Co-founder of 8150.co, self-proclaimed generalist. He runs a small web/app development firm in the Vail Valley. He rants on the choice minimal lifestyle and the Zen of things and is always trying out new nootropics to try to find the secret "Limitless" formula.
A weekly detailed list of things that don’t suck. This week we talk about Notion, Intermittent fasts, the amazing benefits of Sauna use (instead of sweating out shit we did this weekend) and Email marketing.
I just started playing with this app. It’s a lot of things. Project management, team management, tasks, file management. It does a pretty decent job at everything but doesn’t replace Slack or Salesforce or Basecamp. It is a great tool for a small business or startup that just needs simple. It also has a web client and a local app you can run on your mac natively.
How Sauna Use May Boost Longevity
I use a Sauna several times a week and whenever I start feeling sick I’ll sit in one for an hour and “burn” away the sickness. Works 90% of the time every-time. There is, of course, a lot of science behind the health benefits of frequent sauna use. Dr. Rhonda Patrick is an amazing researcher and doesn’t play games with claims and sensationalist non-sense.
How Intermittent Fasting Might Help You Live a Longer and Healthier Life
I don’t put this stuff up without having some experience with it. This diet is excellent and I have seen real results from it. More focus, more energy and strangely enough a lack of hunger. I think it helps if you do this and also practice the Keto Diet (fat based, low carb diet) instead of a Carb based diet because you’ll suffer a lot of mood swings but there is a lot of new research into Intermittent fasts (IF) these days and it’s even being used for Cancer patients going into and out of Chemo.
We talk about Motivations a lot. Too much and we neglect the real driver of progress: Discipline. It’s easy to hear some cool quote about getting things done but then we lose our focus, forget the quote or throw it on the fridge and mediocracy resumes. Discipline is the real power you need to tap into. Discipline resonates as patterns and systems. Here is a decent list of resources to keep you focused. Realize that unless you win the lottery you have to work to get ahead. There are no shortcuts. Note: a lot of these are podcasts which are fantastic mediums to relay knowledge. I really enjoy Tim Ferris’s podcasts. Some are articles.
One of our newer members is pivoting in a different way at the X-Games tonight in Aspen. Taylor Seaton, who has an interesting idea for a new tactile interface for judges to record their scores is going to be competing tonight in a non-elimination event against some of the best half pipe skiers in the world. We wish him well.
Go Code Colorado Kick off is Feb 3rd. Jamie and myself are going to enter this competition again and you guy should consider it. It has a grand prize of 25k.
Google Webmaster tools
If you have a Gmail account and a website you can login and add your site and get an inside view of how Google handles your indexes, sitemaps, crawler errors and how often google updates your site. It’s like Google Analytics but not as much data about visitors. More about your site’s health.
On the Social Media front we demoed:
Social Media queueing. Get all your tweets, facebook posts and linked in posts done in one seating. Just queue up your posts and it will spread the engagement on a schedule so it looks like you have a social media team.
This is a tremendous “add-on” for Buffer. It connects to your Buffer account and will suggest articles and posts that are in your industry so those days of trying to find compelling content for your audience can be accomplished with intelligent suggestions that you can add to your buffer queue.
We covered Product Hunt which is a community driven site that can help launch your site / product / app to stardom.
We also covered sites that will help you get your startup message out to the masses for little cost. Sites like StartupLister, and Betalistare well proven tools to get your message out there on blogs, tech sites and industry specific venues.
I was sitting on a plane today while it was undergoing maintenance for a fuel line electrical issue that was taking over an hour. I knew the flight would be cancelled or we’d get shuffled onto another plane. Fuel and Electrical issues == flight cancelled.
While sitting there I started reading a book I brought just so I looked smarter to my travel mates. Do More Faster by Cohen and Feld. I had read most of the book already but apparently I forgot a lot of it. I recommend this book to everyone. The book is contributor-based with short lessons and stories that are 2-4 pages max. I really appreciate the shortness of it and it’s easy to cherry-pick a much needed lesson.
