I’m unhappy when I’m not doing something challenging. I get restless, and checking things off my task list just isn’t enough.
So I can’t help myself–I’ll take on something big, even if it’s “out of scope” from regular work. But time and again, the value I get from that effort is so much greater than 100 little projects.
When I look back at what’s been really meaningful for me, it’s been cases where I went all out. Sometimes it was a few extra hours on a task that could’ve taken a half hour. Others it was writing an eBook or a content site instead of a simple blog post. Perhaps it was even turning AwayFind from a hobby into a product, team, and business.
This isn’t a prescription to "go big or go home." There’s a balance, and a point of diminishing returns for all of our activities. It’s just that, for me at least, the reward from creating something that takes the extra work far outweighs the effort.
This may all seem obvious, but I’m sharing this now for two reasons:
Perhaps not everyone thinks this way. I’m genuinely curious—a lot of people would prefer to take on challenges with less risk-reward involved, but have they seen just what kind of reward is at stake, even if it’s just personal fulfillment?
To talk myself into creating more. I feel that I can offer much more value than I’m doing now, and getting started again here is likely the first step for many of the creative projects I’m interested in.
That first step is tough, for me as much as for you. But I’m taking it here as I want to create more. Do you want to create more, to do something big? What’s your first step?
In the past week, two of the smartest people I know have taken issue with features or projects I’m working on.
They were engineers, and their arguments were logical and comprehensive, but fundamentally misguided.
Their arguments were of the "this won’t cure cancer" variety: they explained that my proposed solution would not be definitive, just like most research on cancer targets just a subset of people. Trying to cure cancer is about making progress, until maybe someday we arrive at the true panacea.
Here were the specific arguments presented to me:
This pattern doesn’t always indicate [that path], so we can’t recommend [that path] to the user" - paraphrased from a conversation with Person A
But the pattern (which was easy for our software product to identify, but nearly impossible for a human to recognize) is accurate more than 90% of the time. So, as far as I’m concerned, 90% is good enough to recommend a path to our users. This solution doesn’t address a life or death problem, but even if it did, it’d still be the best recommendation.
It has the potential to be successful, much like businesses that sell anti-aging cosmetics to aging women. The customer understands that the problem is unsolvable, but readily pays for a combination of A) buying time on the hamster wheel, and B) fooling themselves for some amount of time. - verbatim from an email from Person B
Once again, this colleague is comparing a working solution to a fantastical cure-all. My solution wasn’t tricking people, it was just solving one portion of a bigger problem. If that portion weren’t a problem on its own, then perhaps I’d be selling snake oil to fools. But if that portion is legitimate (and he does believe that there are benefits) then I’m making real progress for real people. Even if I’m talking about productivity rather than saving lives.
Someday all of us can hope to cure a disease or overthrow a nascent industry. In the meantime, it’s both reasonable and right to push society forward in small and meaningful ways.
Aim for progress, don’t get caught up in perfection.
The most useful advice for me in 2012 came from Wayne Willis*: “Let go of the results.” In other words, put your best foot forward, but accept that you can’t control the outcome.
In 2012, I did give my best. What was challenging, even more than the fight forward, was staying sane enough to let go and to keep moving forward.
When things are outside of your control, when they don’t work out, you’ve simply got to push forward with your business and with yourself. At work, that’s easy—keep doing the marketing, keep following up on the leads, keep building a great product. But outside of work, it’s not so obvious.
When I looked back on 2012’s challenges, I mentioned that there were 3 things that got me through it. Here they are again, this time with explanation. I offer my formula to you, so you too can push through:
1. Take Care of Yourself
When shit got hard in 2012, I hit the track. Without realizing it, I found myself in particularly good shape. It’s been a (not quite) joke in my relationships that when things are peachy-keen I have nothing to write about. I’ve uncovered a second truth—when things gets tough, I run more, too. Try it—hard running feels a lot better than a marathon of Breaking Bad.
Beyond running, I went camping and kayaking and generally surrounded myself with the beauty that is the Bay Area. Nature physically changes me, and a day away is a chance to get to know friends much better than breaking bread.
