Startup Weekend a HUGE Success!

My last post was about Startup Weekend Dallas.  Well, it has come and is almost gone.  The presentations are going on as I type.

First up is Meetup Sports (@meetupsports).  It’s an iPhone app that allows you to use your location to find people in your area that want to play a sport.  Say you want to play tennis, you enter some basic info and it gives you a map that pinpoints who wants to play in your given time window.  I’m a runner and this would be AWESOME!  Love it guys.

What are you guys going to do tomorrow?  Sleep

Next up, DriveLegal.  It manages trucker driving documents.  Noncompliant drivers cost the industry millions every year.  Way to fix an expensive problem!

On to 1FTP (@1ftpclient).  This idea was proposed by a web designer that has way too many FTP logins and wants to manage them via the cloud.  No more searching for old e-mails with FTP passwords when mom wants you to update her site.  It even lets you manage access rather than giving everyone the master credentials.  Thatsa nice!

They are currently in “pre alpha”.  🙂 (@pickyplates); I am so part of their target audience.  Enter ingredients you do and don’t like, it keeps it in your profile and only pulls up recipes that you would like.  Mmmm, tasty idea.

OK, it’s a group of guys in cowboy hats (real funny @amuse).  Only in Texas…

It’s 1-800-LawGuns.  Hmmm, wonder what they do?  The music and Yosemite Sam are a nice touch.  Didn’t know lawyers aren’t allowed to advertise directly.  They are a 3rd party lead gen arm.  Cool!  A couple of lawyers and an app that was already built for outside contractors.  Applying an existing solution to a new market.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”  The app isn’t totally functional… yet.

ActivePub (@activepub) just went and wow, they’re awesome.  OK, full disclosure – that’s my team.  Check us out.  We are revolutionizing the scientific publication review process.  Why yes, that is a $19B market.  Glad you asked.

Last, but certainly never least – do you like gifts?  Then OPENwishlists is for you.  No more having to go to specific vendors to make a list.  No more friction, no more being married to one retailer.  Open source it baby!  “Standards are boring.”

So that’s it from the Big D Startup Weekend.  Thank you and good night.



November 23, 2009 at 2:15 am 1 comment

startup weekend

So I agreed to chair Dallas’ Startup Weekend being held during Global Entrepreneurship Week.  I’m really excited about the event!  We’re getting a lot of the local entrepreneurship organizations involved and hope to see a lot of new faces.

Here’s the basic press release.  Feel free to pass it along.

Startup Weekend Dallas chosen as a featured event for Global Entrepreneurship Week

Date:  November 20-22

Time: 6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday

Location: Dallas Infomart, 1950 N Stemmons Frwy

Startup Weekend is excited to announce its partnership with The Kauffman Foundation as a featured event for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) this year.  Last year GEW orchestrated 25,022 events in 77 countries with 3 million attendees and hundreds of millions reached through PR initiatives.  Only 10 of those 25,022 events receive “featured” event status.  Those 10 are the ones GEW pushes through the mainstream media and their extensive social networks in 77 countries.  Startup Weekend is proud to have been chosen as one of those 10 events! This is an amazing opportunity for the Startup Weekend Community and its partners to gain even more visibility worldwide.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour startup event that provides the networking, resources, and incentives for individuals and teams to go from idea to launch. Get connected with local developers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Build Community. Start Companies. No Talk. All Action.

Startup Weekend targets the top talent from all walks of life in the local entrepreneurial community and put them in a setting where anything is possible. In the past 2 years, 250+ startups have started, 9,000+ entrepreneurs have been inspired, many teams have started to generate revenue during the 54hr event.  Others have even gone on to direct angel and VC investment.  None of these stats take into account the amazing networking, ongoing professional relationships, and amazing experience that happens at every event.

Startup Weekend is a Non-Profit in Seattle, WA run by local communities and managed by Clint Nelsen and Marc Nager. The weekend event has touched over 52 cities and 12 countries with the support of local community facilitators and sponsors. They are passionate entrepreneurs on a mission to help other entrepreneurs and facilitate innovation. This event done in conjunction with the spotlight from Global Entrepreneurship Week will be an event to watch!

For more information, visit the websites below or contact Dallas Startup Weekend chairwoman, Gabriella Draney at

October 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

Why I Share ALL My Ideas

There seem to be two types of idea people in the world; those that share their ideas and those that like to keep them secret, hidden away from the world until, well I don’t really know when.  

Since this is my blog, I’ll talk about why I share my ideas openly and freely to all who will listen.  First of all, just like with open source code, sharing and allowing other people to point out strengths, weaknesses, flaws and just plain stupid thinking is invaluable.  Enough said.

Second, and my personal favorite, is that if there is someone out there who can take your idea, that you have all this passion for, and execute better – then they should.  Because if no one hears about the idea, you open up shop and then they execute better… well, I think you know how this story ends.  

