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Showing posts from January, 2013

Startup Monday:

One of Startup Lancaster's passionate founders has a new angle on mapping--it's basically a social mapping platform that allows you to map your experiences with a lot more detail and connection than Google Maps alone. Leslyn Kantner lives near the Delaware/PA border and drives up every month for Startup Lancaster. I'd say she is one of the more tenacious founders in the group, and has endless optimism, which helps make up for the lack of capital to really give it a go. What turned my head about it wasn't the idea so much as how some people are using it, and how people into things like ancestry have taken a liking to it. And now it's time to show, not tell; it's a lot easier to grok if you visit a few public maps. Business Partners Clients Travel

Startup Lehigh Valley, First Meeting

Last night we held the first of what I hope will be regular monthly meetings of tech startup founders up in Allentown. It was a good start--7 startup founders at different stages of life and progress with their dreams. Let's see if I can remember...we didn't talk about models or the specifics much, just about making stuff happen: A security software company. I'm not quite sure what the product is, but the company currently performs services and is/has developed something he believes will have impact.  An online menu system (I'll have to check that out Mark) An education thing that will help with managing classroom workflow.  Something around online coupons, but I didn't quite catch the gist of it Something around monitoring ocean fishing an online fundraising thing for alumni ...ah...that's 6 because there were two of three co-founders from the Ed company.  The theme that emerged from the introductions was about going all in. We've talked about

Startup Monday: Lehigh Valley Tech Founders Group

The Lehigh Valley Tech startup scene seems to be very active. Ben Franklin Technology Partners has an accelerator program at Lehigh University, and Allentown sports a tech accelerator as well. They've held lots of events including hackathons and Startup Weekend.  Tonight we start Startup Lehigh Valley --a peer mentor group for startup founders. Modelled on Startup Lancaster (51 founders!) and Startup Mechanicsburg  (31 founders!), Startup Lehigh Valley is only for founders of technology product startups--no employees, vendors, spouses, or lawyers. Just founders of tech product startups.  That limitation is important so the conversations aren't diluted by issues these founders do not face, or perspectives not informed by the experience of trying, failing or succeeding, refining, and trying again, very often at great personal risk, and with ever-escalating pressures that come with trying to deliver on the promise of a vision.  Tonight, 12 founders meet for the first t

You Are Not Alone, Again

Last year I wrote this post about dealing with the isolation of being a founde r of a startup.  Aaron Swartz's suicide hit me hard in a lot of ways. I didn't know him and won't guess why he killed himself. I don't know his situation, and when more of his friends and family let us know what they think, we still won't really know why. There is often no why. The rest of this isn't really about Aaron.  Chronic depression and situational pressures can be hard on founders. Starting and leading a company is hard for most people. It can be very isolating, demanding, challenging, and frustrating as well as rewarding. Throw in anxiety, depression, and a series of failures along the way, and it makes for a tough road. Add marriage or a close relationship and your internal life can be hell.  It's especially hard when things aren't going well and you've wrapped your entire life and identity around your work. You've told people how great your visio

Startup Weekend Lancaster, PA

Startup Weekend Lancaster is coming up in late February--here's the first blog post by one of the organizers. It's a national program sponsored by the Kaufman Foundation, and finally coming to Lancaster. The premise is simple: people get together and create startups over a 54-hour period. Have an idea? Come on out. Coder? Welcome. It's a great program, and we're lucky to be able to host it here in the hometown. Learn more here !

A Year of Learning and Gratitude

Last year I made predictions for 2012; it was the first time I've done that. I'm not going to do that this year, partly because it was a long, rambling post, partly because 2012 was a humbling, somewhat painful, and somewhat redemptive year. LEARNINGS It has been a year of learning as well. I've learned how to be more consistently positive. I've learned that a practice of daily gratitude focuses me on what matters and how fortunate I am. I've learned there's a massive difference between advising and leading; it's kind of like the line about the role of the chicken and the pig in your breakfast; the chicken is involved, the pig is committed. I've learned the power of organizing around a simple idea , regardless of how difficult, complex, and multifaceted the transformation from idea to reality through action can be. Lancaster Community Gardens I've relearned my impatience with entrenched systems, attitudes, cultures, and institutions. I&