When it’s rainy or late, writing has always been a help for me. If I’m too tired to write, I’ll simply record to my iPhone. It’s amazing what sharing it all can do, even if it’s just sharing with yourself.
Lastly, I added chess to the mix this year. Though I generally avoid games, something about the thinking that chess demands just felt right to me; it’s an escape that I’m comfortable with.
2. Find the Company of Friends or Family
As I mentioned, I try to stay active when there’s a lot on my mind. I also try to surround myself with friends, even if it’s just their company when we’re working across from one another at a cafe.
I get a lot out of doing for others. While it can be frustrating if they don’t reciprocate, I’ve come to accept that I’m the one who will likely reach out more. We all have our own approach to friendships, and I know my friends appreciate when I include them.
While there are some ways that a friend can’t replace a significant other, it’s surprised me just how good a job they can do. Whether it be reading together on a weekend morning or late night dancing or cooking together, most activities don’t have to be reserved for lovers.
3. Never Give Up on Doing What’s Right
Whether or not I have a chance to get outside or be around close friends, I at least try to avoid the things I might regret. Somehow this is easy for me (I’ve never drunk-dialed), but I know that for others this is difficult.
By doing what’s right, that means I never say hurtful things, instead I over-communicate, and I blame myself whenever possible. It means that I don’t always win, but at the end of the day I feel like I did what was best for the situation in the long-run, even if it wasn’t good for me in the moment.
This approach to being the better person led to one of the hardest weeks of my life, but now I know that I put everything in…so it’s possible to let go of the results.
If you’re not sure about something, write out what your instincts tell you. Talk to a friend. Sleep on it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of letting time dull the situation for the right path to come to you.
– These are the things that got me through the challenges in 2012. I imagine that they’ll play a role in guiding me through the years to come. I welcome any techniques you use to let go of the results and make it through the year.
* Wayne Willis not only helped me to let go of the results, he was a big part of knowing what path to forge. I hope you too can find someone who’s been through similar life challenges and wound up on top. Thank you, Wayne.
On Dec 31, looking back, things may not seem picture perfect. And there’s a tendency to question whether there was progress. But there was, there always is.
2012 was a little bumpy, but I traveled far in the right direction. When it was tough, I still went through the motions and pushed forward.
Looking Past the Happy Face.
There’s an unspoken rule among founders to put on your happy face and sing the pretty metrics. We get good at spin. The reality is that startups take perseverance and sometimes you need to try the backup-to-the-backup plan.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a significant other who stays by your side and understands. But that doesn’t always go as planned. We get hurt; we hurt others. Once again, we put on the happy face. Relationships, too, take work, and the best we can do is to treat him or her how we’d hope to be treated, to stay open, and to stay honest.
If on Dec 31 the happy face feels tired, it’s tempting to feel like you’ve lost. But a year is a long time, and looking back there was likely real progress and growth. Needless to say, work and relationships were challenging for me in 2012, but when I look more closely… (and you should for your own year), I find so much to be proud of.
Stuff Gets Done
Skip this section if you’d like. But I do need to write this stuff out…
AwayFind hasn’t "blown up" quite how I expected, but it has in other ways. The product we have today is something I’m incredibly proud of. And looking back, my gosh did we get a lot done in 2012:
a new marketing site
a recommendations system
a better upgrade process
an Exchange connectivity system
parity between iPhone & Android
an Outlook plugin
an invitation system
multiple calendar support
a Chrome extension
coverage on Fast Company, TechCrunch, NBC, Lifehacker, and so many more sites…
2012 was a solid year for AwayFind, and we may have even figured out That Revenue Thing.
And in my personal-professional world, I spoke in Santiago, Poznan, and Paris, presented a Tech Talk at Google, wrote articles for Lifehacker & Ars Technica, and grew so much as a CEO.
There was one area in my personal life that didn’t work out, but I’m proud to say that I was giving throughout and never hurt her unnecessarily. I didn’t know I was capable of that, and though I wouldn’t wish the process on anyone, the best we can do is to be the person that we would hope we could be. And that’s an accomplishment. I hope next time (and there will be a next time) that I can give of myself in the same way.
