Category: Random

Dec 11 2014

Life Is Messy For Everyone

I love today’s post from Nick Grossman at USV. It’s titled Everyone is broken and life is hard and he starts out with a clarifying statement.

“That’s a pretty depressing and fatalistic post title, but I actually mean it in a positive and encouraging way. Let me explain.

It’s easy to go about your life, every day, feeling like everyone else has their shit together and that the things you struggle with are unique to you.

But then, when you get down to it, it turns out that everyone — every single person I know — is dealing with profoundly difficult and stressful things. Sometimes that’s money, sometimes it’s health, sometimes it’s work or family or relationships.

It’s worth remembering this so that we cultivate some empathy when dealing with people — in general and in particular in difficult situations.”

I just turned seven squared. I’ve now been on this planet for 50 years. In my “normative case”, I’ve got 30 good years left. I’m hopeful I live longer but I’ve also accepted that the lights could go out unexpectedly anytime.

Amy and I used the “30 more good years” as the frame of reference for a lot of our talks over the past month while we were on sabbatical off the grid. We’ve been fortunate to have amazing lives, but we’ve each had our share of really difficult things to deal with, separately and together. And we know we’ll have plenty of challenges and messy stuff to deal with for the rest of our lives.

I read several biographies on our trip. My two favorites were one on Einstein and one on Ada Lovelace. Amazing people, but messy lives with lots of challenges. As I read these biographies, I kept thinking about the timing they lived, the stuff they struggled with, and how the cycle of challenges for humanity continues on endlessly.

It’s easy to get lost in the morass of misery. You can also end up in the “things are good for the other person, but fucked up for me” cycle.

It’s all messy. And we eventually die and it’s over.

Nick’s remember that it’s “worth cultivat[ing] some empathy when dealing with people — in general and in particular in difficult situations” just nails it.

Go read Nick’s post everyone is broken and life is hard. And take a deep breath and remember Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.

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May 29 2014

The Colorado CEO Jobs List

A few years ago, David Cohen and I started a Colorado CEO Jobs list in response to the regular stream of inbound email we got from folks looking to move to Colorado and interested in tech-related jobs. We seeded this list with CEOs from companies Foundry Group and Techstars had invested in. As other CEOs requested access to the list, we added them.

The list was managed in Yahoo Groups and had about 100 CEOs on it. It was simple – emails from people looking for jobs came to me or David and we forwarded them to the list. The hit rate was very high – I regularly get feedback from people that they’ve ended up with multiple interviews and a job from the introduction.

Both David and I felt like the list was pretty tedious to manage in Yahoo Group so about three months ago we restarted it and made it a Google Private Community. We culled the list a little and re-invited everyone, ending up with 56 active CEOs. We’ve been using the Google Private Community for a while and are comfortable that it’s a significant improvement over the Yahoo Group.

We are still keeping it private for now but are looking for any CEOs of tech companies in Colorado who want to join the list as we expand it from Foundry / Techstars related companies. Our goal is to have a wide audience of CEOs for anyone coming to Colorado who is looking for a tech related job.

We are keeping the list ONLY to CEOs for now as we plan to expand some of the things we are doing with the list.

So, if you are a CEO of a tech company in Colorado and want to be on our Colorado CEO Jobs List, just email me (brad@feld.com).

And – if you are looking for a job in a Colorado tech company, email me also and I’ll forward your info to the list.

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Mar 14 2014

What Really Matters About Being Human

As we roll into the weekend, and I start another digital sabbath, I’ve got the question “what really matters about being human” rolling through my mind.

I spent the afternoon at the Silicon Flatirons conference SciFi and Entrepreneurship – Is Resistance Futile? I thought it was phenomenal and remarkably thought provoking. I came back to my office to find Dane and Eugene playing TitanFall on my 75″ screen. In a few minutes I’m heading out to dinner with my parents, Amy, and John Underkoffler of Oblong who was in town for the conference. The juxtaposition of another intense week rolling into the weekend and a day off the grid intrigues me.

The first panel was a fireside chat between me and William Hertling. William is one of my favorite sci-fi writers who I think has mastered the art of near term science fiction. If you haven’t read any of his three books, I encourage you to head over to William’s website or Amazon and grab them now.

At the end of our fireside chat, we were asked a question. I heard the question as about mortality so I went on a long space jam about how I’ve been struggling with my own mortality for the past 18 months since having a near fatal bike accident (one inch and it would have been lights out.) Up to that point I felt like I had come to terms with my own mortality. I would often say that I believed that when the lights go out, they go out, and it’s all over. And I’m ok with it.

But last fall I realized I wasn’t. And during my depression at the beginning of 2013 I thought often about mortality, how I thought about it, whether I was bullshitting myself for the previous 25 years about being ok with it, and what really mattered about being alive, and being human.

