You don’t need someone to lose, so you can win

In fact, ‘winning’ is a lie. This struck a serious chord with me.

I’ve never cared much about money. I understand it’s value, i know i need it, but don’t really care how much anyone else has compared to me. I’ve never cared about sharing my salary (stupid that it’s so “secret” in corporate culture), or telling someone how much my house or car cost, because they’r not symbols to me. I don’t care if your house cost 2x what mine did or half what mine did. I need a car, i bought the car we agreed was a good one. Same with our house, we didn’t buy the biggest we could find or anything, we knew where we wanted to live, bought a place we could afford. It has the rooms we need, no more.

I’ve never looked at a thing and thought, “this is great, because it’s only for me.”

BUT, that’s not our society as a whole. Sadly I’m in the minority. I’d never quit a job because someone else got a raise, big or small. For me first class IS about the seats, i don’t care what anyone else is doing on the plane. (examples in the mentioned post)

Why? How did i end up this way? Beats me, I’m sure it’s my parents fault, or maybe the Buddhist book i stole from a hotel in high school. Whatever it is, i wish more Americans had it, felt it, whatever.

Sure, I want enough money to buy food, a new car when it’s time. I want to take trips and see the world, but beyond that I don’t need more than my neighbor, I don’t need a trip that’s more special than anyone else. I don’t need a car that cost more. I don’t need more bedrooms. And I certainly don’t care to compare myself or my things to someone else. I definitely don’t need someone else to have less than me, so that what i have feels special.

Enlightened? Grown up? I don’t know, but I do think we should all be aspiring to it.

Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase

I love Tom Bihn, this is my 3rd overall bag from them. This one is more utility than the others.

I have a Ristretto for walking around when i don’t need a laptop with me. It’s awesome. It’s not very portable as a secondary bag though, it’s bulky and takes up space in luggage. It certainly doesn’t fit well in my backpack.

I’ve been looking for something that would fit in my backpack, for when I’m traveling or just at the office, but want to go out and about but don’t want to lug my whole backpack around. The Ristretto could work, for my iPad, but not my laptop. Plus, like i said, it’s bulky doesn’t really fit in my laptop bag.IMG_1336

Enter the daylight. It’s the right size for a macbook air, an iPad, a few other things like chargers or a notebook. It holds my 3DS, and a few other bits, and is easy to carry around.

The best part is that it folds up nice and small. I can roll it up and shove it in my backpack and it can live there all the time until i need to IMG_1335run to a meeting, and only need my laptop or iPad and notebook.

It folds and rolls up and leaves plenty of room in my bag still.

I got the idea for the daylight from a blog I read.

I’ve taken a few trips where the Ristretto was just too big to bring and had to lug my entire laptop bag around, or do with out any gear. The worst of both options for sure.

I’m really excited for future travel and even office days.

Nomad Pod Pro Review

IMG_0851This might be the perfect travel companion for iOS device owners. The Nomad Pod Pro. Love it!

tl;dr;

  • just under 4″ diameter.
  • just over 1″ tall
  • under a half pound in weight
  • 6,000 mAh battery
  • built in (mfi) lightning connector

Mine came the other day and I’m excited for my next trip, which sadly since it’s winter and camping/conference season has more or less wrapped up, but we’ve got a long road trip, might be a good test.

Never the less, this thing is cool.

You supply the watch charger, and for mine I just bought the shortest cable one Apple has, but there’s enough room to wrap a much longer cord if that’s what you’ve got. You pull the top off, held on by really strong magnets, wrap your Watch charger around it, and set the base in the center, then pop the top back on… MAGNETS!

On top of being a nice portable watch charger, it’s an iOS Device charger too. a 6,000 mAh battery gives it enough juice to charge your iPhone 6 and watch, 2x each (per the marketing copy). While in most scenarios my watch lasts all day easy, there’s been at least one time so far (I’ve only owned mine about 2 months so far) when something went sideways and drained the battery to 0 in about 5 hours. Charging your phone at dinner, not a huge deal, happens a lot, IMG_0853easy to be inconspicuous. Charging your watch at dinner, … less so. You can’t wear it and charge (I tried), and you can’t just shove it all in a pocket like you would a charging phone since the charger magnet isn’t nearly strong enough for that.

While I hope to never again have to charge my watch at dinner, at least this thing isn’t ugly and is pretty compact and easy to use.