Relationships may seem like a big part of the voyage, but there are so many destinations along the way, so many personal changes I’m proud of. I’ve spent so much time this year in nature, I’ve got my mile time to 5:22, my waist to 31, I’ve gotten back into basketball, picked up chess, explored cities like Krakow and Valparaiso, deepened many friendships, and opened up to many new people.
Getting Through 365 Days
Of course there will be challenges and pain in a year. Getting through them may feel nothing short of miserable, but when things get tough, that’s why you need certain things:
A system for taking care of yourself
The company of friends or family
Never giving up on doing what’s right
In the next few days, I’ve got a blog post coming that details these 3 things… please subscribe via RSS or email above.
As 2013 approaches, I’m a stronger person with a clearer head. I have goals for next year that are attainable, and risks I’m ready to take…risks that just might turn into big rewards. 2012 may be behind me, but I’m proud of it, and ready for tomorrow.
Have a safe holidays! I have trouble with that thought. Of the adjectives that could describe the things I’m proud of, "safety" couldn’t be further from them.
The safe path is never to take chances, and my only regrets are from chances I didn’t take.
Don’t get me wrong, taking dangerous risks is not a winning formula. But doing something uncomfortable or unorthodox that just might turn into something big, well now we’re talking.
I’m not a parent. But I hope when I have kids that safety is not my first concern. I want them to experience life, to take risks, and to make mistakes early. I want them to know that opportunity is out there, but it doesn’t come easy. Fortunately few risks are life-and-death.
From my work to health to how I treat people, I have my lines. Driving fast? Ok. Drugs? Not ok. Risking my savings on my business? Ok. Taking a 10 mile hike without water or a map? Not ok. Sharing a ride with someone I met 30 minutes ago? Most likely.
We all have brains in our head, and we need to take calculated risks. I enjoy driving on mountain roads, putting everything into my company (while I’m young and single) and prefer to be trusting of new people.
What’s important is knowing ourselves, making careful decisions, and maintaining a thread of optimism. I say optimize for living, not for safety.
Know your limits. Be comfortable on the edge. And have a fucking awesome holidays.
RIM gets a bad rap. It set out to create the best email experience for mobile, and it did that. Unfortunately for them, smartphones now do a lot more than email.
Still, it’s worth pausing to look into what BlackBerry brought to mobile email, and to point out how iPhone and Android users can replicate some of RIM’s best features.
The Core Difference Between BlackBerry and iPhone/Android: Email
In full disclosure, I began writing this post after a bunch of former BlackBerry users moved to AwayFind. I started digging deeper into what AwayFind had to do with BlackBerry, and it all made sense: BlackBerry is a server-to-server enterprise email tool with a mobile device serving as the frontend. Android and iPhone are mobile computers with email clients as one of their applications.
What these different architectures mean for smartphone users:
The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) sits behind a corporation’s firewall and talks directly to a mail server, in realtime. It stores all the mobile device’s settings, and thus only communicates with the BlackBerry when there’s something it needs. The BES is designed to make email on the BlackBerry as fast and efficient as possible, and utilizing the phone (and its battery) only when necessary.
Android and iOS devices check the email on their corporation’s mail server directly, over the internet. This happens in one of two ways, either the phone asks every few minutes, “is there any new mail?” or the phone does its best to maintain a connection with the mail server(s) directly, waiting for a change in the inbox. In either case, it takes up battery life, and is neither as quick nor as reliable. Without a server in the middle, the phone does the hard work.
The reason for this is simple: BlackBerry is an enterprise email device; Android and iPhone are consumer devices with software that checks email. If you’ve ever traveled with a laptop, you know that email software sometimes works great and sometimes works unreliably—email isn’t at the center of the universe on laptops. And the same is true on Android and iPhone.
Without a server-to-server mail environment, iPhones or Androids will never perform the same as BlackBerry devices, but the gap in capabilities is narrowing. There are now both native and third-party ways to bring the worlds together.
In case you’re curious: the parallel to AwayFind is that the AwayFind server talks directly to the mail server and only notifies an iPhone or Android device when necessary, similar to BES. Since AwayFind uses the push notification service provided by Apple/Google, it’s usually faster than SMS.
