Archive for April, 2012

Atlanta Startup Weekend #atlsw

April 27, 2012 1 comment

Had a great time at Atlanta Startup Weekend 2012 that was hosted at the Atlanta Technology Development Center, a startup accelerator, located on the campus of Georgia Tech.

I’ve been gestating an idea for a while and even prepared a pitch for the event. The plan was listen the other 48 pitches and make a determination if there was a project I was interested in before stepping forward. I was able to find three that I could associate with and thus bagged my idea.

After the pitching was complete attendees were able to interview the idea holders and vote for which ideas they liked (interesting how for a weekend project most people are willing to work on something fun even if it is not viable… more on this in a bit).

Attendees were able to vote with three post-it-notes. You could vote for three ideas or give all your votes to one. I waited till the voting process was just about complete and cast two votes for one idea and one for another.

Ideas with 8 or more votes made it for the weekend. And attendees could self-select any team to work with.

As often found, most of the pitch submissions where from marketers and SME’s (subject matter experts) and thus used the brief time to determination how best to contribute. Part of that effort was talking to other participants interested in the joining the team. To some degree even recruited people to the team.

Ours was one of the first teams to complete and we dashed off to a room for brainstorming. I captured our thought in a mind mapping software (try It was difficult to not want to digress into topic applicable for a startup, but not for the exerciser of the weekends event. As the Product Management a ‘play-book’ was authored for the weekend and we broke for the night.

Here is what we did:

SME and BA Team

  • scope the requirements
  • develop the pitch
  • make the deck

The Back-End Team

  1. Created the source control project in bitbucket
  2. Created an account to host our solution on heroku
  3. Created the Ubuntu development Virtual Machine(some already had one)
    1. Rubly on Rails Framework
    2. Sublime Text editor
    3. monngoDB for the database
  4. Coded the MVC like crazy!

The Front-End Team

  1. Installed twitter bootstrap
  2. Create Logo
  3. Author style guild
  4. Developed page layouts for:
    1. Landing page
    2. About page
    3. Price page
    4. Contact page
    5. Sign-up page
    6. Login page

Day two was polishing the UI (User Interface), push to production, and working on the pitch.

The market viability and our execution landed us #2

Any local entrepreneur should check the ATDC calendar for upcoming events such as the Alpharetta meet-up.

The next great event is the TiE southeast event in Atlanta:

Categories: Startups

Your idea is not ‘that’ important

April 23, 2012 3 comments

It is always a blessing when people approach me who have indicated an interest with wanting to collaborate. I always make an attempt to help other startup entrepreneurs whenever I can.

Recently I was speaking with a SME (subject matter expert) on the development of a SaaS solution to a common commercial industry problem that others where servicing with a thick client application (circa 1995). Being ripe for disruption we chatted for a bit. Though this individual had a strong background in their industry they were new to concepts such as customer and product development. Soon after our conversation I was asked to sign a one way NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

Here are my thoughts on startup ideas:

William Fielding Ogburn was  a statistician and an educator. Ogburn was well known for his theory of social change he offered in 1922 where he inventoried 148 examples of simultaneous meaningful discoveries (things that were truly innovative that separate people came up with at the same time) and formulated a theory that technology is the primary engine of progress.

I really like how Farkas Bolyai put it:

“When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.”

So if multiple people can independently invent the telephone, chances are your idea is not as unique as you think. We know this to be true because in our natural vocabulary we make statements “It’s like YXZ app, but for stay-at-home moms“. If you insist your idea is new get a patent.

great ideas = A great team, enhancing an existing idea(s), at a better time

Categories: Startups

FREE/Open Source Startup Resources

April 15, 2012 5 comments
The following are a list of tools that I have used in my own startup efforts.
Have a suggestion email me

Research your idea

Understand your competition

Get into the startup community

Find a Co-Founder

Co-Founder Advice

Legal Advice

Startup Accelerators

Customer and Product Development


Business Tools

Design Tools

Development Tools

Learn Stuff

Be Social

Updated 05.15.12 have a suggestion email me


Categories: Startups Tags:

Startup Vocabulary

April 9, 2012 1 comment

The following are terms you’ll hear me say that are common as startup entrepreneur (not just trying to impress you)

  • Break-Even – When total revenue = total cost
  • Capital – The money used to operate a business
  • Niche – A very targeted market segment
  • Pivot – Modifying a business model
  • Startup – A newly created company that has a limited operating history
Categories: Startups

The Adventure Continues

April 1, 2012 Leave a comment

My adventures of startups started back in 1998 just shortly after the internets became popular.I had recently left a company doing client-server development to venture off into the world of .com consulting in the Boston area. Improving my technical and management skills I was blessed to have grown a small and highly profitable professional services firm.

Moving to Atlanta in the fall of 2010 was a kinda rebirth for me…

This blog serves to chronicle my adventures in startups with a focus on entrepreneurship and customer/product development as a tech co-founder, mentor, marketeer, and investor.

In addition to this blog you can find me on twitter discussing  #atlanta #tech #startup #entrepreneur #leadership #mentor #marketer #lean #vc #investor

Categories: Startups