This will likely replace my EDC battery pack, since most of my charging needs are iOS devices and the built in lightning connector makes it perfect. I’m not sure if I’ll fully commit, but I could certainly reduce my cable and battery carrying with this device. If you charge lots of older iOS stuff or non iOS stuff you’re kinda SOL. The Nomad has 1 port, micro USB to charge it’s battery. The lightning connector is built in. In a pinch you could open it up and plug something other than a watch charger into the USB port inside the unit, but it’d have to be desperate times for sure.

IMG_0852All that said, where this will really shine for me, is camping. A friend asked my thoughts on Pebble vs. Apple Watch (when i had a Pebble) and my only caution was at least with my Pebble i charge it up and have no worries that a 2-3 day camping trip won’t dent the battery.
This will work just fine next to the sleeping bag charging the watch at night just like at home. Keeping my watch and my iPhone charged when camping, while not life or death certainly is nice, and this will make it that much easier, and be that much less I don’t have to bring with me.

So yeah I’m pretty excited for this thing.

Denver Startup Culture

tl; dr;

Is Broken, but fixable.

the long form:

I got into a Facebook fight with a CEO the other day. He was mad i said a blog post on his site was click bait (which it was, but the popular term is content marketing). I was mad because it doled out praise for “making Denver Startup Week happen” to a group of people that certainly did participate in the week, but only 1 was a member of our actual team that drives the event, AKA “Making it happen”. As a member of the team that makes it happen i was a bit insulted. Not that i was not included, but that my work was being ascribed to others. Coincidentally in an effort to quantify my time, I track it (not 100% well, yet), this year i spent approximately 160 hours on Denver Startup week. Had I billed for that time it’d be over $10,000. That’s not a small investment on my part, it’s larger than several sponsorship levels in fact. I don’t say that as a “I do more than you” just as a statement of what i  do, and it’s relative value.

The next day (i kid you not) i see a blog post by builtin Colorado that says there’s no coworking in LoDo. When in fact I helped launch Uncubed, which started in RiNo but has been in LoDo (15th and Blake) for mmm 3 years now, and has existed longer than built in Colorado. Several other places were mentioned as “nearby options”, all are commonly written about in Builtin and/or Tech crunch because they raise money (which to be clear is totally fine).

That’s the crux of what I think is broken in our community. A focus on money raised. On exits. Not on who’s building and running businesses. 

I think raising money is fine, I think selling your company for tons of money is fine, i think talking about those things is fine. They’re obviously economic drivers, they creates jobs, etc. They’re sexy and attract attention.

But.

We’re making our focus around the “Denver startup community” solely about who’s raised how much, how much did the company sell for. We talk about how much VC money flooded Denver in a given time period, but we’re ignoring those companies that form, and continue to exist that don’t take VC money. Uncubed Started with no money from anyone but the three founders. 360|Conferences, started with nothing at all. Last year we had revenue of about $250,000.

We’re not talking about companies that have been around years, are profitable, are doing things. Sure they’re less ‘sexy’ and often (but not always) employee fewer people, but they’re contributing to the Denver community just as much (and I feel more) as the latest well funded Tech Crunch darling, that may or may not even exist next year.

So, all that said, I think that’s now the goal for my blogging efforts. I don’t know if that will be here on my blog or if I’ll spin up something new. I’d like to get a few folks to help me cover things. There’s more to the story of Denver’s amazing startup scene than is being talked about, and I think it’s time we fixed that.

Want to know more, stay tuned. Want to help, let me know.

So I think I’m close to done with Fitbit

Not because I don’t like it, I like my fitbit, a lot! I’ve had one since the money clip looking one (Ultra? One?), which i eventually lost and got a replacement for in the form of the new model, which i got $50 off courtesy of Fitbit support, which is a really cool thing they do.

I’ve got many family members using Fitbit, lots of friends, even my dog has one (how they haven’t made a dog specific one yet is beyond me).

So why leave?

Silo’s. I hate ’em. Mostly though I hate multiple silos (and am well and truly at the bottom of the Apple one), more so when they don’t play together, even a little. Like ’em, or hate ’em Apple is getting a better and better stack, and their silo, while a silo, is shiny and pretty awesome. My Mac and my iPhone talk to each other, my Watch talks to my iPhone. While not perfect, the nice outweighs the not so nice.

And then there’s my fitbit, which for no clear reason, still won’t talk to Apple.

