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Showing posts from April, 2011


It's been a busy week out in the Valley--lots of meetings, a missed flight, and random encounters with investors. Throughout the week I've narrowed and refined the pitch and found my sea legs--I'm almost swaggering with confidence (not overly so).   Earlier this week I met with 3 VCs, all of which are now tracking, which means they're intrigued, not saying no, but not whipping out the term sheet just yet.  I've also met with the heads of a number of startups and large-company divisions. This morning I met with the founder of Keyhole (Google Maps)--great guy, and as you usually find here, very smart. It's great to get that kind of exposure and conversation level about your stuff, if only to practice the pitch, though I always learn something.  At the end of next week I hit NYC for investors presentations there.  I added an advisor as well--someone with deep experience in mobile search who now heads a research lab.  This is the true beginning of the formal

The Flow of Capital

I'm sitting in a cafe in Mountain View, if you can call Starbucks a cafe. I'm biased; if it's not independently owned, it's not really a cafe, it's just a place that serves coffee and feels comfortable. A cafe to me is more of a community. Starbucks is that in this location because it's right between a couple of upscale apartment complexes, but this place is ripe for a real cafe. Like Coupa in Palo Alto. I spent the afternoon there on the advice of Steve Blank, who mentioned it in his blog. Everyone here in the biz knows Coupa, but I didn't. Then again, they don't know Chestnut Hill Cafe in Lancaster. Coupa is a community. Yes, the salad was great. It looked like the baked goods (to which I bid adieu weeks ago in a serious attempt to regain some semblance of my pre-movementless self; 14 lbs so far) were amazing. But the community was striking. Stanford kids hammering out homework. Founders hammering out business models. Angels and VCs shooting

Make Your Own Breaks

I can build a company without any outside investment, and very little of my own. In fact I can build a company with nothing at all--I've done it before and can do it again. But when you want to accelerate something great, and the market's converging on your space and starting to educate the public on your behalf, it helps to have a great team already in place. So I'm out on the West Coast this week meeting with people, from investors to advisors to potential team members. It's so refreshing to talk to so many sharp people in such a concentrated period of time. Lancaster's got a lot of smart folks, but there's something to the pace and intensity of the Valley that I really love. When you try raise money, you fail regularly. You get rejected. Rejection sucks. They pass judgment on you, your work, your dream, your vision, your future, and most of the time, the answer is no. Or the VC variation of no, which could be "we don't invest in this space"

Office Hours--Now I'm sitting a Coupa in Palo Alto if anyone wants to come by to chat. Unexpected extension to my trip...missed a flight (nice!). Will do the same Friday as well--would be great to meet you.

Monetizing Excess Capacity

I'm out in the Bay area this week for Jawaya meetings--it's nice to get a different view of the world. I love the plane ride out for productive brainstorming time, and once out here, well it's just great to see tons of great organic restaurants, community gardens, mass transit, and of course good friends. The Bay offers a lot of potential for plaigerism. Steal what you can. Many of the ideas that seem so novel to us in Lancaster have been in practice for decades around here. So steal them. These ideas are free, and just take a commitment from Lancaster to embrace them. Fortunately our city of late has become relatively progressive, especially around green infrastructure, which said a different way, is cheaper, safer, cleaner, and better for us and our downstream neighbors. Danene & Fritz at Live Lancaster have really brought the city along through guidance and grants, and plain persistence. The city administration has done more than go along for the ride; Gray,

Back Online

Well that sucked. Jawaya is back online after Heroku & Amazon finally got things fixed. It's an early lesson about reliability; we all know we need to have a backup plan, but early in a startup we're focused first on finishing the core app. Well. It's in our plans now. Jawaya has a few new subtle but helpful features, so let us know what you think. Click on Following so see the streams of those you follow. It updates in realtime, effectively. Tired and packing for SFO tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Amazon Down, so Jawaya Down

We use Heroku to host Jawaya. Heroku uses Amazon Cloud services, which has been down for quite a while. If you've tried Jawaya today and it doesn't work, that's why. It's also why you might see an error message when you visit sites, because the plugin checks Jawaya for each page you visit and search you perform. Hopefully Amazon will be back up soon, but in the meantime I'm pushing Jawaya to another hosting provider that doesn't have the Amazon dependency. Thanks for your patience!

I am amped!

I've been working on this vision for about 6 months, with the typical ups and downs, a change in platform, UX issues, team building, etc.  The original idea set my brain on fire, and the possibilities really got me amped.  Over the weekend, I got amped again, because one of the key parts left the idea stage, where it's been for six months, and entered the alpha.  Burnout, which I am not suffering from but have in the past, is a state of mind. You lose the passion that drives you through the toughest stuff, the obstacles--both external and internal, both the company's and your own.  I love the passion stage. Sometimes it lasts for years, and the types of things that kill passion have little to do with markets, products, or ideas. It's about people, and the people who have your back. If you lose that, burnout will follow, and stay, until something changes.  I love this stage.

Your Life's Work

I just posted a comment over at Fred's blog ; his post was about going out on top. The rest of this post is mostly from that comment. Retiring from software crosses my mind from time to time. I used to imagine doing something else, so I tried. It didn't work so well. I don't think the question is about going out on top. It's about what your life's work is. The perception or reality of whether you're going out on top or not isn't nearly as important. A few years ago, the Times ran a story in the Sports section about a guy named Chongo. He's an artist and a writer, but mostly he's a crazy expert climber. And homeless. He lived in Yosemite, mostly stayed out of trouble, and climbed the cliffs around the park with equipment he either made himself or collected from his climbs. You have to read the entire article to come to the conclusion I did: this was his life's work. (incredible article, well worth the