, and you are interested in becoming a mentor for EforAll, please reach out to Harris Rollinger, the Executive Director of EforAll Longmont or volunteer online to become a mentor.

Comments