November 11, 2013
ANZ Innovyze Start Summer 2014 Program
In July of 2012, I was fortunate to be invited to Adelaide, Australia to be a mentor in the first class of start up entrepreneurs in the ANZ Innovyz START technology acelerator. I had a great time, made some new friends, and hopefully gave some of my entrepreneur experience to the group.
The program is going strong, and is now taking applications for the next program. Applications close November 25th, 2013 so get to it if you are at all interested. There actually is a strong Boulder-to-Adelaide connection with quite a few mentors from Boulder making the trip over, and at least one group from Boulder who was selected and participated in the first program.
Entrepreneurs from all over the world will be considered.
August 21, 2013
Sailing an Alien Sea now available at the Tattered Cover
If you've ever visited Denver, and you love books, you've probably been to the Tattered Cover Book Store. When I first moved to Colorado I had never seen a bookstore like the Tattered Cover and I spent many hours in the old Denver store looking at, and buying, so many great books.
They now have three stores, one on Colfax, one in lower downtown and the third in Highlands Ranch. If you haven't been, I have a reason for you to go - my wife's book, Sailing an Alien Sea, is now in stock at the Tattered Cover. I think we're going to go down to Denver this weekend just to see it for ourselves! Don't worry, if you buy the last one before we get there, we'll try again next week.
Seriously, it's a really good book and it is getting great reviews. Out of respect for the Tattered Cover, I won't say where you can find those reviews right now, because if you're going to buy a book this weekend, go to your local book store and give them some love. If you don't live in Colorado, that's OK, your local book store can order it. That's Sailing an Alien Sea, by Cindy L. Gold, ISBN-13: 978-0988520004.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to review, and most weekends the author buys me breakfast. If she gets famous, (how many authors get rich after all?) I could possibly benefit from her success. Mostly I'm just really, really proud of her ability to tell a great story. The book is fiction, but it is loosely based on two people that I admire greatly. One more disclaimer, the book is not about aliens or sailing. It's a metaphor. It does however show Santa Fe in a very different light than you might get from the Santa Fe Tourism website. I hope one day they forgive her for that. And because the book uses terms that you might not be familiar with unless you are from Santa Fe, such as Arroyo, Toolies, and Zozobra, Cindy has provided a glossery on her website here: http://www.cindygold.net/?q=glossary
July 23, 2013
Celebrating 22 Years with 22 mile run
On June 21nd, Gold Systems celebrated our incorporation twenty-two years ago! Now let me tell you a story about how I ended up running twenty-two miles from my house in Gunbarrel to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain to celebrate the occasion.
Sometime during the dot com boom I was sitting in my backyard with my friend Herb Morreale and we were talking about the difference between companies that give it all they've got for a year or two and companies that take the longer view. From my backyard I can see a few mountain peaks, and I said to Herb, "See that green pointy looking mountain? We couldn't possibly sprint to that mountain from here, but I'll bet we could get there eventually under our own power if we picked our route, planned a little and didn't kill ourselves along the way." It was something like that anyway.
My point was that we were both in businesses where it seemed like we were running a series of marathons rather than one fast sprint. That idea always stuck with me and I reminded people at Gold Systems that to last we needed to sometimes conserve our energy and not burn out along the way.
Later I figured out that the mountain is Sugarloaf Mountain. The peak is about twenty-two miles from my backyard and it stands 3,655 feet higher at 8,917. It's one of our smaller Colorado mountains. About three and a half years ago I started running after reading the book "Born to Run" and the idea of actually running to the top of that mountain started to get more real with every mile I ran.
Just a week or two before the anniversary of Gold Systems I decided it was time to do it. I was in good shape, and it would fall on a Friday so I could run to work in the morning, get a few things done and then take off for the summit after our company Bar B Q.
(Click on the images below to see them full size)
Friday morning arrived sunny and hot, but I was excited to get on the road.
My first view of Sugarloaf after leaving my house came at about mile three. I remember thinking it looked a long way away. I knew I could run the distance but I wasn't as positive about the climb with the heat, but I figured I could just keep going even if I had to walk and I would make it. The photos below make it look a little farther away than it appeard to me then, but not by much!
