Tag Archives: Entrepreneur

Tech events in Ann Arbor week of March 30

Well, I'm a bit late in getting this out, but the Internet User Experience Conference is ongoing at Washtenaw Community College.  It runs through Thursday, April 2.

On Wednesday April 1, Corey Haines will be speaking at the Ann Arbor Computer Society.  He'll talk about Software Craftsmanship, but I think that you will probably be able to entice him to talk a bit about how he's spent his past few months, on his Pair Programming Tour, as well.  I saw Corey last week at the Philadelphia Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Confernece.  He's an amazing speaker, and it will be a real treat to have him in town.  He's going to be hanging out at SRT on Thursday and Friday, pairing with our staff on various projects, so I'm really looking forward to his trip.

Also on Wednesday, at the UM Ross School of Business, you can hear Jason Mendelson, Managing Director of Foundry Group, a Boulder-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage information technology companies, speak on "Building an Entrepreneurial Community: Lessons from Boulder".  The meeting starts at 7 pm. 

Head directly from your choice of Wednesday evening events to theWeekly CoffeeHouseCoders, 9 PM at Mujo, in the Duderstadt Center (Media Union): http://coffeehousecoders.org

Thursday, April 2 is the monthly Michigan Python User Group meeting, at SRT Solutions, starting at 7 pm.  There will be some discussion of what happened at PyCon last week in Chicago.  And if that's not enough Python for you, the Ann Arbor .NET Developer group meeting next week, Wednesday April 8, features Darrell Hawley on IronPython.  That meeting starts at 6 pm.

This is an "off" week for SRT lightning talks, but there are plenty of other things going on Friday afternoon.  "Ask the VC: Live" with Jason Mendelson, Founder/MGP of Foundry Group. Jason says, "I'm going to plant my butt in a conference room on campus for a couple of hours and talk to anyone that wants to come by and chat, pitch me, talk about venture capital, etc.". Meet him between 3 – 5 PM at Lorch Hall (Economics Building) Room 171, 611 Tappan.

I'm hoping to head over to the Weekly M-Powered Entrepreneurship Hour, 3 PM at Stamps Auditorium: http://mpowered.umich.edu/index.php?n=Main.Courses.  I've been wanting to attend for a while.  I'm a huge fan of the Stanford Entprepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast and I'm thrilled that UM is doing something as well.  I'm really curious to experience it!  If only it were available in podcast form … it's WAY easier for me to listen at my leisure (while working out or while driving) than to break away from the office, but it would be interesting to attend in person as well.

Next week's quite busy as well.  In addition to the Wednesday April 8 Python talk at AADND, on Thursday April 9, Google Ann Arbor is hosting CloudCamp from 3-8 pm.

From the website: CloudCamp is an unconference where early adapters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

CloudCamp is being organized by a2geeks.


Upcoming tech events in Ann Arbor area

The Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) meeting is tonight at 7 pm, at SRT.  If you want to learn how to write a web framework using WSGI, this is the place to come.  Kevin Dangoor (creator of TurboGears web framework) and Mark Ramm (maintainer for TurboGears 2) are both Ann Arborites and usually attend.

Tomorrow, Phil Wilmington of PeopleSoft will speak at the MPowered Entrepreneurship Hour on "Entrepreneurship in a Changing Technology Environment". This is held at the Stamps Auditorium, Walgreens Drama Center.

Next week:

At 6 pm on Monday February 9, the Ann Arbor New Tech February meetup will be held at the Google building in Ann Arbor (201 S. Division St, 3rd Floor).  Sign up at http://www.meetup.com/a2newtech/. 5 companies this month take the stage for 10 minutes each, 5 minutes to demo and 5 minutes to answer questions, followed by networking downstairs at Bar Louie. Space is limited, RSVP strictly required.

At the same time, across the street, the Flex/RIA group meets at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty, Lower Level, in Ann Arbor from 6-7:30 pm.

The Michigan!/usr/group meets on Tuesday from 6:30-9 at the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI. George Castro is going to talk about microblogging.

