Friday, May 8, 2009

Back on track, again

I admit it, it's been months since I wrote about 3D Radio's bizdev progress.

Is no news good news?

Perhaps. Much of the past three months has been spent hunkering down (note the passive voice), working with my business coach on Q2 goals and strategy; pursuing yet another new, low-tech venture, Celume Creek Design; caretaking my mom as she recovered from knee replacement surgery; and building up my own physical and entrepreneurial strength following hip replacement surgery.

Celume Creek was top of mind when I returned from playing nurse, because I had a major sales opportunity to prepare for and execute. But I've devoted this week almost entirely to 3D Radio.

This quarter's strategic plan remained open on my desktop and laptop. Made more efficient through Allway Sync, a freeware file synchronization utility I recently discovered. Now I'm much more confident about having identical documents and correspondence on both machines. It sure makes working in coffee shops, (a sanity-saving method) easier. Today's is Ziggi's in Longmont, CO.

To those I've email and called, thanks for the hearty responses. It's great to know you're still thinking of us, too. To thoses I haven't reached out to yet, we'll be in touch soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spelling ZZZZ

It's a well-known fact that spelling skills have gone by the wayside. Not having to know -- spellcheck software -- and the need for speed -- txt abrv8x -- have caused a certain amount of WCA when it comes to putting the correct letters in the correct order.

For IM among friends it doesn't matter as long as your message gets across.

But there are times when you should pay more attention. Your organization's URL, for example, is a word you really want to get right. Especially on the PowerPoint deck you're showing to an audience of 250.

During her presentation to the Colorado Green Tech Group Susan Innis from the Governor's Energy Office talked about the Colorado Carbon Fund. The fund is actually financed by consumers who purchase carbon offsets, which support clean energy projects in the state.

Embedded in one of her slides was the organization's URL, Missing a crucial "b."

Personally I liked the typo because it looked like the money would go to support me. Well-meaning heckler that I am, I pointed out it out to the audience with the suggestion that they see me afterward to hand over their checks.

The spelling error was far from the only one during the evening, although the folks who shouted out that "fluorescent" was misspelled in another presentation were mistaken.

I admit I'm a stickler, and that's why I get paid to edit other people's writing.

But when the word presents a call to action, like "go to my web site," there's really no excuse for not getting it right.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The artist entrepreneur

In case you hadn't noticed, life is tough these days for those of us in consumer electronics. With consumer confidence at the lowest point I've seen in my lifetime, discretionary income -- what little of it people have these days -- isn't going toward nice-to-haves, like radio enhancements. It's being spent on perceived must-haves, like digital TV sets and set-top boxes (although now you can blow it off until June since Congress passed the "DTV Delay Act").

During the slump we at 3D Radio haven't ceased thinking up great additions to our groundbreaking technology. Our intellectual property portfolio keeps on growing; we've already filed for two new patents this year.

But business development has just about ground to a halt. Our business development executive (that would be me) can hardly bring herself to do the outreach she knows needs to be done because she knows the response will probably be a resounding "Maybe." At least with "No" you know definitively where you stand: Don't call me I'll call you. "Maybe" still leaves the door painfully ajar.

Ms. Bizdev had an interesting revelation recently during a group coaching session with her business coach. The coach led the the group through a guided meditation (this is Boulder, after all) designed to provide a kind of professional vision quest.

During the five-minute interlude I found myself hiking up one of Boulder's many foothills trails. (I haven't actually hiked in months because of my bum hip, so the visualization was very therapeutic in itself.) At one point we were told to open a book and read a random page in it. My Bible-size book had no name; the page read simply "Keep going."

Once returned from our journeys and back at our desks, we were asked what our book's message was. Mine was very clear: Don't let the current economy get you down -- keep 3D Radio going."

But how to keep up my enthusiasm for a project that has felt like one step forward, two steps back? How to maintain my interest when really, truly, I'm having a lot more fun being a potter than a high-tech entrepreneur? How to infuse business development with the creative spirit I feel when building a ceramic coffee cup?

The answer? Right here on this page.

Remember it's the journey, not the destination. Remember the story of the journey is just as legitimate as the finished product. Remember the story has an emotional arc, and it takes an artist to express that movement and growth.

So write about it why don't you?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

Last Friday when I got out of bed I was most of the way across the room when I realized I wasn't limping. "It's been six weeks," I said to my husband. "I'm not limping. I guess I'm done."

They tell you it takes about six weeks to recover from total hip replacement surgery. And on day 42 sure enough I walked cane-free.

What I don't know is how long it takes to recover mentally.

The past couple of months I've been telling myself, come February I gotta get back to work.

As I eased back last week (didn't want to pop out of the ground suddenly today) I did some writing and editing for friends and clients (my "day job"), glazed a kiln-full of pots and sold four (my new craft business), and thought about what needs to be done next for 3D Radio (my entrepreneurial exploit into consumer electronics and the raison d'etre for this blog).

But haven't done a damn thing yet except launch Blogger. My shadow indicates six more weeks of procrastination ...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old journalists don't fade away, they become bloggers

If you've been following Doonesbury, you know veteran journalist Rick Redfern was laid off from the Washington Post and has taken up blogging.

If you've been following me, you know I "retired" from the Boulder County Business Report a year ago to launch my brilliant new career as a PR professional and entrepreneur.