I arrived at Gold Systems and had a problem to deal with, so that distracted me from the big part of the run head of me. We had a nice Bar B Q around noon where we grilled out hamburgers (beef and vegi) and hot dogs. I had a hamburger and chips and then of course had to have an anniversary cupcake. I wondered how that would sit in my stomach later.
After a few more emails and congratulations to everyone, I hit the road again. The heat hit me and I realized I was going to have to be careful with water. I had a small backpack with water and Gu, and I expected to be able to fill up at Eben G Fine Park towards the end of the Boulder Creek Path.
The Boulder Creek Path is always nice and I used the time to reflect on twenty-two years at Gold Systems. I can't even guess how many people have helped us get to this point. Year ago I calculated that we had created over 1,000 years of employment and it is well beyond that now. So many people have been a part of this and it has gone so far beyond what my co-founder Jim Fudge and I imagined in the beginning. I appreciate everyone who's worked here, and all the friends, partners and customers who kept us going all these years. It hasn't been easy, and it hasn't always been fun, but it's been a great accomplishment by everyone involved.
I remembered to stop for water at the park, but it was overrun with kids, and the line for the water was just too long. I reasoned that I hadn't drank that much and though I got a quick drink, I didn't fill up my pack. We have a saying at Gold Systems - "Lessons will be repeated until learned."
The Boulder Creek Path starts climbing up alongside Canyon Boulevard and I was suddenly out of the shade. I wondered about finding another water stop but didn't want to add even more miles to a run that was looking big enough already.
This is what it looked like for the couple of miles that I was on Canyon. I was worried about getting through the tunnel since there is only the smallest of sidewalks, but I picked my time and sprinted through when there were no cars in sight. I made it to the other end just before a car came around the bend. Sometimes even when you are running a long distance, you have to sprint, so it's best to have some reserves in the tank for the occasion. Same as in business.
I also had to jump from one side of the road to the other quite a few times over the next two miles. The shoulder was OK, but it wasn't consistent on either side. Minor course corrections are to be expected.
The cars rushing by helped to make the time pass quickly and I was on Sugarloaf road in less than 20 minutes after leaving the trail. That's where the real climb begins, and thankfully there were some clouds to keep some of the sun off of my head. In just another 20 minutes or so I had climbed (slowly!) up enough to have a good view of the canyon and Boulder Creek below. This was starting to get real.
From Sugarloaf Road to Sugarloaf Mountain Road it is 4.7 miles, and it is steep uphill all the way. I ran as much as I could and walked when I needed to, but I kept going. People driving uphill in cars would wave, as would people on bikes flying downhill. I only saw one guy riding uphill and an hour later he passed me on his way back down and seemed really surprised to see me still going. He said "wow!" as he zoomed past, and that one word carried me up the next couple of miles. Whoever you are, thank you!
I've seen a lot of interesting things on the roadside as I've ran, but finding a telephone jack on the side of the road seemed surreal. How many phone lines have I touched in twenty-two years? And what does it mean that this jack is just sitting here on the side of the road? It probably fell out of a truck, maybe on its way to the dump. Times are changing.
Most of the rest of the way up Sugarloaf Road I ran on the road, with quick hops to the shoulder when I imagined that a driver was texting as they made this drive to Boulder for the ten thousandth time. By the way, I was wearing my Fivefinger shoes all the way, until I got to the trailhead and changed into trail shoes for the last rocky mile.
Finally I came around a curve and saw Sugarloaf Mountain for the first time since I was East of Boulder. It was great to see it looking so big, but it was still a ways off and the clouds were getting darker. I was also starting to worry about my water supply, like you do when you pass a gas station on the Interstate with an 1/8th of a tank of gas and an untrustrwory gas gauge.
Around 4:30 in the afternoon, I got to my last turn. I had a good map and a cheat sheet of the turns and milestones, so I knew I was getting close and that I could finish it when I turned on to Sugarloaf Mountain Road.