Features that BlackBerry Users Miss on iPhone and Android devices. And how to replicate them…
AutoText / Word Substitution
BlackBerry has a robust shortcut-> common phrase tool, that even lets you insert variables like the current date/time. For instance “lmk” can automatically turn into “let me know.”
With iOS5, this is now relatively easy…but Android still hasn’t quite caught up.
On iOS, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Type the full phrase in the “Phrase” and the abbreviation in the “Shortcut.” You can see some of my examples to the right…
On Android, you most likely won’t find Auto Text with the keyboard that comes pre-installed. Even Swype (the most popular third-party keyboard) does not include it. Auto Text Keyboard is one the most popular apps for this. Just be aware that when installing a tool like this, you are changing the entire keyboard on your phone, and not just adding Auto Text.
Once you have Auto Text available, I’d recommend taking a couple minutes to insert common phrases. As you can see in the image above, I have shortcuts for my email address and common phrases. For instance, “afloc” transforms into “I’m at 169 11th St, SF — http://bit.ly/sfawayfind” (which is my office address).
Blinking Indicator for New Emails
BlackBerry is perhaps best remembered for its multi-colored blinking LED, which let you know of various states for the phone. By default, red means “new message,” green means “low battery,” and blue means “bluetooth.” People were particularly keen on the red display (more on this in the next section, in the video especially).
On Android, there are many applications that allow you to customize the color and behavior of the LED, however not all work on all phones. One popular application is called Blink (pictured to the right), which can display a particular color indicator for an SMS or phone call. While this won’t let you know about new emails, you could use a program (like AwayFind ;-) that converts an email into an SMS to accomplish this.
On iPhone, you can navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts and turn it On. If you place your phone face-down on your desk, you’ll see the LED flash light up once for any notification. There isn’t a way to set a persistent blink (without jailbreaking it and using a program like FlashEnhancer).
Notification of Only Certain New Emails
On BlackBerry, one can even further customize their LED to only blink for emails from certain specific people. This is one of the most popular BlackBerry features, since it can be distracting to see a blinking light every time an email arrives. A quick story about why BlackBerry users love this this:
An AwayFind user tells the story of a telecom exec who has a BlackBerry solely for its programmable LED
If you use Gmail and Android, you have the ability to send specific senders to specific labels. Then on the Android Gmail app, you can set specific labels to trigger a notification. (On the Android Gmail app, Go to Settings, click on your email account, and then click setup both Email Notifications and Labels to notify.
At present, iOS does not offer this. However, on iOS6, they’re introducing an Email VIP feature where you can star specific people. Then, when those people email you, a notification will appear with the context of the message.
Even with these features, this need is one of the main reasons people come to AwayFind. AwayFind offers this for both iPhone and Android, integrates with Exchange, Outlook, Gmail, and Google Apps, and can be deployed throughout a company (even for non-smartphone users through SMS). It’s also much faster than the push functionality built into the iPhone and Android OS because AwayFind talks directly to the mail server.
Keyboard Shortcuts for Compose
On the BlackBerry, it’s always quick to create a new email. From the Home screen, you need simply press C (since there’s a physical keyboard!) to create a new email or SMS. There are all kinds of shortcuts for similar things.
While this might be possible with iOS’s new AssistiveTouch, it’s definitely not designed for this, and I wouldn’t recommend trying. Fortunately, tapping the Home button, clicking Email, and pressing Compose shouldn’t take more than 2 seconds. The Compose button is available from every email display view (except when you’re already composing an email).
On Android, it can take a little longer to navigate to Compose (about twice as many clicks in some cases), but you can use a gesture to navigate straight to the Gmail application. My Gesture Shortcut Launcher is one application to try, which will at least cut a few steps.
BlackBerry vs iPhone and Android for Email
If you spend all day replying to emails on-the-go, BlackBerry will be faster. But not because of the above features—it just comes down to the keyboard. Swype for Android may help, and the iOS keyboard is pretty good, too…but nothing beats a physical keyboard.