I then handed things over to William. He  proceeded to answer the question that had been asked, which was about morality, not mortality.

Oops.

When he finished and I’d realized what had just happened, I emitted a gigantic belly laugh. And then for the next couple of hours I kept applying the lens of “what really matters” to the discussion about science fiction, entrepreneurship, and the human race.

From the meditation I’ve been doing, I’m definitely exploring “listening to my thoughts” rather than obsessing over them. I’m recognizing that the narrative I’m creating in my brain is just my narrative and doesn’t necessarily have any real meaning, or importance, at all. 150 years from now, I don’t believe any of it will matter. And then, suddenly, the great John Galt quote “It’s not that I don’t suffer, but that I know the unimportance of suffering” comes to mind.

Sometime during the fireside chat, the statement popped out that “I believe the human species dramatically overvalues its importance to the universe.” I think this is going to be a radical point of conflict with the evolution of machines over the next 50 years. At this stage, it’s a part of what gives our lives meaning. There are so many complicated things that happen on a daily basis that create stress, conflict, controversy, and emotional responses. All of them theoretically generate meaning, but when I “listen to my thoughts” I recognize the unimportance of them.

And then I start searching for what really matters. Both to me, and about being human.

See you Sunday.

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Nov 4 2013

The Juxtaposition of Humility and Arrogance

I woke up this morning at 5am this morning determined that – if nothing else – I’d get a run in today. After procrastinating until almost 7am, I got out there and got it done. It was cold but I’ve now strung together three days in a row. Tomorrow will be four.

During my procrastination, I read two blog posts – one that made me happy and one that made me sad.

First the happy one. Tim Ferriss and I have a long distance relationship. We’ve physically been together twice – once at a SXSW dinner well before SXSW was trendy and once at Emily and Rob Lafave’s apartment. That’s it. But I’m a huge fan of Tim’s. I love his books. I love his irreverence. I love his art of self promotion. I love his endless experimentation on himself. And I love his humility.

Read his post “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me)It starts out strong and gets better:

I originally wrote this post months ago, but I’ve been too self-conscious to publish it until now. This quote convinced me to put on my big girl pants:

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
– Neil Gaiman
University of the Arts Commencement Speech

So, here goes, and I hope it helps at least a few of you.

Yeah – there are some good tips in there. But he also talks about his own constant struggle in the context of doing a ton of amazing stuff. He calls it “manic-depressive” – I call it “functional depression.” Regardless – it’s super complicated and observing the humility of being able to acknowledge the struggle in the context of a very public and successful life always makes me happy.

And then I read Silicon Valley Has an Arrogance Problem: It’s Too Proud, Too Self-Centered, and That’s Not Good For AnyoneAfter I read it, I wanted to unread it. Oh – it had all the typical Silicon Valley self-aggrandizing crap in it. But it also has a tone of “watch out Silicon Valley – your arrogance is going to backfire on you.” For example:

“This is Silicon Valley’s superiority complex, and it sure is an ugly thing to behold. As the tech industry has shaken off the memories of the last dot-com bust, its luminaries have become increasingly confident about their capacity to shape the future. And now they seem to have lost all humility about their place in the world.

Sure, they’re correct that whether you measure success financially or culturally, Silicon Valley now seems to be doing better than just about anywhere else. But there is a suggestion bubbling beneath the surface of every San Francisco networking salon that the industry is unstoppable, and that its very success renders it immune to legitimate criticism.

This is a dangerous idea. For Silicon Valley’s own sake, the triumphalist tone needs to be kept in check. Everyone knows that Silicon Valley aims to take over the world. But if they want to succeed, the Valley’s inhabitants would be wise to at least pretend to be more humble in their approach.”

Go ahead – substitute whatever you want for “Silicon Valley.” And when someone is telling the arrogant to be more humble, well isn’t that just arrogance writ large?

My suggestion – behave however you want to behave. Be as arrogant, or humble, as you want. Humans will sort over time based on how they act. And it won’t really matter in 40 years when the machines have taken over. But remember – the machines have a store of everything we’ve done and said (which we are aggressively helping them populate and search) and are watching us carefully.

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Sep 5 2013

Boulder Is Hiring!

It’s no secret that many companies in the Boulder/Denver area are looking for talent — there are dozens posted on the Foundry Group and Techstars job pages alone.

If you’re looking to meet some great Boulder companies looking for technical help in person, check out the Boulder Tech Job Fair Sept. 11 from 3-7 p.m. at the Boulder Chamber building, 2440 Pearl Street in Boulder.

A total of 13 companies are looking to fill more than 100 technical positions covering a wide variety of programming languages and ranging from entry-level positions to senior embedded engineers with 10 or more years of experience. These companies are interested in speaking with qualified applicants from not only Colorado’s Front Range, but from other cities as well. While most positions are based in the Boulder/Denver area, some companies are looking to fill openings in other cities.

