Friday, June 27, 2014

Mass Mutual invests in VVM

So the big news here in Western Mass is the announcement of Mass Mutual investing in Valley Venture Mentors.

Short version of the article: Mass Mutual is giving 1.5 million to Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), plus 5 million to create a fund to provide capital to startups and entrepreneurs hungry to change the world.


It was just about a year ago that I attended my first VVM meeting and subsequently pitched for a startup I was working with called KnowledgeWare21 and we were accepted into the program.  I've since remained with VVM as a mentor, and then now as a facilitator where I've have the pleasure to mentor with 2 fantastic startups in this round, Trext and uChampion.

Speaking from both sides of VVMs two sided market (entrepreneurs and mentors) I can accurately say the program provides tremendous value for both sides.

Entrepreneurs spend so much time in the "details" it's really helpful for them to step back and get feedback at a high level from some pretty darn smart and experienced people. The culture is always about helping the entrepreneur and giving encouraging and positive feedback.

Mentors get to take a day from their usual work and cheer on exciting startups from the sidelines. Plus it feels good when mentors are able to provide value to the entrepreneurs whether it's help with marketing ideas, technology, or to recommend someone for a position that needs to be filled.

Just back in February, VVM received a $150,000 grant.  Since then the size of the meetings has seem to quadruple due to the word getting out and increased marking. Plus, VVM has created a coworking and meeting space for startups and mentors which just opened. Clearly VVM knows to execute quickly and ramp up the program while staying true to the original culture.

There's no doubt VVM will use Mass Mutuals generous contribution to create even more value in this area as it helps local entrepreneurs execute on their vision and create jobs in the process.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Huge day for OverDog - the startup I joined last year! We launched our KickStarter campaign today - please check out the video and back us - even if it's just $5 bucks.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Combining the power of technology and a certain insect...

Yours truly is among the millions of Americans who work from home. Last night at a party I was talking with another one of those millions and we were exchanging how we construct our schedules. It's helpful to hear other ideas and learn how other people make the "home office" work for them.

It's from this spirit of sharing anecdotally of what "works for me" that this post was born.

Just this weekend I rearranged my office and snapped this pic:

I want to just focus on two things. First is the white device on the left. It's AT&T 3G Microcell Wireless Cellular Signal Booster Tower Antenna by Cisco. Basically it's uses the internet to create a mini cell tower. Normally I would get a bar in my house and struggle with calls - instead of having to setup a land line I got this wonderful gizmo.

I now have 5 bars all over my house. Plus my local ATT store gave me the device for free. Reception is outstanding. No shelling out cash for a land land or dealing with voice over IP (which didn't work very well for me).

The 2nd you can't really see in the above photo so let's zoom in:

So in this hole created between my laptop and 2nd monitor I can see......what is that next to the tree? Let's zoom in again:

Bee in snow

Well, we are now zoomed in all the way to a single bee.  Yes, I am a bee keeper and it's my hive that I can see while I work.

While working from home it's important to have to have solid connections. My high speed internet gives me the connection needed to build awesome technology. The Microcell builds on that connection and increases my ability to communicate other people via my phone.

And my beehive gives me another connection that I feel  is equally important: a connection to the natural world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Netflix Xmas Eve Outage

Netflix Blames Amazon for Christmas Eve Outage

This is certainly an interesting situation - Netflix and Amazon are direct competitors both providing similar services. But Netflix runs their platform in Amazon Web Services (AWS) - does anyone not see a conflict of interest there?

While AWS provides 99.99% uptime guarantee int the SLA what about that rare 0.001% time when AWS can go down? What if that happened as a key time of the year such as Cyber Monday?

Why would Netflix run their services with a company that stands to benefit if there are problems?

How is this different than say Ford and GM competing yet GM rents production plants from Ford to build the GM cars and trucks? And say there were problems - such as power going out or equipment failing. Why would you want to depend on a competitors in this fashion?

Netflix - why not move to a company that isn't a competitor and will benefit from your growth and successes and thus would have a vested interest in it? Instead of hosting your services with a platform that actually stands to benefit more from your failure?