Going to Business of Software 2012 in Boston? Here’s the scoop on who I am and potential points of connection if you want to connect beforehand or meet me there. Scroll down, or use the links below to jump to a section.
Who Am I?
SlamBook! was a home page add-on for teenagers that I sold in 1999.
New Orleans Web Design was a short-lived web design firm in 1999.
True Peers was a social network for professionals (ala LinkedIn) that I co-founded in 1999 & closed in 2001.
Agile Muse Development was a short-lived web development firm.
Lab Escape I co-founded in 2003, which I still run today.
I actively participate in the community, including co-founding:
Meet the Geeks, a networking event for IT folk in Western North Carolina
The A.R.K., a multidisciplinary community arts space in New Orleans
My current projects include:
Ignite Asheville, a lightning talk event we held in February
Startup Weekend Asheville, a 54-hour startup event in August
20 years ago I wrote a travelogue about hitchhiking around the U.S. which is yet to be published.
I also wrote 4 chapters of Dynamic HTML Unleashed, an early book on what became Web 2.0.
I won my first dance contest in 3rd grade—and haven’t competed since.
I’m strongest at Lindy Hop & but also do Charleston, Balboa & Blues.
I love dancing to hip-hop, Balkan, industrial, 80s, house and more.
I contra dance & just learned how to two-step at the Broken Spoke.
I co-founded & run Lab Escape.
We sell heat map data visualization software to large and mid-sized companies to help managers gain quicker and deeper insights into their data.
Lab Escape turned 9 years old in June.
I’ve performed with several circuses, acting as master of ceremonies, fire spinner and accountant.
I co-organized the 3rd Nomadic Festival, a circus tour that went from San Francisco to Boston.
I don’t spin fire anymore, but I used to do fire poi, fire jump rope, fire swords & fire eating.
My first home page was back in 1992.
In 1995, I landed in San Francisco & got hired by Maximum Information, a startup that developed WebC, an early web application frameworks.
I’m now learning Python, then Django.
I spent 3 years hitchhiking across the U.S. in the early ’90s after dropping out of college.
I’ve gone to Europe often—my father grew up outside Cologne, Germany.
My favorite international cities include Barcelona, Prague & Amsterdam.
Und, Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch.
I love learning new ways to improve myself & my business.
Since 2010, I’ve been researching how we make decisions, to identify decision patterns that can help us make decisions faster & with better outcomes.
In June, I launched Lean Decisions, a blog to share what I’ve been learning, to force me to write regularly on the subject & to update my Internet marketing skills.
Never a runner, I started barefoot-style running last August.
I’m not hardcore: I run in water shoes or sandals, I don’t run consistently & I’m still on chapter 1 of Born To Run.
But I love to learn new tips & insights.
I love games of all stripes: cards, board games & sports.
I play Carcassonne & Scrabble on my iPad, plus dozens of quick games on my phone.
I plan to live to be 100.
I never liked exercise, and don’t really now. But I force myself to do it.
I (try to) lift weights 2x a week, run 3x a week, dance 2x a week, and hike, bike & do yoga whenever I can.
I often fail.
The Science of Happiness
I love learning about positive psychology and the science of happiness.
I’ve been learning how to express appreciation better & how to create space for forgiveness.
I was learning to meditate using Headspace, but it dropped on the priority list.
I occasionally write a gratitude entry in my FitBit journal.
And Much More…
I love…Tom Baker best as Doctor Who (though David Tennant comes in a close second), TED talks (who doesn’t?), inspiring others & helping them think through problems, any TV show written by Steven Moffat or Joss Whedon, books by Anaïs Nin & Robert Heinlein, startups & economic development, coming up with new ways to meet people, Shiraz or Malbec, quality intellectual conversation and new adventures.
Interesting Facts About Me
I Dropped Out of College
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a dual Physics/Biology major. I quickly switched to Math so I could take art & music electives.
When I ran out of art & music courses, I dropped out and spent 3 years living as an artist on the streets and hitchhiking across the country.
It was the best decision I ever made.
My Age is 34…in Base 12
To be young, you have to think young. And I think I’m young.
To encourage the spirit of youthfulness, I often state my age in different mathematical bases.
In base 13, I’m 31; in base 16, I’m 38; and in base 19, I’m 22.
