StartX Teams

I’ve had more than a few asks recently about the various teams I’ve mentored at StartX (I was a mentor at the first StartX, fka SSE Labs, session in June of 2010 and continue in this role today). After a bit of sleuthing through my mail, I’ve put together what I think is a comprehensive list along with any pointers/info I have about the current status of the team.

Roles

  • Lead Mentor - my primary role at StartX
  • Board of Advisors - I occasionally serve as a Board member for companies. The BoA is comprised of entrepreneurs, VC and StartX alumni
  • Judge - Periodically I participate in the evaluation process which determines the teams that are invited to StartX/StartXMed.

Teams

  • ThinkBulbs - Led by Alvin Tse, ThinkBulbs launched the "Say Cheeze" app for iOS. Alvin is currently at FlipBoard.
  • Fresh Cookies
  • Juntos Finanzas - Led by CEO Ben Knelman, Juntos continues to be recognized for their innovative approach to providing financial products and services to cash-based households.
  • Nutrivise - Led by CEO Laura Borel, Nutrivise was acquired by Jawbone
  • Mind Sumo - A fantastic team of folks, driving hard to help college students succeed in the job market.
  • Medigram - HIPAA compliant group messaging for doctors/hospitals. 
  • Endowr - Team at the formation phase, trying to disrupt student loan lending.
  • Appfluence - Hai and team offer Priority Matrix, an award winning, multi-platform project management app.
  • Bluesora - An early company in the quadrotor space.
  • Pixelapse - GitHub for designers and their teams/customers.
  • Insynctive - Led by CEO Eric Kish, Insynctive offers a SaaS-based solution for HR, benefits and payroll.
  • arc
  • Tangible Play/Osmo - Changing education and iPad gaming with the interaction of tangible objects and software.
  • Roam Insights - Enterprise sales analytics tools.
  • Dynaoptics - True optical zoom for mobile devices
  • Script - Building a great photo/drawing app, PicCandy
  • OMG 


Crystal Springs Marathon - Finisher!

On Saturday January 11, 2014 we ran the Crystal Springs Marathon, my 20th marathon but first trail marathon. Yes, I was a bit nervous about getting lost or wiping out on a tree root.

The race started at 8:30am in Huddart Park. Temps were in the low 40s with a forecast for possible rain after 11am. Distances were 50k, marathon and 22 miles - the majority of runners were doing the 22 miler but there were a decent number of marathon and ultra runners as well.

From the start, we took a flat/downhill 1.5 mile single track to warm up our quads for what was next - 5 miles of some serious uphill! The trail, full of switchbacks, climbed approximately 1600 feet with some steep sections. We crossed the road (Skyline) and had some nice downhill then hard uphill to the aid station. 

What a welcome sight - not only was there an opportunity to refill fluids (it was still cool, but pretty humid so everyone was loading up on fluids) but since this was an ultra we had all the "good stuff" - M&Ms, peanut butter sandwiches, Coke and Reese's. Yum! We then headed to the next aid station, 6 miles away, on a single track trail, high above a canyon that made me a bit dizzy looking down. The trail was technical and required a solid level of concentration to avoid taking a fall. We reached the second aid station and loaded up on fluid and goodies.

Next came a 4 mile add-on for the marathon and ultra - 2 miles of downhill switchbacks and then 2 miles back up to the aid station. 1200 feet of elevation change in total. My quads were starting to scream so I just kept thinking about reaching the top and loading up on electrolytes and a Reese's. At the top, it started to rain intermittently, but we stayed dry under the cover of the trees.

We made it back to the first/last aid station, caught the score of the Seahawks/Saints game (3-0, first quarter) and then headed out for our last 5.7 miles. There was one incline of significance, but the rest was downhill on switchback single track through the woods - beautiful. At the finish, everyone grabbed some hot soup, assorted protein and carbs then hit the road.

Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization – Well organized, marked course (was worried I'd get lost but had no problems). Grade: A

Course - 26.2 miles of trees, a few views of the Bay . Grade: B

Aid-stations - Four aid-stations with water that wasn't from a garden hose. No Gatorade. Fun volunteers. Grade: B

Swag – Nice medal and dri-fit short sleeve shirt.  Grade: B+

Bonus - I won the raffle and got a new pair of trail shoes. Grade A


Trigger.io - Amir and James Head to Square

Amir and James started off 3 years ago as WebMynd making web plugins and pivoting to take on mobile as Trigger.io

They've made some amazing progress during this time, launching their initial product, Trigger Forge and just recently open sourcing their native modules. Along the way they've had great support from a cast of investors.

Today they've announced they are moving to Square and putting the company in the able hands of Antoine

Congrats guys!


NoSQL/Big Data in the Cloud

Great post about NoSQL and Big Data in the cloud - an overview that also discusses a portion of the Bing Social Data Platform (I managed this team and the larger platform effort during my time in Bing).

The numbers are quite interesting for scale geeks like me:

It’s also used by the Bing search engine to provide almost-immediate publicly searchable content from Facebook or Twitter posts or status updates. With around 350TB of data, the scope of Facebook and Twitter data is remarkable. When this data is being ingested, transaction throughput reaches peaks of around 40,000 transactions per second and totals between 2 to 3 billion transactions per day.

To summarize:

  • 40k trans/sec at peak
  • 2 to 3b trans/day
  • 350TB of data. The numbers and scale

Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Last month I officially joined the Board of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and am fortunate to be featured in their recent newsletter.

Working at the intersection of the public and private sectors is new to me and I've already learned how little I know about how local government functions. Hopefully I will be able to contribute and help make progress on some near-and-dear quality of life issues like traffic/commuting and the Bay Area environment.

The first Board meeting was quite humbling.

Probably won't be the last time I feel that way.

Migrating from Posterous to Posthaven

This is a bummer

On April 30th, we will turn off posterous.com and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter.


Sigh.

After a bunch of procrastination and failed attempts to migrate to Wordpress and tumblr, I checked out Posthaven. Signup was quick, had to agree to $5/month (geez, I better blog more...) and the import was painless.

Good job Gary and company, now when do I get an iPhone app?