Enough already..enjoy this:
Trust Me, Your Idea Is Worthless
Earth-shattering and world-changing ideas are a dime a dozen. In fact, that’s being too generous.
I’ve had hundreds of would-be entrepreneurs contact me with great news: They have the next big thing, but they can’t risk telling me (or anyone else) about it until I sign some form of idea insurance, usually a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Like every other sensible investor on the planet, I decline the request to sign the NDA, forgoing the idea, often to the shock, awe, and dismay of the stunned entrepreneur.
Why do I avoid this conversation? Because entrepreneurs who behave this way clearly overvalue ideas and therefore, almost by definition, undervalue execution. Brainstorming is a risk-free, carefree activity. Entrepreneurship in the literal sense of “undertaking” is not. Strap on your seat belt if you’re signing up for a startup. It’s a high-velocity experience.
If you have a brilliant idea, it’s safe to assume that a few very smart people are working on the same thing, or woking on a different approach to solving the same problem. Just look at the number of travel apps on your iphone or the number of diet and exercise sites on the web for an example of this.
Overvaluing the idea is a red flag., Particularly in the absence of tangible progress. Sure, I miss out on investing in some truly great ideas with this attitude, but that’s ok with me: I don’t invest in ideas. Nor does Warren Buffett. I’ll lose less money than those who do. I can largely control my downside by investing in good people who, even if they fail this go-round, will learn from mistakes and have other fundable ideas (ideas I’d likely have access to as an early supporter). I do not have this advantage when investing with ideas.
One popular startup dictum worth remembering is “One can’t steal ideas, but no one can steal execution or passion.” Put in another light; there is no market for ideas. Think about it for a second: have you tried selling an idea lately? Where wold you go to sell it? Who would buy it? When there is no market, it is usually a very sure sign that there is no value.
Almost any can (and has!) come up with a great idea, but only a skilled entrepreneur can execute it. Skilled in this case doesn’t mean experienced; it means flexible and action-oriented, someone who recognizes that mistakes can often be corrected, but time lost postponing a decision lost forever. Ideas, however necessary, are not sufficient. They are just an entry ticket to play the game.
Don’t shelter and protect your startup like it’s a nest egg. If it’s truly your only viable idea, you won’t have the creativity to adapt when needed (and it will be needed often) in negotiation or responding to competitors and customers. In this case, it’s better to call it quits before you start.
Your idea is probably being worked on by people just as smart as you are.
Focus on where most people balk and delay: exposing it to the real world. If you’re cut out for the ride, this is also where all the rewards and excitement live, right alongside the 800-pound gorillas and cliffside paths.That’s the fun of it.
David didn’t beat Goliath with a whiteboard. Go get amongst it, and prepare to bob and weave.
I can’t afford a Clover Coffee maker so I have to make it manually but the process doesn’t have to be complicated or too expensive. There are things I won’t cover since it could fill a book: Coffee types and roasting techniques, French Press vs Vacuum vs Chemex, etc… or cupping. I will say that paper should never be involved in making coffee. Paper absorbs essential oils that makes coffee so good.
Here are the basic guidelines:
Always buy whole bean and avoid the filthy grinders at Starbucks and CityMarket.
Choose light to medium roast. Dark Roasts can hide shoddy beans.
Try Yerga Cheffe or most coffee from Ethiopia. Best coffee overall.
I have two grinders. An electric burr grinder that does a good job with grind size and quantity and a hand held grinder I take camping or when I have something amazing I want to grind calmly and perfectly.
Never get a whirling blade grinder. They can burn the coffee and are inconsistent in grind size. Basically anything electric under $50 is probably a bad grinder. Here is a great burr grinder and here is a hand grinder I use. The grind size is determined by the brewing method. For the method I am going to describe you’ll need a large grind size.
How Much Coffee should I grind?
In Europe and other countries they consider 4oz a single serving of coffee but we are Americans and we have a 6oz standard because freedom requires 2oz more caffeine. So for each 6oz you are going to brew you need 1 scoop (10g or .36oz). Need a scoop? Buy a cheap can of Folgers, take out the scoop and throw the coffee grinds in your garden.