On the other hand, if you spend more time reading and processing email, then the bigger screens and easier navigation will make the email experience more pleasant, and perhaps as productive.
And, it goes without saying that iPhone and Android have a much larger array of both productivity applications and games. From multimedia to news to task management, and even just keeping the device in sync (with things other than Enterprise mail), BlackBerry still needs to catch up.
How Have You Found the Switch?
While many individuals made the switch a long time ago, a lot of enterprises are going through the jump just now. If you’re running into difficulties getting your users moved over, I’d be curious what challenges you’re experiencing? Maybe there’s something I can help answer in the comments or in a future article… Feel free to respond below or email me at jared A technotheory.com.
Scheduling conflicts and jetlag are what usually come to mind when people speak of timezones. But they can play a crucial role in productivity, too.
Like an offensive line that makes room for the star player to act, the right timezone frees you to make the play.
This past week I worked out of Paris (to attend and speak at Le Web). I was reminded how incredibly easy it was to get ahead when everyone in the States was asleep. But to keep my team on task and address some big opportunities, I also found myself Skyping and emailing from 1-3am. It was the best and it was the worst.
A few years ago I worked out of Barcelona. This past summer I worked out of Buenos Aires. A big part of why I take these trips is that they’re simply better timezones for me. And I mean it when I say that the only thing I truly dislike about San Francisco is Pacific Standard Time.
Timezones play a very important role in my ability to get things done. Like a long flight without internet, they keep interruptions at bay. But timezones also mean something psychologically—when I accomplish things before others are even online, it feels different. A good timezone is an opportunity to not only get ahead but to feel ahead. That’s powerful.
Try as I might to find another pattern, my routine has been unchanged for several years. I get the most accomplished in the mornings, when I prefer to keep to myself. I prefer to take meetings or calls in the afternoons. And, no matter what advanced calendaring or ‘get up early’ techniques I’ve tried, nothing allows me to maintain this rhythm quite so well as a good timezone.
Essentially, I like to be slightly ahead of those I’m working with—ideally 3-6 hours. In Buenos Aires I’m now 2 hours ahead of my east coast folks and 5 hours ahead of SF. In Barcelona or Paris I was 6 hours ahead of the east coast (where I used to live), which was manageable…but the 9 hour difference from SF (where I now live) is not manageable. So that means Europe is generally off my radar now, at least for long trips.
Of course, all of this assumes that when traveling there’s still an opportunity to get into a rhythm and complete your work. Being far away from home can be challenging, but these days so long as you can find a good office, coworking space, or even coffeehouse, you should be able to get things done. I try to take month-long trips since it’s enough time both to build a routine and qualify for monthly rates on apartments and offices.
I’ve been behind on writing to my blog, but now that I’m in Buenos Aires, it’s easier to find that time, as I’m probably writing this before you’re even awake. I’m free from interruptions, and I must say that it’s nice to have long days in the summer sun.
Now it’s your turn to get away and get things done. Who says they don’t go together?
It’s all about the preparation. Andrew Warner (pictured right) knows this—that’s why his entrepreneur interviews on Mixergy are so popular.
I was lucky enough to be interviewed last week by Andrew, where we dug into some practical lessons-learned and shared stories and tips. The video is embedded below. So grab some holiday tofurkey and get ready to be productive…
Andrew and I discussed 11 specific and tactical tips for winning back time in the workday. Below I’ve pasted the video interview. On Mixergy.com, you’ll find a full transcript, an MP3 version, as well as a many (much more ; ) helpful videos for entrepreneurs.
Happy to answer any questions in the comments. Meantime, enjoy your Turkey Day!
Few things are as core to my identity as writing. Yet lately I’ve been proven wrong, over and over, about my writing intuition.
I see now that with so many things, practice isn’t enough. Don’t repeat my mistakes, which began 2 months ago.
Two months ago, I hired a writer (hi, Brian!). We spoke the same language about business and saw eye-to-eye about how AwayFind can help people. I was quite excited to work together.
Even more, Brian is not just a writer. Brian is a 15 year direct marketing veteran, a thinker, and someone who more than deserves his Director of Marketing title. But I’ve still never hired someone who I disagreed with so often and so thoroughly.
