I stumbled up New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s interview with CNN yesterday. If you listen to one thing today, spend 12 minutes on this (or – read the transcript if you don’t have access to audio, although the interview is more powerful.)
I’ve been struggling with what – if anything – to post about my thoughts on Katrina. At the end of the day yesterday, I sat in front of a TV for the first time for two hours and watched CNN (I hate TV – I try to avoid it – but I was trapped at the car dealership waiting for them to fix my car, everyone had gone home for the long weekend so work had shut down, and all their magazines were from June) and muttered, mumbled, and swore non-stop. I woke up this morning to yet another beautiful Boulder day, obsessively read all the Katrina news online that I could find, and muttered and mumbled some more. As I caught up on email and blogs, I kept rolling over thoughts in the back of my mind on a blog post.
Fred Wilson did it for me. He captured exactly what I’ve been muttering, mumbling, and swearing about. I’m extraordinarily saddened for everyone caught up in this tragedy, once again thankful that it only impacts me indirectly, and very pensive about how it impacts us as Americans. Thanks Fred for putting your thoughts out there. I noticed that Nick Bradbury also had a post that captures some of my feelings. I am humbled by Anita Taylor. And – as always – my wife Amy is more articulate than I am.
I obviously encourage everyone to help out any way they can. Amy and I donated to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund this morning (if you get my feed, you can do this by clicking on the banner ad that FeedBurner is inserting), I’ve added a Humane Society link under “Promoting Now” on my main blog page, and we’re paying attention to other things we can do to be helpful. NewsGator also committed to give 3% of revenue for the month of September to the American Red Cross and I encourage other companies to do the same.
If you are a runner, the October 2005 Runner’s World had a good intro article on “blogging for runners.” Unfortunately, the Runner’s World website sucks and doesn’t seem to include the full magazine, so if you want to read the article, you’ll have to buy the print edition (or be a more patient searcher than I am). The best part of the article was that it highlighted several active runners’ blogs, including Alison Wade, David Bray, and Joan Nesbit Mabe (an elite master’s runner who blogs). Their feeds are now in NewsGator Online in my “Running” folder and will serve as additional daily motivation to get my ass out there.
I’ve often wondered why the makers of online training software (my newest toy is Motion Based – more after I’ve used it for a few weeks) don’t include a “blog / public diary” capability. Oh well – enough “thinking” about running – time to go do it.
Ah – we’re back in the land of 24 screen movie theaters so our Friday night movie is no longer limited to two choices. However, almost all the movies out right now are crap (you know you are in trouble when the #1 movie last weekend was The 40–Year-Old Virgin) so we decided to give Transporter 2 a try.
We loved the original Transporter – it was definitely a sleeper and Jason Statham was – well – the British Vin Diesel. Frank (Jason) and his rules are back, the evil bad girl is super hot (although a horrifyingly bad shot), and the eastern European villain-scientists are bad news, but doofuses. The action / adventure / car chases / shoot–em-ups are great and – with the exception of a few scenes – I managed to suspend my disbelief for the better part of 90 minutes.
It’s not as good as the first one, but it took my mind off cancer, New Orleans, and other bad things for a couple of hours.
We’re back in Boulder after two months at sea level. My first run of the fall was a bitch – a minute a mile slower than at sea level. Altitude really does matter. But – it was a beautiful one on Dowdy Draw in the mountains just outside of Boulder. Altitude, dirt, rocks, bright blue sky, altitude, cows (which normally I’m scared of, but these were very polite and got out of my way), cow shit, sweat, and altitude.
It’s good to be home. August was my best running month of the year since January so I’m finally confident that I’m over the nagging injuries I’ve had all year.
Charlie Wood has a great example of enterprise RSS up and running in his Spanning Salesforce application. He’s gotten good buzz around it, even without putting out a press release. Consider it an early example of combining RSS with an API to get data enterprise data from a hosted application via RSS.
Simultaneously, Ryan Martens pointed me at the new Salesforce.com CRMSuccess.com blog. Built on top of Typepad with the feed by FeedBurner, this is an outstanding example of an enterprise blog that highlights a specific application (in this case – Salesforce.com) as well as “best practices” for this application (in this case – CRM).
My goal this summer when I was at my place in Alaska was to read a book a day. I didn’t make it, but still covered a lot of ground by reading 28 books in the 60 days we were there. Following is a short synopsis with ratings from 1 to 5 (1=sucks, 5=awesome) with the books segmented by category. If I’ve reviewed the book on my site, I’ve linked the rating number to the review.
The best book of the summer – uncontested – was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I highly recommend all of the books I rated as 5’s. All the 4’s are also must read if you are into the topic. The rest are hit or miss.
