“Noca is building a new online payment system to provide significantly reduced transaction processing rates for online shopping enabling efficient processing of micro-transactions for digital goods. Current payment systems have high fixed as well as variable costs and do not scale for online transactions. Noca’s system offers merchants virtually free transaction processing. For the consumers Noca is building a ‘consumer experience’ and incentivization strategy which will allow consumers unprecedented choice in incentives and provide for a radically improved way to transact online. Identity theft will be a thing of the past.”—A description of the payment-processing startup Noca.com, from www.killerstartups.com.
“I want to go to Williams College," I continued. "And with all due respect, I think the admissions committee has made a mistake. And I’d like to work with you to correct it. I am formally rejecting your rejection. I’m coming to Williams. Not next year perhaps, but at some point. I’m in no rush. I have all the time in the world, and I plan to send an application in to Williams every year until I’m accepted."
There was another long silence. At this point, I figure Corny is either going to play ball with me or transfer my call to the police. Corny cleared his throat and said, “I appreciate your desire to attend Williams. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a call like this, so let’s see what we can do.” For the next few months, I worked with Corny to build a yearlong program during which I’d remedy several of the deficiencies (read: B’s) he saw in my application. That next year, I re-applied to Williams, and was granted early admission to the class of 1994.”—Bo Peabody, in Lucky or Smart, via Gabor Hits Send.
I had the privilege of meeting Micah Baldwin of Lijit at the Techstars Chicago Meetup last week. He was fun to talk to and offered some good advice about what Techstars would be looking for in a promising startup.
He was nice enough to send a follow-up e-mail today encouraging me to apply. I’d love to, but after thinking about it quite a bit I’ve concluded that we’re not quite ready. Two main reasons. First, our market is small enough (remember the title of this blog!) that I think we need some customer traction before we’ll be taken seriously and have a chance of being accepted. Second, we’re just not financially ready to quit our jobs and live on ramen money for the summer in Boulder.
In another year, we’ll probably either be squeaking by with just enough revenue to stay afloat, or have started to see some real adoption. Either way, Techstars would still be highly relevant to us and we’d be more ready to stand out from other highly-qualified applicants.
Because I’m always adapting, almost unconsciously, to the different grain directions and densities, it’s so easy to forget how easily the blade cut through the wood when it was newly sharpened. I find myself thinking, “it’s still plenty sharp, I’ll go a few more minutes and then hone it.” Always just a few more minutes. One more cut. Just need to finish this one section…
When I finally sit down and run the blade over the strop, it only takes a few passes to hone it. Four or five trips down the leather, maybe about thirty seconds total away from the project. But what an amazing difference it makes. Those four or five runs across the strop are enough to bring the blade back to its original keenness, and it never fails to amaze me how easily the blade cuts through the wood, compared to just before stropping. I thought the blade was plenty sharp before. I had forgotten just how sharp it could be, and what a difference that makes.
”—Jamis Buck on why he left a comfortable job at BYU to work for 37Signals.
Late last year, my family found a line-a-day diary maintained by my great-aunt from 1937 to 1941. She was in her early teens, living on a small farm in rural Illinois with her two brothers, one of which was my grandfather.
It’s a fascinating account of life in a bygone era, a time when my family’s only connections to the world were schoolhouse chatter and a neighbor’s radio.
Looking at the terse journal, my sister quipped, “This is the Twitter of the 1930s.” We glanced at each other and almost immediately began planning the Twitter account that would become Twitter.com/Genny_Spencer.
Spent the afternoon and evening building a few more Genlighten mockups for Justin. Balsamiq continues to be a great tool for laying out UI elements, sizing text blocks, and just visualizing how an entire page can come together. Focused on “Provider Settings” and “Lookup Offering Preview” pages.
I attended an informal Techstars meetup at Threadless in Chicago tonight. Micah Baldwin of Lijit and Chris Wand of Foundry Group were there to give us the scoop on the Techstars program. Harper Reed, CTO of Threadless, was our host.
We first got a quick tour of Threadless’ office/warehouse/game room… including the resident graffitti artist’s half-pipe. Then Chris and Micah answered questions about Boulder, the Techstars experience, and what they’re looking for in a founding team.
I was grateful for the chance to ask Chris lots of questions about Foodzie, a Techstars company from last summer’s program. The word for the night was “artisanal” — of, or about, artisans. I explained that Genlighten was a kind of Foodzie for genealogy research… (a marketplace for artisanal genealogists?). But Chris seemed stuck on viewing us as “Mechanical Turk for Genealogy” instead. Oh well. Need to hone my elevator pitch some more.
Harper seemed a little more positive… he really likes Geni (so do I!) and I got to explain to him how we hoped to let our customers export the documents we helped them find to their family tree on Geni.
As networking events go, this has to have been one of my all-time favorites. No smoky bar with wall-to-wall people, no noisy music that made it impossible to hold a conversation. And easy access to the people you really wanted to meet.
Will we apply to Techstars this year? Probably not. I’d love to live in Boulder for the summer, the mentoring is just what we need, and it’d be cool to have a chance to talk to real angel investors. But I don’t think our team could afford to live in Boulder for the summer on ramen money… at least not given our current financial commitments. Still, it’s definitely something I aspire to. Maybe next year! [No, not the Cubs… Genlighten!]
I’m signed up to give a presentation on lifestreaming web resources at the South Davis Genealogy Fair in March. One of my goals for the presentation is to explore microblogging services like Tumblr and discuss what I learn with my audience. So here I am, trying it out!
So far, the selection of default themes seems appealing enough. I haven’t yet figured out how to easily customize the theme I chose. Hopefully that’ll become more obvious after I create this post.
The big news in our family today was from our son Lowell, who’s serving as a missionary for our Church in Donetsk, Ukraine. We found a picture of him on Picasa posted by another pair of missionaries who are serving there with him. And we heard a letter he had written to his friends in our Church congregation read over the pulpit today by our Bishop. It was gratifying to hear of his excitement and his enthusiasm for the work he’s engaged in. It was also reassuring to sense his unique personality shining through in his words. I’ll try posting the photo of him here in a subsequent post.