But he pushed. So we tested and gathered feedback. I was nearly universally wrong.
Now, Brian and I are different. Different is fine. But what was tough for me is that when I read some of his suggestions I thought, "No, that simply won’t work." It wasn’t a "no, that’s not me" it was a flat out, "This won’t work, because of x, y, and z."
You see, my writing is no accident. I can explain clearly why I chose one path or another, and why I strongly object to certain suggestions.
And yet I was wrong. Consistently (okay, mostly consistently ; ). With something I thought I understood.
I’m so glad for this experience (which is continuing, of course). Even beyond its impact on my own writing, it helps me to see what our users, and people generally, value and appreciate. And the bigger lesson here is not about writing: it’s that our assumptions about even our greatest perceived strengths may be wrong.
For a parallel—consider playing a musical instrument. It takes both practice and technique. One will certainly have to practice to attain proficiency…but without the proper technique it’s impossible to achieve the highest success. We fundamentally understand this about music.
But in the rest of life we assume that enough practice will lead to success. But technique is still hugely important. We need to open up to the possibility that maybe our own technique—or at least our intuition–isn’t quite what we thought.
Consider your best strengths. Then put your ego aside and really consider how differing approaches work, or be more objective in how you see its real impact.
When something so fundamentally different from your own (thought-out) perspective enters your world, perhaps you’re the one who needs to reconsider.
Product manager, change agent, and speaker with a penchant for finding the most practical applications of everyday technology--particularly regarding business collaboration and communication. I believe that technology can strengthen our relationships and facilitate productivity rather than adding even more noise to our lives.
In April 2014, I joined Microsoft to lead Microsoft Lync's mobile strategy, particularly for iOS & Android. Lync is a leader in the enterprise IM, voice, and meeting space--I couldn't say no to an opportunity to reinvent mobile collaboration in the workplace. (Stay tuned for that...)
Prior to Microsoft, I founded two businesses: a technology training company focused on productivity software and a technology startup that helped combat email interruptions in the workplace. Through these companies I became a recognized leader in the future of communications while building products for Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Chrome, iOS, Android, SMS, and Voice.
I sold the former company in July 2010 and raised over $1mm for the second around that time. That latter business, AwayFind, continues to help tens of thousands of people to escape their inboxes today.
In November 2013, I began a part-time innovation fellowship with the Department of Health and Human Services. There I've worked on the collaboration vision for a 130,000+ person migration to a cloud-based communications platform. I've also offered my product development experience to several initiatives within the Office of Family Assistance.
I try in earnest to support both the local and causal communities that have helped me along the way. To that end, I organize several conferences, speak regularly at events, and in the past have written for publications like Ars Technica, Lifehacker, and Web Worker Daily.
2014 - Present
Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Lync / Microsoft
Responsible for the Lync Mobile strategy while serving as Product Owner for the iOS & Android Lync mobile apps. Reinventing mobile collaboration in the workplace.
2010 - Present
Co-Founder / Inbox Love
An annual conference on the future of email. Past events have been held at Google and Microsoft, with around 400 people. I organized much of the content, emceed, moderated, and worked alongside Dave McClure and Joshua Baer.
2010 - Present
Mentor / Founder Institute
Led courses on marketing, outsourcing, and partnering with both Washington DC's and San Francisco's Founder Institute, from March 2010-now, I've worked with 4 Founder Institute classes and several more sessions.
Innovation Fellow / US Department of Health and Human Services
As a part-time member of their “External Entrepreneur” innovation fellowship, I lent an entrepreneurial perspective to initiatives in both the Office of Family Assistance and the Office of the CIO. OFA manages all of TANF (welfare) as well as several discretionary grants that are designed to lift people out of poverty and grow healthy families. I worked to make their tools more accessible to their grantees and to substantially lower the cost of several technology procurements. At the OCIO, I worked on their vision for collaboration as they migrated their communications tools to the cloud.
Executive Vice President / Information Overload Research Group
Information overload and attention management are real issues. IORG is at the forefront of bringing together academics and industry leaders to both research and address these sorts of challenges in today's overly connected and incredibly distracting world.
