Category Archives: Startups

Advising Rebel Space Technologies

I’m honored to announce that Rebel Space Technologies has asked me to join them as a Strategic and Technical Advisor. Satellites need to reliably and efficiently communicate with each other and ground stations in the face of severe spectrum congestion, celestial dynamics (these things and the Earth are always moving relative to each other), and changing mission profiles. Rebel’s first product is the Rebel Space Radio, which leverages software-defined radio (SDR) technology to allow RF …Continue reading

I’m Advising Carv Because It Improves My Skiing

Last Christmas (2019) my daughter gifted me Carv. I fell so in love with the product that I stalked the CEO and begged him to talk to me to see if I could help. I’ve been working with the company since December and last week he asked me to join Carv as a Strategic Advisor. Initially, I assumed Carv was a gimmick. The abbreviated 2019/20 ski season meant I only got 6 days using Carv, …Continue reading

Open Office Hours with Charlie

Last month I offered “office hours” to anyone who wanted to chat with me. It was an experiment to see a) if interesting people would reach out, b) if I could be useful to these people, and c) if I’d be exposed to domains where I could spend more of my time in the future. All three hypotheses have turned out true. Thank you to all of you who utilized this so far! I still …Continue reading

Be Excellent At Saying No

Steven Sinofski has written another great post on his “Learning by Shipping” blog. In this one, titled “8 steps for engineering leaders to keep the peace” he focuses on things an engineering leader can do when his or her ‘manager’ asks for too much. Solid advice, but it only addresses half the problem (the engineering leader). #5 in his list of things is 1. As part of doing that, I’m going to sometimes feel like …Continue reading

Have a Plan

Yesterday someone asked me to share my thoughts on the secret to building excellent things. I summarized what I know as: “Put the customer first, have a plan, create a shared mission, get early victories, remove process, and make it fun.” – me, yesterday.   This was the formula my cohorts that built the Windows Phone app platform used. It worked. This is what the small team that created www.milelogr.com did. “No battle was ever …Continue reading

Bubbly Time: MileLogr has its first, real, paying customers!

When we launched MileLogr (www.milelogr.com) yesterday we didn’t know how long it would be before the first real customer actually paid us for a report. It happened today! We have monies! It is time for a serious glass of champagne! We got some great press on the launch too.  Todd Bishop of Geekwire wrote: The service, called MileLogr, works in conjunction with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple calendars, creating a detailed mileage report based on the …Continue reading

Don’t Make Your Team Say No To You

Leaders are often visionary “idea people”. The difference between success and failure is how good these leaders are at training their teams to say No. Idea People often forget they are disrupting their own teams by voicing their ideas. If leaders don’t learn and practice skills for controlling the flow of ideas, their teams will fail. When I was building home networking for Windows at Microsoft, I learned getting a team to a focused plan, …Continue reading

Be as Excellent at Saying No as Saying Yes

While in Amman Jordan last month, I had the opportunity to speak at Amman Tech Tuesdays, a local startup event held every month there. I was asked to talk about what I’ve learned in my career to an audience of about 500 geeks and entrepreneurs. I decided to talk about focus, a topic dear to my heart. The title of the talk is “Be as Excellent at Saying No as Saying Yes”. Below the video …Continue reading

Four Things I Learned in Jordan

I wrote a guest post for the Huffington Post on Dec 7, 2012. You can read the full post here, but here’s the TL;DR: If the Middle East can stay relatively stable for just 10-15 more years, entrepreneurship will have a major long-term positive impact on the social-economic future of the region. As the Middle East grows as a source of commerce and technology for the rest of the world, Arab women entrepreneurs will be …Continue reading

MileLogr now Supports Outlook.com!

