June 2011

Weekend Projects: my Seattle Startup Weekend pitch

startup weekendSeattle Startup Weekend starts tomorrow, and right now I really wish I had a good checklist for what I should be doing to prepare and what I should bringPower supplies, internet connectivity in case wireless goes down, post-it notes, my GitHub and WuFoo passwords, juice … what am I forgetting?

Oh yeah, that’s right, my pitch!

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Notes from Underground: Anomalous at the Atrium

lights in the cornerTonight’s the Atrium’s official opening night, with DJ Anomaly headlining.  The venue’s really taken shape over the last few months and it’s been great to be a part of it.   There’s so much to like about it, including the way the lighting makes everybody look good.  Four friends drove up from California, reminding us of other good times with friends coming to town for shows.  The weather’s great in Seattle this weekend, too, so it should be a great night.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, working on qweries‘ next prototype, cleaning up around the house, and looking forward to Startup Weekend.   It’s mostly been good, despite a lot of fighting with buggy software and even some hardware.  Thanks to Insinkerator’s Disposer Doctor, though, I was able to unclog the disposal — I felt like such a guy!

The next several weekends will be pretty crazy, so this seems like a good time to step back.  Almost halfway through the year, how am I doing?  Pretty well, I think — although of course there’s certainly room for improvement.

Looking at my New Year’s resolutions, I’m doing well on almost all of them.  Have more art, beauty, and fun in our lives?  Check.  Listen to new music?  Check.  Hang out more with friends?  Check.  And the list goes on.  I’m even making progress on “get more sleep, work out, meditate regularly, and do the other things i know i should be doing to reduce stress” — and conveniently enough, thanks to qweries next prototype I’ve met some amazing women who have mad skills at helping people make these kinds of lifestyle changes.   So with any luck at all, progress will really accelerate over the rest of the year.

And at the risk of sounding like a mid-year review, I’ve also made great progress on three of my five goalsqweries, family, and activism.  g0ddesses.net is harder to calibrate; I’m really happy with the re-outlining I’m doing, but it’s taken a lot longer than expected and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have during the second half of the year for revising it.   We shall see.  Still, I’m very pleased with where I am overall; and once again, looking forward to things accelerating — especially with qweries, where co-founders and partners will be a big help.

All in all it’s been a great first half of the year, plenty of wonderful time (although never enough) with my closest friends, and the 25th anniversary of our first date.  Oooh!  So I’m in a great mood, and am looking forward to turning my mind off and enjoying the weekend.  This afternoon, I’ll go for a walk and enjoy the sun.  And then tonight at the Atrium, getting into the music, and falling through the limitations of intelligence into pure and simple creativity.

Who knows what DJ Anomaly will be up to but I’m sure it’ll be amazing.   To commemorate it I’m working on some new poems, remixes, and a collection, tentatively titled The anomaly at the atrium.  Stay tuned for more!

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Communications tools for Startup Weekend: some recommendations

startup weekendIf we didn’t have a 54-hour time limit, of course a core team should define the problem, specify roles, set milestones, and designate team members to take on various tasks. But we did have a 54-hour time limit, and the entire team was not going to spend all of Friday night (the equivalent of three months’ time!) waiting for direction. Instead, they leaped into action, which is exactly what they should have done.

Startup Weekend Uncensored, Marina Martin on Marina’s Musings

With Seattle Startup Weekend only a week away, I’ve been thinking about a lot about ways I can get the most value from it — as well as set myself up for what my brother Greg calls a happy accident, where everything just magically aligns.  How cool would it be if I wind up as a part of a team of amazing people coming together around a great idea and functions like a well-oiled machine almost from the get-go?  So it’s worth spending a little time up front thinking about how to make that more likely — making my own luck, as Isaac Elias might say.

One thing I’m doing is roughing out a pitch, keeping the suggestions in What makes a good 1-minute Startup Weekend pitch? in mind, and thinking about how to make it appealing.  A consistent theme in the dozens of posts I’ve read about Startup Weekend experiences and lessons learned is that you get a lot more out if it if you pitch an idea … so I will.   Aaron K Whyte has more in Why I’m pitching at Startup Weekend.

Tools are the other area I’m putting time into.  What can I say: I’m a tools kind of guy.  The right communications tools make teams much more effective and pleasant; the wrong tools increase miscommunications and tensions.  With a team of people who haven’t worked together before, there will be plenty of challenges.  And with only 54 hours, every minute counts.  So time spent in advance can make the weekend much more productive.

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