And if you've been reading this blog, you know what a struggle that entreprenurial part has been. We've been on the phone and occasionally on the road trying to get 3D Radio in front of the right people to put the greatest radio innovation since the transistor (hyperbole alert -- but what to do you expect from a reborn flack?) onto store shelves.

All that to say when the request went out for folks to blog about the Angel Capital Summit, I could not resist. Like the fictional Redfern, once a newshound always a newshound.

So here's the quick and dirty about the event:
Who: Rockies Venture Club and EKS&H, hosts
What: Angel Capital Summit
When: Friday, Nov. 21, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: Marriott City Center, 1701 California St., Denver, Colo.
Why: Forty entrepreneurs will present their businesses to hundreds of investors. Not just any entrepreneur is allowed to strut their stuff; they are screened, hand-picked and coached prior to making their pitch.
How much: $159; members of ACS Investor and association partners $129; VIP registration $189; Town Hall only $25.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Across the universe

Sometimes the universe knows more about you than you do.

I don't mean that you have no privacy. That goes without saying when Google tracks everything you do online.

I mean often the universe gives you hints about yourself that you don't yet know on a conscious level.

Let me explain.

During the time I've been out here promoting 3D Radio I've also been indulging in a creative pastime. I make pots.

A longtime collector of unique handmade pottery, I took up the craft a couple of years ago as an antidote to my desk job. I've studied with Boulder potter Willi Eggerman and taken classes at the Boulder Potters' Guild and our municipal pottery lab.

For a long time I wasn't very proud of my handiwork, but friends and family always appreciated my misshapen, oddly glazed cups and bowls as I gave them away.
Gradually my pots got more stable and my confidence grew. I knew if I had the opportunity to work on them more -- if I wasn't limited to class and lab time -- they would get even better. So I decided to put together a home studio.

I began to search for used equipment on craigslist, and that's when the universe started to tell me I was on the right path.

The slab roller came from a former potter whose daughter told her it was time to get rid of all that stuff gathering dust in the garage. She threw in all her slump molds, stamps and boxes of chemicals and glazes I'm still trying to figure out what to do with.

The extruder had been a Christmas gift from a husband to his wife, a potter who had everything. She used it once, then it languished in the basement. The price was terrific, but I didn't really want to schlep the 60 or so miles to her home. Not to worry, she said. She needed to move her son into his Boulder apartment for the next semester at the University of Colorado. So it came to me.

Obtaining the kiln was the most challenging part of the process, but it too was a gift from the universe. $800 for a never-been-used electric kiln in nearby Estes Park sounded too good to be true, so I immediately called the guy listing it.

His first question was "Where are you located?"

"Right down the road in Boulder."

"Oh good. So far I've only heard from people in California." He then proceeded to tell me a tale of love and fate.

In 1995 a man bought his wife a state-of-the-art kiln. She had no use for it and it remained in boxes in the basement for eight years.

In 2003 the couple divorced. They owed the Estes Park potter money, but he accepted the kiln in lieu of payment.

He never made the time to hook it up, and it sat in boxes in his basement for five years.

Then medical bills began to pile up and he needed cash, so one Saturday onto craigslist went the kiln. For a reason he couldn't explain, it was listed in Ventura, Calif. All weekend he took calls from people too far away to economically ship it to. Monday he finally figured out the problem and reposted the ad. I called, we made a deal, and on Tuesday he delivered the boxes "because I need a road trip into Boulder anyway," he explained.

My pots have been piling up, and I've been thinking of venues to sell them. On a whim I called a holiday craft fair. "Oh, we've heard of you," said the organizer. Sounded odd to me, but she asked for a dozen coffee cups, four woven bowls, and assorted cruets and pump bottles.

During today's appointment at a local gourmet shop, Oliv You & Me, the owner bought a couple of cruets and one of my signature woven bowls.

The universe is telling me I'm on a roll, or at least a slab roller.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Yesterday my friend Michelle and I went to hear Gloria Steinem speak at the Borders in Longmont. At 74 the longtime political activist looked more fit, exuded more spunk, and had more beautiful hands, than anyone in the SRO audience.

Steinem is in Colorado not exactly stumping for Barack Obama, but more so she and her entourage can educate Colorado locals about the plethora of ballot initiatives.

By the time she showed up in Longmont, however, the extensive ballot had already been pondered by her listeners; when she asked for a show of hands of those who had voted early, close to 100 percent of less-than-perfectly manicured right hands fluttered in the air.

This two-year campaign season has seemed like a too-long engagement. You keep on thinking once your wedding day arrives the waiting will finally end, and you'll live happily ever after. But as you calmly accept the gifts as they arrive, thank your friends and family for their good wishes, and shop for your dress and new appliances, you know deep inside the wedding just signals the beginning of a long, and hopefully fruitful, marriage.

I keep on thinking once someone -- anyone -- is elected, the waiting will finally end. The Dow will calm down, the economy will recover, the Iraq war will draw to a close, the foreclosures will stop, and we'll all live happily ever after. I voted last week, and I'm calmly not watching the commercials or the polls. But I know in my gut Election Day won't signal smooth sailing ahead. It will just mean the beginning of a new, and hopefully peaceful and prosperous, administration.