Finally, I just love to hear people get excited about all my hairbrained ideas.  Really.  One of my favorite ideas that there is no chance I will ever execute on is what I like to call the “Starbucks of soda”.  You can probably figure it out.  If not, I’d be happy to share, especially if you want to steal it.  I told a couple of baristas at Starbucks the idea today and they were off and running.  By the time I left they were wondering why they didn’t make Italian sodas at their store.  So maybe they will submit the idea to management and we’ll see a new offering for the summer.  It has nothing to do with the original idea, but it got them thinking about something other than soy lattes and greeting guests by name.  

And that brings me to a theme that we’ve probably all heard a lot about lately and Mike Maples Jr. was nice enough to explain last week at Capital Factory‘s demo day.  That is the “network effect”.  Mike believes it is why the west coast culture is so successful.  The term wasn’t very well defined, but I took it to mean that people were openly sharing ideas and resources in great numbers.  I like to think of it as interdependence.  So I’m doing my tiny part to get people in Dallas thinking like this, even if it is just a couple of awesome baristas.  

If you care to read more about open source ideas and haven’t already seen Mark Cuban’s Stimulus Plan, have a look.  The link has all the updates too.  He explains it a lot better than I ever could.

Now let’s get a little more network effect in DFW.  I hold a weekly BS Night to brainstorm ideas with other local entrepreneurs and we get so much more out of it than you would think.  Give it a try and start one of your own.

September 14, 2009 at 7:53 pm 2 comments

Overcoming Irrationality

Seems like a lot of decision-making going on these days makes little sense.  Government, corporations, individuals… not that they/our decisions ever made much logical sense before. 🙂 

I bring this up because I just finished an interesting book that deals with irrational behaviors and gives some very startup relevant observations.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a little bit of a bookworm.  Scratch that, I’m the kind of bookworm that actually got grounded from books when I was a kid.  All embarrassing revelations aside, I really enjoyed one particular part of this book that talks about how sticking with past commitments can be irrational.  The book by the way is written by brothers Ori and Rom Brafman and is called “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior”. 

In the epilogue, Ori and Rom talk about Intel and the 1985 decision made by CEO Andy Grove and cofounder Gordon Moore to get out of memory chips and into microprocessors.  The turning point came when Grove asked Moore “If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?”.  Moore answered with no hesitation that “He would get us out of memories”.   It’s pretty easy to see the logic when put that way.  Do nothing and die or do something and see what happens.   Maybe the stat that 50% of all VC backed CEO’s get fired in the first year after investment could be skewed a little if we all started thinking more along these lines.  There are some other tips in the book on communicating with VC’s if you’re interested.

That’s it for my poolside deep thoughts (this was actually written on Sunday).  

Update on the fund:  We start “officially” fund raising this week, so don’t screen my calls and project some good thoughts our way.

August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Dallas startup Traxo launched in beta

I first met Andy Chen and Andres Fabris of Traxo last year when they came to pitch at HP Growth Partners.  They weren’t looking for enough money to fit into a typical VC fund, so they ended up raising angel funding.  

Honestly I didn’t really see the value of yet another social network, this time linked to travel.  I  mean Tripit has been a feature of Linkedin for a while now.  I used it once, it was a pain in the rear and yielded nada results.  So I pretty much forgot about it.  So when I first heard of what Andy and Andres were doing, I wasn’t that excited (sorry guys!).  They both have a lot of experience in travel though, so I was fairly sure they knew what they were doing.  

Fast forward to June of this year.  I was going to New York, Boulder and Austin within a two week time span.  Andres and I were talking about my trips and he said that he would send me a Traxo private beta invite.  I accepted and entered a few travel sight logins to see what would happen (it works a lot like  Immediately my New York and Boulder (Denver) trips showed up.  Still haven’t entered Southwest info, so Austin didn’t show up.

Turns out that Andres was in NYC the same weekend as me so we ended up meeting for lunch in midtown.  My friend and I tried to meet him and his wife at a club the next night, but unfortunately the club hopping feature isn’t available yet. 😦

Anyway, check it out and find me as a friend so we can hang out next time we’re in the same city.

August 21, 2009 at 1:19 am 2 comments

Innovation is all around us

I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs/innovators/idea people I see every week.  It amazes me when I hear that Dallas isn’t an innovation hub because I can hardly turn around without running into another startup.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s also why my partner and I are starting a new kind of fund in DFW.  We’re still not 100% sure on the name yet, but we will kick off our first class in the spring and will begin accepting applications January 1st.  More on that to come.

So Saturday I went to this meeting in south Dallas at Southside.  If you haven’t been there, it’s a pretty cool place to live.  Ran into some Mavericks on the elevator.  Made me feel a little like an oompa loompa.  But I digress…

The meeting was for a group called Clear Concepts.  They are kind of a closed, dues-based, IP dev and collaboration company.  Hard to explain, but a very interesting concept.  They all share their ideas, mostly consumer products, talk about the best ones and then figure out who is going to work on which idea and what the next steps are.  Everyone owns a piece of the company and it’s just plain fun.  I can’t talk about the ideas floating around, but they range from the nichey and absurd to the “why hasn’t anyone thought of this yet”?  

The guy who got it going is Steve Moore.  He is the inventor of the All Clear Mosquito Mister and quite a character.  If you are into consumer products or not into mosquitos, he’s a great guy to know.

More later on some of the other people I’ve met lately.

August 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm 3 comments

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