I just got my Apple watch and I’ve been comparing it’s health features to my fitbit, namely step tracking. Right this moment my fitbit shows 11,549 steps for the day, my Apple Watch shows 11,706. Which is actually a bit odd, the other day it was about 100 less than my Fitbit. Point being they’re close. Close enough as to make not a big difference in my step tracking goals.

Each morning i get up and work out (weekdays) and after that I weigh myself. Normally i do this in the fitbit app. I used to have another app that read fitbit data, and then shared it among other apps (It wasn’t the sync bridge thing, just an app that could read/write both Apple and Fitbit info), and also shared with Apple Health, i don’t use that app so i uninstalled it, so now there’s a gap. I have to enter my body fat % and weight manually in to two apps. Not the end of the world for sure, but why? If Fitbit had a legitimate reason, I might be ok with it. Other things read and/or write to Apple Health, fitbit (still) doesn’t, and hasn’t provided any good reason. Protecting their silo?

I haven’t chucked the fitbit yet, and likely won’t for a few more weeks at least (mostly out of liking to compete with friends and family), but I’d be happy to keep on fitbit’in (is that a term?) if they’d un-silo their data. Heck don’t read in Apple Health data, just share yours. It’s not that hard, and I can’t imagine how you justify not doing it. It costs you nothing to let HealthKit read steps, calories, etc.

We’ll see. I’ve become attached to my Fitbit but double entry is the pits, and Fitbit doesn’t have much to push me it’s way, when ALL other data is in Apple Health.

Drawing a line in the sand is cool if you have a legitimate reason to, but “just because” isn’t a good reason.

10 Years

September 24th, 2005. I got hitched. To the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

10 years later, she’s still amazing, still my best friend, still the person i want to see when i go to sleep and when i wake up (and the times in-between! LOL)

10 years later and we’ve said good-bye to 4 dogs (Mojo, Scooter, Terrence and Phillip), welcomed 2 new ones (Paco and Winston) into our lives.

10 years later and we’re happy and thriving, living in an awesome city, walking and biking where ever we can.

10 years later and we’re still trying new things.

10 years later and we’re camping when we can and experiencing nature more than we ever did before.

10 years later it’s still the adventure of a lifetime.

 

I love you Nicole! And can’t wait for the next 10 years!

Wearables, silos and how Pebble missed their shot

So I bought an Apple Watch. I knew I would eventually. I basically was holding out to see if they released a new one at their recent event. They didn’t so i bought one. I immediately put OS2 on it, since much of what I didn’t like was OS1.

There’s still much I don’t like about AppleWatch; like not being able to glance at my wrist to see the time without raising my wrist in a “checking the time” motion.

Do I miss my Pebble, yes. I liked the watch faces, I liked the glance-ability of the screen, and I suspect I’ll like not worrying about charging it each night.

As i unpaired my Pebble i reflected on what I thought about that watch and wearable tech in general (my fitbit is on the cusp of being set aside). It’s slimmer, it’s IMO nicer looking. It has a battery that does the job. It was more personalizable. That’s it though. After that it’s missed opportunity after missed opportunity.

Pebble launched with a cool expansion port to allow for smart bands. What might those be? even more battery life, heart rate monitors, who knows. Turns out, nothing. The SDK for the port apparently is only now, months, MONTHS later, coming out in limited release. At a recent hackathon the winning use of that port… a laser pointer. A god damned laser pointer. They had Devices, even 3D printers on hand to make things, and we get a laser pointer?

Pebble had a great lead on Apple, and while I suspect much of it’s failure is partly on Apple and it’s SDK limitations (since Android is more interactive), I think Pebble rested on it’s laurels a lot. I’m sure they were working, but as a consumer I can’t say on what. Porting their new OS to the old hardware is a nice touch for owners of that old hardware, but at what cost? Interactive SMS replies? not yet. Siri? nope. I get taking care of your old customers, in fact I think that’s a great thing about Pebble, but it doesn’t seem to have been very well balanced against making sure the Pebble Time was an actual Apple Watch competitor, which it’s not.

Huge missed opportunity. Reading notifications is neat, controlling my Nest is neat (and not possible that i can see on AppleWatch) but not enough to make it a sticky thing. Not enough to make it a long term thing. There’s a lot in the Apple watch I don’t care about, but as both platforms mature Apple is going to overtake Pebble.

So now my pebble (twice kickstarted) is hanging on my bulletin board as a memento. My Apple Watch is my daily watch, for now anyway. I sometimes opt back to my classic watches, but the Pebble, that ship has sailed, right into a sand bar.