- The Long Walk: (5): Incredible story of Slavomir Rawicz’s walk from Poland to Russia to India.
- My Friend Leonard: (5): James Frey’s awesome follow up to his memoir A Million Little Pieces.
- Starting Something (4): The story of Neoforma from the eyes of founder Wayne McVicker.
- Planetwalker: (3): The story of John Francis’s journey of 22 years of walking with 17 years of silence.
- iCon: Steve Jobs (2): Read only if you are a Steve Jobs / Apple fanatic.
- FAB: (5): The “personal fabricator” will be to innovation what the personal computer was in the 1980’s. Read about the today’s version of the future of custom fabrication.
- Economics of Innocent Fraud: (4) John Kenneth Galbraith’s short treatise on a very contemporary topic – fraud.
- Jim Cramer’s Real Money: (1) Don’t waste your time – watch CNBC’s Mad Money instead.
- 109 East Palace: (4): Excellent history of The Manhattan Project from a new perspective.
- What The Dormouse Said: (3): Good, but Fred Wilson liked it a lot more than I did. I guess I haven’t done enough drugs.
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: (5): Hands down the best book of the summer. Jonathan Safran Foer is a genius.
- Old School: (5): Tobias Wolff’s first novel – and it’s a great one.
- Killing Rain: (5): John Rain solves problems and gets laid – with grace.
- How I Paid for College: (5): Absolutely hysterical. I picked it up randomly at the Homer Bookstore – a high school senior’s romp through – well – teenage stuff (sex, drugs, rock and roll, parents, college, money, sex).
- Metro Girl: (3): Janet Evanovich tries a different set of characters – it’s pretty good.
- Eleven on Top: (1): I think I’m done with Stephanie Plum.
- Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: (1): Buddhism plus psychiatry. Dull. I tried.
- Hacking Movable Type: (3): In preparation for MovableType 3.2, I thought I’d tune up my template skills.
- Firefox Hacks: (2): Surprisingly, I found very little new information in this one.
- Selling Online: (2): On the list for novelty factor – this was the guide to First Virtual’s Payment System (a gift from Charley Lax early this summer – thanks Charley – I read it).
- The Know-It-All: (2): A nerd writes about reading the encyclopedia. Stick with Wikipedia.
- Frank Shorter’s Running: (1): Beautiful pictures, but completely dull.
- The Experts’ Guide to 100 Things: (1): Massively overrated. Several people told me it was great – clearly a coffee table book.
Science Fiction / Fantasy
- This Day All Gods Die: (5) I love Stephen Donaldson – his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series still rate as some of my favorite books. This is his foray into science fiction. All five of the books are good, but this one – the finale – is awesome. If you are a sci-fi fan, it’s worth reading the full series starting at the beginning.
- Harry Potter: The Half-Blood Prince: (5): The best HP yet. Finally, a really good guy dies.
- Chaos and Order: (3): You’ve got to read this one to get to the real juicy one (This Day All Gods Die).
- A Dark and Hungry God Arises: (3) You’ve got to read this one to get to Chaos and Order.
- Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix: (3): I realized I’d never read this HP. It was ok – nothing earth shattering.
Yesterday, I wrote about my day exploring entrepreneurship in Fairbanks, Alaska. Today, while reading MIT’s Technology Review (the paper copy – in the bathroom – where all paper magazines should be read) I came across a very timely article titled The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.
One of my recommendations to the folks in Fairbanks was to rally around the University of Alaska Fairbanks as a focal point for entrepreneurial activity in the local community. I used the examples of Route 128 / Cambridge / Boston (MIT, Harvard, BU) and Silicon Valley (Stanford, Berkeley) as examples of major entrepreneurial communities that grew up around great universities (Ed Roberts covers this issue extremely well in his seminal book on entrepreneurship titled “Entrepreneurship in High Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond.”)
The Tech Review article summarized – very effectively – the entrepreneurial ecosystem at MIT and how it works. The print article also included the following links to resources at MIT that don’t seem to be included in the online article.
- MIT Entrepreneurship Center
- $50K Entrepreneurship Competition
- Deshpande Center
- MIT Venture Mentoring Service
- MIT Technology Licensing Office
- MIT Enterprise Forum
- MIT Tech Link
- MIT Sloan Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
- MIT Sloan MediaTech Club
- MIT Sloan BioPharma Business Club
- MIT Science and Engineering Business Club
- MIT TinyTechnology Club
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s a good start. It’s important to recognize that many of these organizations have been around for a long time, have ebbed and flowed in popularity and influence, but have clearly demonstrated staying power in the entrepreneurial action surrounding MIT.