Mentor / 500 Startups
Founder and CEO / AwayFind
AwayFind is an application that provides mobile notifications of priority emails. We help people to spend less time in their inbox but to be more responsive to those they most need to hear from. Some of our best customers (we have over 2,000) are in the sales, support, and professional service industries.
AwayFind was initially a side project while at SET Consulting, as we saw our clients (like the FBI, USMS, NTT/DoCoMo) were spending half their days in their email. Once I sold SET, I moved to the Bay Area and grew AwayFind to the popular application it is today.
I now serve as an advisor to AwayFind, which is maintained by two of my AwayFind colleagues.
Founder / Ignite DC
Founded (along with Steve Lickteig) and have co-organized all of our events, which regularly draw over 300 people. We ran 10 events together, and the latter half of them were co-organized with the inimitable Geoff Livingston.
Founder / Bootstrap Maryland
Bootstrap Maryland holds events/conferences that bring together young entrepreneurs and the necessary tools for running a lean and successful technology business. Feeling that a lot of the most current business advice for running startups hadn't made it to DC, I started this group to push that along. I generally choose the topics, select the speakers, and moderate the panels, which attract from 100-250 people.
More at http://bootstrapmd.com
Founder and President / SET Consulting
In July 2010 I sold SET Consulting and today I maintain an advisory role. Feel free to reach out to me regarding SET Consulting business opportunities as I'd be happy to pass them on.
SET Consulting helps businesses to save time and look more professional in Microsoft Office. Our goal is to save organizations 30 minutes per more per employee in Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
We've been doing this for over eight years and have well over 400 clients.
Our most popular niches: * We partner with design firms to design PowerPoint presentations, Excel projections, and Word reports for their clients. We've done these reports for many household-name clients. You may have seen our work on the Four Hour Workweek Dreamline spreadsheet, as well. * We work with the US government on large documentation projects (designing templates, automating processes, and/or providing training). Some examples include NIST's voting machine standards and the reports delivered to Congress * We work with law firms and associations as they're about to upgrade to Office 2007, providing both consulting and training related to the migration.
Web and PL/SQL Developer / Federal Trade Commission
Developed and maintained websites that interacted with Oracle databases. This involved a great deal of PL/SQL, WebDB (an Oracle product), and ASP web development. In the last few months at the FTC I began delivering informal Office training...which planted a seed for what later became SET Consulting LLC. (NOTE: this was a 20-hour per week job as I was attending university full-time)
Build Engineer / ShareOne, Inc.
Automate various parts of the software build process. This involved redesigning a build generator to dynamically import requirements for a particular build. Worked with Delphi and various scripting languages. Also created/modified an internal website (based on open source PHP/MySQL) to improve communication between developers. (NOTE: this was a summer job as I was attending university at the time)
Build Engineer / Artisoft Inc.
Designed, developed and implemented a complex build generator that uses a Windows Scripting Host (ASP) back-end and a Visual Basic ActiveX DLL interface. I also supported an internal development build tree (in XML). (NOTE: this was a summer/winter job as I was attending university at the time. Artisoft has recently changed its name to Vertical Communications)
MFC Developer / The Info Group
Designed and developed dynamic and flexible user interfaces within Visual C++. Implemented these interfaces using MFC and ODBC. (This was a summer / winter job while I attended University. The company was later purchased by AnchorPoint)
Quality Assurance Engineer / Mango Software Inc.
Designed and implemented automated tests with Microsoft Visual Test. Developed a basic Microsoft Access database and used SQL to report off of it. (Note: like most jobs here, this was a full time job during school vacations and part time during the year. Note also that this startup didn't do so well when many features of their core products ended up being similar to those built into Windows 98.)
Technical Support Representative / Galaxy Internet Services
Provided part-time technical support to Galaxy's customers for HTML/SSI/CGI. (At the time, websites were very new and Galaxy was one of the first ISPs in the Boston area.)
University of Maryland College Park
Activities: Ballroom at Maryland, Model United Nations
Framingham State College
Activities: Also worked as Tutor for Computer Science and Software Engineering Students.