1 scoop is about 2tbsp. Don’t get crazy with the scales so just get it close and you’ll be ok.
So you need some hot water and a french press. Coffee needs to be brewed at 195-205F to properly extract the flavor. Too cold you get weak coffee. Too hot you get bitter coffee. Now, most electric kettles will get water to 212F but since we are altitude water boils around 190F which is not hot enough to get perfect coffee. I put a thermometer in my kettle and know how long it takes to get up to 208F. I can’t get it any higher. So the lesson is don’t rely on boiling water as an indicator of good water. Also, use filtered or spring water. Tap water will impart variable flavors in your brew and distilled water doesn’t have enough minerals to bring out the flavor. Here is the kettle I use and one I would love to buy soon. The temperature is something you MUST nail down and make sure you can repeat it consistently.
The french press is one of the cheapest and best ways to make coffee. Make sure your press is clean and put your freshly ground coffee in it. Your water should be as hot as you can get it as you will lose 4-5 degrees as soon as it hits the press. I have a generic glass press but Bodum has new insulated presses that hold the heat better that I will purchase soon. You then want to stir up the coffee that has accumulated on the top and quickly get the press lid on the carafe. Don’t press it yet. Start your timer for 4-5 minutes max. Too long and your coffee is too strong and overpowering and too soon and it’s weak. At 5 minutes press the coffee and pour. Don’t let it sit there. It still steeps after it’s pressed.
I have gone back and forth on what I put in my coffee. Most of the time I use some organic Half/Half, one packet of Truvia and some Saigon Cinnamon (good for blood sugar level balance). Some people like it black or just some sugar. It’s your choice but please, for the love of God, avoid the flavored creams.
This week’s meeting is special. It’s the first of our speaker series and the first time we do our Pitch It or Pitchfest or whatever-we-are-calling it event afterwards.
We are stoked that Barry Clark, Founder of Weston Snowboards will be our first speaker. Weston snowboards, if you just came out of a coma, is a local snowboard company based in Minturn. They have some truly inspired boards, great people working for them and we give mad props to any business willing and able to start up in the Vail Valley.
We intend to do these speaker series events at least once every two months. Please invite your friends as well. We’ll have 45 minutes of prepared questions and Q&A at the end.
We are meeting at Montana’s Smokehouse (next to Loaded Joes in Avon). They have alcohol and food can be ordered from downstairs. No, the weed vending machine isn’t there anymore.
The entire 3d printing industry is so far ahead of us non-3d printing folk that they might be time travellers. I like to stay on top of the latest tech trends but this space is moving and evolving so quickly that I have given up. I just assume they can print anything and feign shock when they can’t. 8150 member Miah, who is in Columbia (the country) right now, specializes in this technology. Just google “3d printed …” and anything after it. Someone is trying it.
How does this affect us? Well, this industry is still in the hobby space and there are some industrial applications but it’s still wide open. If someone could just figure out how to use recycled Mt Dew plastic bottles and create more Plastic bottles they will be rich! Well, they did… as I typed this.
Anytime one of our members gets in the paper we like to hype it. Especially when it contributes to our goal of building a high altitude entrepreneurial hub up here in the high rockies. from the Summit Daily
On the east end of Frisco’s Main Street, a construction crews rips up the road.
Bulldozers belch black smoke into blue skies as men in bright orange hard hats scramble to finish their tough task before winter sets in. The aspen leaves slowly turning a brilliant gold on the surrounding mountainsides function as a seasonal clock, signaling summer’s end.
And behind a series of large glass windows in Suite 6 at 620 E. Main St. — which offers a front-row view of the roadwork — another project is under construction. The indoor project involves putting the finishing touches on what will be Frisco’s and Summit County’s second coworking space, Evo3 Workspace, and it represents one man’s dream of transforming the economy of a region dominated by tourism.