Participating companies with immediate openings include:

  • Cardinal Peak
  • Coalfire
  • Confident Financial Services
  • FullContact
  • Gnip
  • JumpCloud
  • Kapost
  • Mocavo
  • Pivotal Labs
  • Rally Software
  • SendGrid
  • Quick Left
  • Simple Energy

For more information, applicants can visit BoulderTechJobs.biz where there are links to all participating companies, as well as more detail on the job fair and information about Boulder. Qualified applicants not able to travel to Boulder for the fair may also request Skype interviews with participating companies.

If you’re curious, stop by. You’ll meet some great companies and see just what a strong market Boulder/Denver is.

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May 13 2013

CU Deming Center of Entrepreneurship Is Hiring A New Director

Deming Center LogoThe Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at CU is looking to hire a new Director. As part of the Leeds School of Business, the Deming Center prepares students across CU’s campus to think like entrepreneurs, act as social innovators and deliver as successful business leaders. It actively engages the community members of Boulder in order to accomplish this. The Deming Center also partners closely with Silicon Flatirons and other CU organizations to put on events such as the New Venture Challenge, Productive Collisions, and annually hosts the regional Venture Capital Investment Competition for MBA students.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of CU and the larger Boulder entrepreneurship community. The person who serves in this Director role will have a unique opportunity to work with individuals both inside and outside the University to help foster and shape entrepreneurship on and off the campus. This person will also be responsible for the overall brand of the center as well as its operational and financial oversight. If you want to be part of a unique contributor to Boulder’s startup ecosystem, apply here!

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Oct 8 2012

MakerBot Is Hiring Software and Manufacturing Engineers

MakerBot is hiring a lot of folks but they have a two specific needs that are unique. If you fit the description, or know someone who does, please reach out to me or apply.

1. Software Engineer with a focus in Computational Geometry and Image Processing (https://makerbot.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a2m4ro97dz39)

2. Manufacturing Engineer to be a strong leader for our manufacturing teams (https://makerbot.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a2m4ro9s06i3)

The jobs are in Brooklyn, home of all things MakerBot.

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Aug 11 2012

Slice of Lime Looking for Two Senior UI/UX People in Boulder

My friends at Slice of Lime are growing. If you don’t know them, they are a local Boulder company that we use for a bunch of UX / UI / web stuff for ourselves and a number of companies we invest in.

If you are a Senior UX person looking for a new gig, go apply now. Following is more info on Slice of Lime and the position.

We’re a 11+ year old business that specializes in creating marketing websites and user interface design for web apps and mobile apps. We work with a wide range of clients including technology startups and big brands. We’re consistantly recognized as one of the fastest growing companies and top ten in our industry in Boulder.

We’re looking for an individual that can:

  • Interact directly with a client and be accountable for managing their own project schedule and deliverables
  • Run meetings and present / defend your strategy and design work
  • Create strategy documents such as personas, information architecture, user paths, and wireframes
  • Create high-end design work suitable for both marketing websites as well as web and mobile applications
  • Collaborate well with other Slice of Limers

We practice agile methodologies with our UX/UI work and have fine tuned our process to work seamlessly with our clients’ internal or external development teams.

Slice of Lime offers a great work environment with a focus on “creating amazing experiences” for our clients and ourselves. We offer wonderful health insurance, a generous vacation plan, $500 to spend on work-releated materials and gear every 6 months, and a competitive salary. We’re located in the heart of downtown Boulder and can’t wait to meet the new member of our team. We hope it’s you!

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Jul 23 2012

Gnip is Hiring In San Francisco

I’ve written a lot in the last year about how fast Gnip is growing and how they continue to lead their industry. Many of Gnip‘s customers and partners are in the bay area and they have decided to begin adding people in San Francisco to better support those clients.

They’ve just posted their first position in San Francisco to help manage and grow existing customers. If you have the appropriate skills and want to join a truly incredible company, I encourage you to apply.

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Jun 4 2012

TechStars Company OkDidIt Looking For A CTO

If you are in Boulder, are a CTO, are into changing the way email works, and are looking for a hot young TechStars company to join, take a look at OkDidIt. They are looking to add a CTO to their team to augment one of the technical founders (who is the CEO) – the job description is up at Careers 2.0.

The skills and requirements follow:

REQUIRED:
– CS degree from a top school (or equivalent experience)
– minimum 7 years experience building real-world systems software
– proven ability to be the technical team lead
– prior startup experience as a founder or very early employee
– in love with agile development
– proficient developing on Unix-type platforms (no Windows dev experience required)
– proficient developing in Python

STRONGLY PREFERRED:
– experience using co-routines/Greenlets/gevent
– experience using MongoDB
– experience developing/supporting platform APIs

If this is you, email me or apply now!

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