Archive for February, 2012

Inside Out #NHV

February 25th, 2012

I used to do a lot more art. Yeah, I’m talking about during K-12. In college I stopped doing much besides performing (improv comedy with JAW and a little dance with Yaledancers).

I miss it. And so I’ve been looking for the right opportunity to do a public art project. So, that’s why I’m teaming up with Ben Berkowitz and Upper State Street and others to bring the Inside Out project to New Haven.

If you’re not familar with the global Inside Out project, check out JR’s TED talk. He was named a TED fellow and has launched this project globally. Each individual or group that participates chooses their own theme. Our focus is neighborhood.

Here’s our pitch:

Today a multi-lane freeway divides what once was one neighborhood: barren concrete cuts across State at Bradley and Humphrey at State.

Over the past few years, with the help of URI, we have cleaned-up, planted trees and painted fences.

Inspired by the Inside Out Project, now it is time to take one more step to bring the neighborhood closer together.

Let’s get to know each others faces. Inside Out #NHV seeks to post ~200 portraits of the people who live here.

We will cover the overpasses with huge portraits of our actual neighbors. No models need apply. And we’re doing this with local money and local photographers.

If you are interested to learn more or get involved, head over to website at InsideOutNHV.com

New Haven Founders – 100 Strong

February 21st, 2012

About a year ago, I started a weekly meeting of founders (or founders at heart) in New Haven. We picked one of my favorite breakfast spots and kept it very informal to build relationships and share info.

We got a bit more formal (but only a bit) and created a LinkedIn group. We now have over 100 members online although not everyone likes my 7:30am start time for breakfast.

So, we’re moving to a lunch weekly meeting organized by Stephen Robinson and Tim Holahan in downtown New Haven. I’m excited that the group has picked up enough momentum to cast off the shackles of my original conception. Although, I’m glad that we’re still focused on weekly and founders.

Why Weekly? My theory is that at best any one person will make half the events (myself included). If you do monthly that’s only 6 or so times a year. That doesn’t seem like enough to build real relationships where you would feel comfortable emailing or calling someone when you wanted some help. Every other week amounts to 12 times you’re showing up which is getting there, but weekly gives you close to 25 times a year and that is really getting there. Plus, I really like the low administrative overhead of doing something every week. Set it and remember (or forget and leave it in you calendar).

Why Focused on Founders? There are plenty of networking events that include investors and service providers. And there are educational sessions for people interested in starting a business that may include mentoring. That said, I have not seen enough events where founders get to mingle in a low pressure environment and talk about their challenges and not just their successes. I want a place where people can ask each other: How did you divide up equity? Who are the investors you want in your business? When is the right time to part ways with an employee or co-founder? Or even just to be silly with each other.

If you’re a founder in the New Haven and interested, please join us.

Launch Haven

February 18th, 2012


Enjoyed checking out Launch Haven earlier this week. Good turn out of entrepreneur, dreamers and supporters all interested in getting something off the ground. The organizers (Derek and Slate?) describe it as:

Launch Haven will be an “unconference-style” gathering that offers you a unique opportunity to:
a) pitch an idea you want to work on
b) match up with others who want to work on it with you for a night

and C) they also had some training classes on Android programming and HTML 5 this week.

Plus pizza and beer. What’s not to like?

At Grove in downtown New Haven every 3rd thursday 7pm.

It’s My Blog

February 18th, 2012

You’re reading my personal blog.

OK, you probably already knew that, but wanted to get that straight.

I spend most of my time working on Higher One, hanging with family or sleeping. Whenever I’m not doing those things and I want to express my curiosity, love of learning, or another passion, I may take the blogosphere.

Although I may touch on things informed by my experience as an founder, officer or board member of various organizations, I am not speaking on behalf of any of them here. When a project is in the early stages (like MakeHaven), I may blog about it. As an project gets wings, I’ll touch on it less. As the larger the organization or company, the more they have resources and teams to speak for themselves and control of other channels.

Now that we’re clear on that, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Lovins at Yale – Getting Off Fossil Fuels

February 17th, 2012

I enjoyed seeing Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute present at Yale on Wednessday. I doubt he said anything new but great to hear that he speaks as he writes: dense and dripping with encyclopedic knowledge of his subject.

And unlike others, he does not frame a trade-off between people’s desire for a better life and the rest of the natural world’s health. Rather the vision is of positive environmentalism rooted in economics and engineering. A well-grounded belief that by thoughtful application of design we can improve our quality of life while using less resources: Abundance by Design.

Two points particularly stuck with me:

One, you do not have to agree on motives to agree on outcomes and solutions. If you want to move from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy to reduce climate weirding or to make money, you can get aboard. And he does a good job explaining the tremendous market opportunity ($5trillion NPV) and lower risks (environmental, health, national security, etc.) of pursuing the switch.

Two, the set of changes he lays out to get us off fossil fuels by 2050 requires little in the way of government action. That’s really good news as I’m not sure if/when we will have that in the US.

I’m two thirds of the way through his new book Reinventing Fire which is more accessible and intriguing than the previous Winning the Oil Endgame. I recommend checking it out.

CT RFQ Issued

February 15th, 2012

In case you missed it, the RFQ was issued.

Details and final doc on their website.

Curious for any thoughts.

CT Innovation RFP Delayed

February 3rd, 2012

Looks like the state innovation system RFP is being pushed back to a later date.  I would guess that respondents wanted more time and the state purchasing process is probably presenting some challenges.  I applaud the efforts to pursue a flexible and collaborative process.  I can only imagine the challenges of fitting that into the state’s purchasing process which is likely filled with rules meant to prevent fraud and waste by inserting competition and removing personal judgement.  (Reminds me of Philip K Howard’s theory of how to improve government by re-introducing judgement – what do you think?)

Here is the notice that was emailed out from the state today.

Notice to Potential Innovation Ecosystem Applicants – 2-3-12