Aaron Landau, one of the minds behind Evo3, refers to himself as a corporate refugee. He’s spent the bulk of his professional career in the medical device industry in St. Louis, working for companies like Cardinal Health and Boston Scientific. He specialized in selling devices for arrhythmia, which is a form of irregular heartbeat. It was a lucrative business to be in, but he also felt like something was missing, that magical combination of high quality work and a high quality of life.
“When you’re in corporate America it’s definitely difficult to allow your creativity to come out,” Landau said. “I had bought a vacation home in Keystone about five years ago. I finally decided I have a place out here, I’ve got my yellow Lab and I’m happiest when I’m out here.”
So two years ago, he parachuted out of corporate America and into the High Rockies like a member of the 10th Mountain Division.
“I refer to myself as a corporate refugee because I came out here not knowing what I was going to do,” he said. “I’d lived in St. Louis all my life. It was shocking to a lot of my friends and family.”
After helping launch a ski boot company his first year here, he got the idea to try something different. He wants to create a high-mountain tech hub in Summit. And he plans to use the coworking space to help achieve that goal.
Landau started by spending time at coworking spaces in Boulder.
“Coming from a place that was filled with pressure on sales and deadlines to a place where people are coming together for a casual and collaborative effort — it was very foreign to me at first,” he said.
He then started traveling to coworking spaces all over the Front Range. Now he’s attempting to incorporate best practices from all those spaces into a new coworking space developed specifically to bring in tech workers.
“Our economy here is not very diverse,” Landau said. “About 90 percent of it is tourism and construction. Our main goal is to bring a tech hub out here.
“The infrastructure for tech has gotten a lot better. Some resorts and condos don’t have great infrastructure, but Frisco does. That’s why we chose this location. It’s also by the highway and the lake, and it’s not a resort town.”
The High Rocky economy has been transformed once before. In the 1950s when Chicago entrepreneur Joseph Paepcke started collaborating to transform Aspen into a cultural center and a ski haven, locals never imagined anything cold overtake the mining industry. About 70 years later, arts and tourism have taken over and the mining industry is little more than dilapidated remnants on forgotten slopes. So another transformation of the local economy is not out of the question. Just like tourism and the arts did, it could serve to make it stronger.
Landau emphasizes how the collaborative technique in technology creates a natural advantage.
“Back in the 1990s, on one side you had Silicon Valley at Palo Alto with Stanford,” he said. “And on the other side you had Boston with MIT, and a lot of tech companies were there as well. At that time Boston could have become Silicon Valley. The difference between the two is in Silicon Valley it was illegal to have non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.”
So in the Northeast all tech companies were using every legal means at their disposal to keep all new developments as private and secretive as possible. It was just the opposite out West.
“You had people from Oracle going to Microsoft and people from HP going to Oracle and vice versa and they were all sharing these best practices,” he continued. “And that is the reason why a lot of people today believe Palo Alto became what it is today, Silicon Valley. It’s that collaboration piece that drives growth.
“Corporations are finding that being in a cube and siphoned off from everybody is not the way to grow anymore. So you’re starting to see more and more of these spaces popping up all over the place. There has been a shift to a mobile culture. Tech guys don’t have to be in the office. You can now recruit from anywhere in the world. As a tech professional you could get put with a group up in Summit County, meet up with other people and have a wonderful quality of life.”
Diversifying the economy could make it more sustainable. As profitable and as crucial as tourism has been, it is dependent on uncontrollable forces like the weather.
“When I moved out here, everyone I met thought I worked on the mountain, worked for the resort,” Landau said. “Everybody here is either a Realtor, CPA, in construction or works on the mountain for a resort. That doesn’t have to the case anymore. We know people want to be out here. This is great place to play, and it’s not a bad place to work, either. It’s a great quality of life.”
CREATING A NEW ECONOMY
There is already a lot of intellectual horsepower and a sufficient amount of financial and human capital in Summit. But he knows he has to attract more to the mountains to create a new economic sector.
“We have to pull from outside Summit County, too,” Landau said. “If you look at occupations in Summit County, less than 5 percent of the workforce is professional.