And then right about here, on the last few miles to the trail head, I ran out of water. When I say "trail head" that's where most people park their cars to begin the hike to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. I was expecting a friend to be there with a bag I had put together with water, food, and my trail shoes for the rocky last mile, so I wasn't worried when I ran out of water. I also figured I could go back a mile or two and knock on the door of a house or cabin and beg for water if I needed it.
Unfortunately my friend missed the turn and went about 10 miles on down the road. Lucky for me there was a guy there packing up his ATV and he gave me a couple of bottles of water, so I sat on a rock and enjoyed being off my feet until my friend found his way back to the trail head. Although it still looks like a long way to the top in the photo below, it was only another .68 miles.
It was a nice walk up to the summit, with great views on all sides.
If you click on the photo below you can see my starting point that morning way off in the distance. Maybe you can, because I couldn't see my part of the county much less my house, but it's out there somewhere.
I expect I'll always remember this run, and I hope it always inspires me. I had run the Colfax Marathon a month before and barely finished, and it was on flat pavement. A lesson here is that things can and often do get better. I could have convinced myself not to even try the Sugarloaf run based on that marathon experience. This should have been a harder run, but it wasn't. Probably because I wanted this one so bad and I really did enjoy the experience of doing something that I had only imagined might be possible years before. Or maybe it was just a different day and because I tried, I did it.
This run was really a tribute as much as it was a test. Thanks to my wife Cindy (who has a new book for sale! :-) ) She still doesn't know why I would do something like this but she still supports me. And I'm talking about both the company and the run. Thanks to Jim for suggesting we start a company way back when, and thanks to everyone else who has worked here or been a customer or who has just dropped in to help when needed. This run's for you!
July 13, 2013
My Wife, the Author
May 16, 2013
I've flown 152,820 miles since 1-13-09
According to tripit.com, I've flown 152,820 miles since January 13, 2009.
I'm a big fan of tripit.com. If you travel at all, you should check it out because it is the very best way I've found to organize travel information such as flights, hotel reservations and rental cars. When I book a flight, I get an email from the airline. I then forward that email to email@example.com and it magically puts it into my intenerary for that trip. Same thing for other reservations. Then while I'm traveling I can use the web or a mobile device to look and see where I need to be next. It's even smart enough to tell me if a flight is delayed and it will suggest alternate flights. They also make it easy to print a paper copy, just in case the electronics fail, and you can easily email your travel plans to other people.
This afternoon I was planning a quick business trip and I noticed that Tripit also keeps track of total trips and miles flown. Here are my stats since I joined Tripit January 13, 2009.
That's a lot of miles, even though many people fly a lot more than I do. This year I've done a lot of customer visits and a couple of personal trips. In the past four years and four months, I've flown the equivalent of a little more than six times around the world, at the equator. Again, I know people who fly way more than me, but I was surprised at just how many miles I've flown. I wish I knew how many miles I've flown in my life! United says I've flown 555,171 miles just with them, not including all the flights that they didn't credit me for, so maybe the total is a million or more. Wow, I've probably flown more miles than I've driven!
February 10, 2013
Interviewed on W3W3.com
Last week Larry Nelson, co-founder of W3W3.com made the trip up to Boulder to catch up and do a podcast interview with me. If you are in the entrepreneural community in Colorado, you've probably met Larry and his co-founder Pat. Larry is the guy in the sharp looking suit at every event taking photos of everyone. His joke is that the photos go up on the website for free, but you have to pay to get them removed.
I'm fascinated by the work that Larry and Pat have done, because he has documented so many companies in Colorado and beyond. I keep telling him someone needs to interview him so he can tell his story, and while he was here, I created the world's shortest podcast.
To listen to the interview that Larry did with me where we talked about Gold Systems' new Vonetix 7 Voice product, click here. Be sure and check out http://www.w3w3.com including the Entrepreneurs, Software and Venture Capital Channels. If you would like to get your company name in front of business leaders from Colorado and beyond, ask Larry about sponsoring on of these channels.
January 16, 2013
Sitting is worse than smoking
I lost both of my parents to smoking, yet here I am doing something that might be even worse for my own health - sitting at a computer all day and half the night.
