July 2010

The NWEN First Look Forum: early-bird advice

Update: the final deadline is August 23.
Rebecca Lovell’s The Art of the One-Page App has some very helpful advice
Don’t delay! Apply today!

  • If you’ve launched an innovative business with growth potential….
  • And you’re looking for expert coaching and some exposure to the investment community….
  • And you have not yet presented your plan to an angel group membership or VC partnership…

…then NWEN’s First Look Forum could be the perfect opportunity for you!

Indeed!  Dog food, e-forks and other ideas in TechFlash, Software Vs. Medical Startups: Online Travel Is the Winner in XConomy , Why We’re Shouting “Thank You” from the Rooftops, and For the Love of the Craft on Qworky’s blog tell the story of April’s finals, where Mikal’s awesome 5-minute presentation got Qworky to the top five.  We also participated last fall, when we made it to the round of 20 and got some great feedback, calibration, and connections.  It’s a great event, and was really worth the time and energy we invested.

The next FLF is fast approaching, and the application deadline is August 18 has been extended to August 23.  Submitting by the early-bird deadline of August 2 gives an extra round of feedback and a bonus shmoozing opportunity at the “Early-bird reception”. If you’re potentially seeking for angel funding in the next six months or so,  it’s worth investing the time to put together a one-page executive summary.  The application form and the full schedule are on NWEN’s site.

Event chair Rochelle Whelan and NWEN executive director Rebecca Lovell asked me to be part of the volunteer organizing committee to represent the entrepeneurs’ perspective.  My pleasure!  And when I think back on my perspective back when Sally, Mikal, and I were first thinking about applying application, the word that springs to mind is “uncertain”: did it make sense for us to participate?   If we went for it, how to maximize the value we get from participating and our chances of doing well?  Presumably others are in the same boat.

So I’d like to pass on some excellent advice we got from our advisors and a learning from our own experience.  And if other past participants have suggestions, please drop them in the comments.

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Sweet Kona sunsets: Summer vacation 2010

Our last real vacation had been in June 2007, also on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Just a few weeks before we left Microsoft had told me that they planned to lay me off (although they didn’t give notice for three months) so I was somewhat stressed.  Since then, well, by the end of 2007 I was too exhausted to go anywhere.  2008 was an activism year and I put my life on hold for CFP, Get FISA Right, and Voter Suppression Wiki.  We had planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at the beginning of 2009, but didn’t manage to train for it and were busy with the remodeling so didn’t actually go anywhere.  And then there was CFP.  By last summer Qworky was in high gear: we decided to postpone our September vacation because we at a critical point if we were boing to get funding by the end of the year.  Then didn’t go anywhere in January vacation because engineering was on a role and we needed to build on the momentum in order to ship and close funding.  Then there was all the stuff related to my transitioning to an advisors role at Qworky — and CFP.

So by the time we got to Waikoloa on Hawaii at the end of June we were really really ready for a vacation.

It was great: sunsets, snorkeling, malasadas and Waimea tomotaos, driving around in a convertible listening to mix CDs, fireworks on the 4th, seeing John Keawe over dinner at Bamboo in Hawi, ziplining, being on a boat …  what’s not to like?  And I slept eight hours a night for the first time since 2003.  Yay!  Hmm, do you think the lack of stress might have something to do with it?

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It’s a service business. Did Expedia fail to get the memo?

D’s organization Privacy Activism is going to be debuting the graphic novel Networked: Carabella on the Run at ComiCon … how cool is that?  So I was making plane reservations for her.  We usually fly Alaska Airlines up and down the west coast — after a decade of doing the two-city thing, we’re “MVP golds” which means that if necessary they’ll kick off the co-pilot to give us a seat.  But since she needs to stop in San Francisco on the way it turned out to be a lot cheaper to do the SF/San Diego leg on another airline.  So I turned to Expedia.

After filling everything out, I hit the “pay for booking now” button.  It whirled around for quite a while and eventually told me

Your booking request could not be completed

Drat.  I hate software.  I tried again; same result.   I switched to another credit card.  No dice.   So I called it a night and went to sleep.

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