“We want to get people who want to be out here to move out here. It’s going to be possible now with mentors, advisors and networks. We already have a collaboration of very smart people from here, Eagle County and the Front Range.
“As soon as people walk in the door and they become a member their network just explodes.”
The shifting attitude of the younger generation is also a factor in creating a new economy.
“The millennials really care about where they live,” Landau said. “I’m almost 40, and I remember when I came out of college I was willing to go wherever the job was. I remember saying ‘I’m geographically flexible’ in job interviews. And that was because it was all about the job first and the place you live second. But now, with millennials, it’s more about, ‘I want to live where I want to live first.’ The balance is much more relative to the whole outlook. It plays in really well to what we are doing because that’s who we want to attract, too.
“To be able to live here and to have the chance of driving a new economy and diversifying the economy — it’s really exciting to be a part of that. We want to create the perfect work-life balance,” he said. “This is the place you can have it.”
And as the construction crew continues to hammer, paving the road outside, Landau hopes to build a path to a whole new way of life inside Evo3, which should be ready for business in about two months, not long after the ski season begins.
Kim Jordan, CEO and Co-Founder of New Belgium Brewing Company Entrepreneurs Unplugged is a meeting place where faculty, students and community members with technical backgrounds learn about and get involved in entrepreneurship. In particular, the program offers students, faculty and the Front Range startup community an opportunity to learn how a successful startup is created as well as an opportunity to network. Each Entrepreneurs Unplugged meeting features food, drink and – most importantly – an experienced entrepreneur to discuss his/her start-up experiences.
I missed out on this event because I had a scheduling conflict but I am happy that it’s online. Youtube FTW!
The purpose of these posts are to reheat old topics and discuss new ones that are really extensions of previous topics that we want to talk about in the next meeting. So excuse the Faulkneresque style.
To join in you may comment below or subscribe to the newsletter (and our group).
A lot happens in the week of an entrepreneur. We visited the upcoming (and under construction) ELEVATE CoSpace in Frisco. We are working on cross-promoting SW EDU event with some colleges in Aspen and we had a great meeting on thursday with a surprise pitch given at the end.
Some notes from last weeks meeting (8/28/14) for those who missed it:
We locked in on a Vision Statement and Mission Statement (How 90’s of us…) drumroll
Assisting Entrepreneurs in the Colorado High Country Through: Online Resources, Collaboration, Better Communication, Event Hosting, Promoting and seeding communities to make the high rockies a fertile environment for startups, garage and basement entrepreneurs.
<<It’s still a work in progress but we aren’t going to bug people anymore about it>>
Lots of words there but how can this be done effectively?
Getting meetings with key people, successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, developers, government entities and others and using our passion and drive to show that the high mountain communities are strong and vibrant and that the Boulder/ Denver model can translate here if not better.
We now have a local resources page and we are adding more to that pool every week. (If you run an organization we listed we hope you’ll help hone your message for the entrepreneurial community. Email us.) We are attending more events and taking ideas and action items from those meetups to bring back the “fire”. More people are showing up every week and momentum is on our side.
Did anyone say “sticker”? Yes, cool stickers for your laptop/car/dog are coming soon.
CoWorking Spaces Doug Attended a meetup in Frisco on the 27th at the upcoming ELEVATE CoSpace. While they hadn’t signed the lease yet and nothing was there one could see that the space will be very advantageous for the work at home IT guy or Executives who want to get out of the house or ignore the sunday traffic and stay a few extra days to ski and get work done as well.
Why fight traffic when you live in the mountains, ski all you want and sling code with a view? We feel sorry for our Denver and Boulder Brethren. Stuck in a maze of suburbia, chipotles, slam poetry or whatever & struggling to decide on which of the 20 coffee shops to show off one’s new macbook air. No offense BO-LODO-FOCO-COLO. We’ll see you this winter.