I just read Nilofer Merchant's blog post "Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation" on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. It's a good reminder that we need to get up and walk around. She says that we're averaging 9.3 hours a day of sitting compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping and that it is a huge health threat. Personally, I think that is an overestimate of the number of hours most people sleep every night!
Nilofer goes on to say that the death rate associated with obesity in the US is now at 35 million, versus 3.5 million for tobacco. What can help? Get up. You don't have to run, just get out of your chair. Trade sit down meetings for walks or even hikes. Sit down even a little less each day, and your health will be better for it. "Can't run" you say - fine, just stand up, but get out of the chair.
My friends know that I've been a runner now for a little more than three years, but the people I work with know that I'd just as soon go for a walk on the Boulder Creek path than to sit down for a meeting, so when the weather cooperates we have our meetings outside. TC North told me years ago that there were benefits to walking meetings, such as it is easier to be creative and that it is easier to talk about tough subjects when walking side by side than it is when sitting face to face.
Read this article, and then get up out of your chair and walk around, even if it is just to the water cooler and back. Your health will be better for it.
October 31, 2012
The new Microsoft Surface
Two things arrived from Microsoft today, and one of them was the new Microsoft Surface RT.
Wow, I'm impressed! I've been playing with a Samsung Series 7 running Windows 8 before this, but the Surface seems way better with no fans. It just seems nicer somehow. Starting at $499, I think Microsoft is going to get some market share with this device, and not just for people who want to be able to use Microsoft Office. It feels different than the iPad or any other tablet I've played with. Kind of like how Xbox felt different from all the other consoles when it first came out.
I thought I would not want a keyboard, but the TV ads convinced me to give it a try. I actually got each of the two available keyboards and both are nice, but I'm writing this with the one with real keys and it feels like a great keyboard, with the keys in the right place for me. The keyboard really does just snap in place like magic and then it just works. It's actually been awhile since a piece of technology made me think, "that's cool" but this did.
Sizewise, it is a little bigger than the iPad 3 but it feels about the same even with the keyboard attached. The two keyboards weigh about the same, so I'm guessing most will go with the one with real keys if they get a keyboard.
I have resisted keyboards on touch devices, but I'm giving it a second thought now since this one is so light and gets out of the way easily. The photo above shows the Microsoft Surface next to an iPad 3, and the extra keyboard above that.
This is an RT version, so I was surprised that it came with Microsoft Office installed. The one drawback to RT is that you can't just install any Windows application on it. For that you'll need to wait for "Surface with Windows 8 Pro" which isn't available yet.
I'll do an update after I've had it for a while, but for now, I'm impressed!
October 22, 2012
Colorado Entrepreneurial By Nature
Gold Systems is now over twenty one years old, and our offices are less than a mile from where it all started here in Boulder. It's really hard to imagine starting Gold Systems anywhere but in Colorado, so I'm happy to lend our name to Colorado Entrepreneurial By Nature. It's a grass roots campaign to make sure the world knows that Colorado is a great place to live and to start a business. I've benefited so much by being in a community that supports and encourages entrepreneurs and I'm happy to give back that support to the new people starting up here in Colorado.
If you are an entrepreneur in Colorado, lend your name to the effort by going here: http://www.entrepreneurialbynature.com/
October 04, 2012
The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time
My old YPO buddy Verne Harnish has written a new book, and it is available today. His previous book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is a favorite of mine. After you read Built to Last and Good to Great, read Rockefeller Habits to learn how to opererationalize what you've just read. I'm sure The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time will be fantastic, and the forward is by Jim Collins himself. Every time I talk to Verne, he teaches me something and helps my business so I'll be ordering the new book first thing in the morning!
Boulder would be a very different environment for entrepreneurs if both Brad and Verne had not come to town and decided we needed a YEO chapter. (Now EO) Thank you guys, you've really made a difference in the community and the world, and it has been my pleasure to know you both. Brad's book is what he's learned about helping communities attract and support start ups, and I just started reading it on my Kindle. I'm sure it's great too!