On September 10, Stefan & I launched the beta of MileLogr. We got some great feedback and have just launched a major update. MileLogr is a Calendar App that Creates Mileage Logs. MileLogr integrates with your calendar and creates mileage logs for taxes, expense reports, and timesheets. Automagically. For Free! The new update incorporates the following new features: Now supports Outlook.com (Hotmail/Live) based calendars in addition to Exchange/Office365 and Google calendars. For calendar systems that …Continue reading

Facebook is like a Brick

At my Future of Mobile talk at Thinkspace last week, someone asked me what I thought of Facebook’s future. I came up with an analogy for explaining my perspective, and have since developed it further. “All the big guys have potential energy. They are objects with mass at altitude. Apple, Microsoft, and Google’s altitude comes primarily from their massive profits. Facebook’s altitude results from having lots of eyeballs in their social graph. There are other …Continue reading

Seattle Angel Conference #2

On May 30, 2012 we held the first ever Seattle Angel Conference. It was a smashing success. Bolstered by the success of the first event, we’re doing it again on December 13. The primary mission of those of us helping to drive Seattle Angel Conferences is: “To grow the angel community in greater Seattle by creating an open environment where any accredited investor can participate in the investment of new startups.” We know there are …Continue reading

Congrats to the Seattle Angel Conference and Illumagear!

Yesterday we held the first ever Seattle Angel Conference. At the event, Illumagear, a scrappy Seattle startup with a vision for radically improving construction worker safety took home a check for $100K. By all measures the conference, as Bob Crimmins told me after the event, goes in the “Win Column”.  We had a terrific turnout, selling out the event. The room was full of energy and buzz. The participating companies all kicked-butt in their presentations. …Continue reading

Use of Multiple Calendars in Google Calendar

I don’t personally use Google Calendar but for building MileLogr, I needed some information on how others do. I decided to run a quick online survey to see if I could get some data. Tweeting this survey to my ~8500 followers on Twitter (I had to beg a few times) resulted in 120 responses over about 24 hours. This is probably not a great representation of the broad Google Calendar user base, but for my …Continue reading

Seattle Angel Conference

The Seattle Angel Conference event will be May 31st. Over the last two months, the investors and the applying companies have been in a due diligence and filtering process. We would like to ask for your help to spread the word about this project and invite you to the event. As I’ve written previously, a primary mission of the Seattle Angel Conference is to help people learn about the Angel investing process by engaging in …Continue reading

MileLogr is already worth $1674 – Applying Lean Startup

Last Fall while driving to a meeting I was struck with this idea for a service that would help self-employed people and small businesses track automobile mileage in order to get a tax deduction. As I was leaving the Borg I found myself driving all over hell and back meeting with business partners, startups I was advising, and business events such as Lean Startup Seattle meetings. I knew the mileage was deductible but keeping track …Continue reading

You are Thinking of Your Career Trajectory Wrong

Most people think about their career trajectory as being like a bell-curve or that of a cannon ball fired from a cannon. Something like this: For 99% of all successful people, this is completely the wrong way to think about it. For that other 1% (the Bill Gates & Mark Zuckerbergs of the world) it might work. For the rest of us, there’s a mental model that will help keep you sane, help you appreciate …Continue reading

Experience = Stuff / Time

The real value in creating new businesses is in delivering customer experiences. The ubiquitous nature of the web, devices, and social networks means successful companies in the future will understand this. The question is “what do people mean when they say ‘experience’”? This post provides an answer. Over the years, I’ve developed a mental model that helps me and my teams think about new businesses from a very customer focused perspective. I refer to it …Continue reading

Brand is a Critical Part of the End-to-End Experience

A commenter on another of my posts asked me to explain further why I think “brand is as much a part of the end-to-end experience as the user interface, device, OS, apps, and services.” I took it as a challenge to actually get my thoughts on the subject down in writing. So here we go… I use the following mental model when thinking through end-to-end user experiences: Or, since this is not real math, in words: …Continue reading

Get Off Your Butt and Start Startuping

This message is for those of you who are either “Stuck” in a great paying job at BigCo in the Seattle area (Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, etc…) Living near Seattle & trying to figure out what to do with your life after “calling in rich”. In either case, I’m guessing, you are: Smart. Love technology. Have an entrepreneurial spirit. Want to get involved in startups, but haven’t figured out how. A group of us in …Continue reading