I Helped Test GPS
After high school, I got a job writing test software for ship & submarine navigation systems for the U.S. Navy.
The software I wrote graphed the data they were collecting while testing GPS—the same GPS used in our phones today.
It was my first data visualization job.
My Vision Is 2-D
I only see in two dimensions. My eyes have been crossed all my life. They don’t merge into a single image.
But there’s a bonus: one eye is near-sighted and the other is far-sighted. Since I only use one at a time, I don’t need glasses.
In fact, it means I won’t need reading glasses until I’m much older.
I Didn’t Drink Until Age 25
Until eighth grade, my father was a practicing alcoholic. As such, I avoided alcohol through my teens & into my 20s.
To avoid the social pressure, I used to tell people I was allergic to alcohol.
My first drink: absinthe in Prague.
I’m a 1st Generation German
My father was born at the end of World War II in a small village outside Cologne, Germany.
My mother’s mother came from Durbach, outside the Black Forest.
Other Events I Attend
World Domination Summit (Jul 6-8)
The World Domination Summit has both amazing speakers and amazing attendees, similar to Business of Software.
Attendees come to learn how to change the world.
Startup Weekend Asheville (Aug 24- 26)
Create a new business in 54 hours? You bet.
We’re brought Startup Weekend to Asheville with 49 attendees, 27 ideas pitched and 9 teams formed.
Burning Man (Aug 27 – Sep 3)
I went to Burning Man this year for the second time. My first time was in 1996. A lot has changed.
It was an incredible experience. Amazing art & music, plus the challenge of living in the Black Rock desert.
Lindy Focus (Dec 26 – Jan 1)
I learned a slew last year at Lindy Focus & grew so much as a swing dancer.
This year I’m returning. Though it’s easy for me, since I live in Asheville.
MassTLC Innovation unConference (Nov 16)
One of the best unconferences I’ve ever been to. Over 800 people talking about innovation & entrepreneurship.
Transformus (Aug 24- 26)
The former Southwest Regional for Burning Man continues in its 9th year in the lush forests of Asheville.
Find me at the Local Fauna theme camp at Transformus.
Boston Startup Weekend (Feb 24 – 26)
I helped out with the most recent Boston Startup Weekend.
Prior to that I participated in two others: Charlotte & Boston (Oct 2011). My Boston team launched Sponsor Bar as a new startup.
South by Southwest (Mar 8 – 12)
I attended the Interactive portion of South by Southwest this year.
I learned a lot of the panels, met some great people & helped promote the upcoming Asheville startup accelerator.
My motto for 2012: Make More Mistakes
Plus 7 verbs: Appreciate – Help – Socialize – Simplify – Exercise – Savor – Extend
I plan to keeping do all that, and more. For Business of Software, I want to achieve the goals below. If you can help out in any way, it would be much appreciated. And if I can help you achieve your goals, just let me know!
Make 5 Great Connections
I signed up for Business of Software based on the people going. Out of all the people attending, I want to walk away with 5 new friends. Five people who I’ll still be talking to 6 months from now.
If you see me, come up & say hi. Maybe you’ll be one of the 5.
Interview 3 People About Key Decisions
I continue to research how people make decisions. My greatest insights have come from interviewing people about the decisions they make. I’d like to interview at least 3 people at Business of Software about their decisions.
Would you like to be one of those?
Remember 3 New Insights
The learning at events like Business of Software can be overwhelming. Rather than trying to remember it all, my goal is to remember 3 new insights. Ideally these would be insights that would produce a 10x impact on Lab Escape or one of my side projects.
If you went last year, what were the insights you gained? Leave a comment at the end of this page.
How To Recognize Me
How To Connect With Me
I aim to be friendly and not to bite. Please come up and say hi if you see me at Business of Software. If we have a great connection, let’s definitely keep it going after the conference.
Before: I am taking some time each day to scan the #BoS2012 Twitter stream.
During: Twitter and e-mail will be the best ways to reach me.
After: Send me an e-mail, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Policy: I’m starting to follow most people back on Twitter and accept most Facebook friend requests. For LinkedIn, I still wait until I meet someone before adding them as a contact.
Ideas: If you’re interested how I manage LinkedIn contacts, read Managing LinkedIn Connections Using Tags. I’m starting to do the same for Facebook using lists.