But seriously, It’s great to see these Coworking spaces spring up. Evo3 Workspace is going to be opening on Oct 1 as well and is right accross the street from Elevate. Will be interesting to watch how that competition / collaboration evolves. We have the Basecamp here at the Vail Leadership Institute and there are already rumors of expansion. just rumors…seriously… we have no idea…
We met Alex Huppenthal at Elevate CoSpace and he had a lot of exciting information about what is being planned to take place in Glenwood Springs in November. Alex shared with me some information and I am going to share it here:
Our event transcends the traditional Startup Weekend style; we will focus on bridging the entrepreneurial startup spirit with youth and educator informed issues. Through design thinking, innovative business strategies, relentless hacking and designing, this weekend will produce new ventures that are poised to create high caliber outcomes for Bay Area students and schools.
Groups will work together over 54 hours to create a tech tool that addresses a concern either in a school or in a student’s community. Ventures can range from a mobile app for students, a gaming console app, to a variety of online learning tools!
We believe that a wide range of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, passion, talents, technical knowledge and skills are needed to create ventures that have the highest potential for lasting impact.
We are looking for:
Youth Innovators: 9-12 grade Colorado area students interested in hacking, UX/UI design, business, social justice and collaborating on an unique solution to a challenge they’re facing
Teachers: Instructional leaders in the classroom working in Bay Area Public schools- this category is essential to a successful SWEDU!
Educators: Community Organizers, District Administrators, Education Non-Profit Leaders and Professionals working in the school wrap-around services space
Champions: Individuals who will keep student voice and perspective on the top of their and the group’s mind- this could be a parent/relative, youth development professional or others who work closely with youth and are interested in collaborating with and supporting students on a team
Developers: Mobile App Developers (IOS, IOS SDK, Android) Programmers (JAVA, Objective C, CSS3, etc.) Web developers (front end and back end)
Designers: UX/UI designers (Adobe Suite Applications, Axure, iRise, Omnigraffle, etc.)
It’s nice to go east for a day (and get some chipotle) and see what’s going on in the big city. The New Tech events that are hosted on Meetup are well known down in the Front Range. Well attended and tingling with energy, they bring together a diverse field of expertise from Lawyers, investors, techies & founders of new startups.
The event was held at Galvanize in Denver which has a built-in bar and lounge. I have never been there before and I could feel the energy in the room. It felt like being in Palo-Alto but it was right in the heart of Denver.
Chatted with an Op’s guy from the new startup InstaCart which is a new grocery delivery service with a very simple clean and optimized UI as well as a handful of techies. Up here in the mountains you really only see techies at our coworking space at VLI headquarters or at Gamestop.
The format goes like this:
Pre-show: Drinks at the bar (complimentary) and networking
Everyone into the Big Room for announcements, etc…
They bring up anyone who is hiring and let them talk about the jobs they have available (There are lots of job openings btw)
Next they move onto the 5 minute presentations. The presenters are startup founders or inventors and they give a 5 minute pitch (with slides) of their business. Then the audience gets to ask questions. The moderator keeps a tight control on time and it goes pretty smoothly even though no one understands microphone technique.
Afterwards it’s more networking and people break off and chat with the founders who presented.
The four presenters were pretty good. There was a one man startup called Vidliography that had a cool way to annotate and add additional meta data to videos. Similar to how Soundcloud has time based comments on music tracks. The second presenter was from Craft-Boom which is an app or website that allows you to find local breweries, weed shops or coffee shops (no starbucks as they proudly expound). Cool app and idea. I am not sure about the name as I originally thought they were an esty competitor.
They had a young guy come up and do more of a sales pitch for these new Solar Shingles that are essentially roofing tiles made of solar panels. Pretty cool idea although the poor guy was obviously nervous but you gotta give him credit. How many 21 year olds can get up in front of 100’s of techies and pitch something.
Finally they did EventBlimp which is a really cool website / app that shows event going on around you. Well designed and developed this startup could have promise if they are able to get some revenue with the event venues or get into the ticketing or promotion space.
Afterwards I stayed around and chatted with some of the presenters and everyone dispersed and went their own way.
To learn more check out the New Tech website which has jobs, company listings and more. If you want to carpool I am happy to split the gas and ride.