The Ann Arbor .NET Developers group meets at SRT Solutions (206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor) from 6-8:30 pm.  Patrick Steele will be talking about ASP.NET MVC.

And on Thursday, January 12, the Michigan Flex User Group meets in East Lansing at MSU.

To close out the week, on Friday, January 13, SRT will hold its biweekly lightning talks, from 3:30-5. Join us for 5 minute sessions on tech topics. All are welcome to speak and/or listen!

Also, a group is forming to drive from Ann Arbor down to EdgeCase in Columbus for Merb and Rails 3.0 with Yehuda Katz. Contact Winston Tsang if you want to rideshare (not sure how much room is available).


Event: Unusual Entrepreneurs Panel

New Enterprise Forum, July 27 (tonight!) at 5 pm

I haven't been to an NEF event in a long time, but this is certainly one that I would like to attend.  For the 4th year in a row, the NEF will present a panel, "Unusual Entrepreneurs Share Wild Success Stories".  This is more than just marketing genius in a title; these are really cool stories.


Brad Morgan (The "Doo Man").  Brad turned unwanted cow manure into compost, transforming his former dairy farm into a compost farm!

Doug Chapan ("Hyperfit").  Doug is a former Navy command fitness leader who is now training mere mortals to be strong in everyday situations and beyond.

Janet Brown-Smith ("Chase-It" Pet Toys).  Janet sells her product on QVC, and I have to say is the least interesting story to ME of the three panelists, on paper at least.

Also, Ron Suarez and Tom Meloche will be pitching new business ideas.

I hope to be there (looks bleak: need babysitter!), but I sure hope to hear all about it if I miss it.

For more info, go to http://www.nef.bizserve.com/events/index.html

New Enterprise Forum

Carly Fiorina on Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast

I recently learned about Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast (on the Java Posse podcast: thanks Tor Joe!), and downloaded a few episodes to my iPod.  I swear, dog walking has NOT been the same since I got the iPod.  Sometimes I extend my walk because I'm enjoying the talk so much that I don't want to head home (or back to work).  Today was one of those days, in spite of the fact that it was raining.

Anyhow, today's speaker was Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, and Stanford alum.  She studied medieval history and philosophy at Stanford as an undergrad.  She talked a bit about her windy, twisty career path, and it was quite interesting.  I have to say, I would have never guessed that she was a secretary as her first job out of college, before her MBA!

The entire talk is great.  The first 40 minutes or so consist of her speaking.  After that, there's a Q&A session with the audience (another 30 minutes).  If it takes too much out of your day to listen to the entire episode, definitely listen to the first 40 minutes.

The highlight for me was in her describing leadership.  She talked a lot about it being a personal choice.  Anyone can choose to be a leader, and make a difference. It's not always those who seem to be in the best position financially, or status-wise, that make leaders. Often times, those people don't choose that route, whereas someone that you would expect to be unempowered to make a difference stands up and chooses to do so.  She compared some Harvard grads in her age group who seemed unable to determine what it would take to make a difference to a soldier, recently back from Iraq, who had lost both legs and his eyesight.  It was the 20 year old soldier who was incented to make a difference, in the lives of other people who had been injured and not the Harvard grads who, seemingly, had "everything" going for them.

She described some key aspects of a leader:

  • Capability
  • Collaboration
  • Character

It takes all of these things.  It struck me that the times in my life when I have been most disappointed in situations where I met someone who I thought was a leader, were when the person violated one of the these principles, specifically the latter two. From a collaboration standpoint, either they don't know how to "ask questions and LISTEN to the answers" (as Carly put it) or they don't seek out people with differing viewpoints and learn from people with varying experience.  Or, they fail in the character category by not treating people well.

If you have a chance to listen to this podcast, definitely do so (and feel free to post comments; I would love to know what others thought). I'm looking forward to the other talks in the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series and I hope that I will be as thrilled with them as I was with this.   The dog will enjoy them too, I'm sure.  Anything that prolongs his walk makes him happy.

Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast
(also available on iTunes)