Monday, October 27, 2008

Fearlessly Speaking

A few months ago I responded to a query on Help a Reporter Out, Peter Shankman's matchmaking service between journalists and sources. Jacqueline Wales, founder of Fearless Fifties, was seeking mother-and-daughter teams to interview for her online radio show Fearlessly Speaking.

I sent in a brief description of my relationship with my mom, Lyn Schwartz, and to my surprise we were chosen as one of the four teams she was to profile in October.

My mother and I were giddy with excitement but wondered how we'd ever fill the 52 minutes Jacqueline alots for the interviews.

It turned out to not be nearly enough as we told anecdotes and finished each other's sentences.

I had thought that our primary bonding experience was our trip to Israel in 1999. But telling the world about how our relationship has changed and grown over the more than 50 years we've known each other seems to have solidified it further.

Another wonderful aspect of appearing on Fearlessly Speaking is that Jacqueline gave 3D Radio a wonderful plug, going so far as to spell out the URL. She then invited me to pitch our patent portfolio to the listening audience. Nothing quite as satisfying as promoting 3D Radio on the radio.

Fearlessly listen at Fearlessly Speaking.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's been a banner week.

I pronounced our prototype "good enough" and performed a demo in public. 3D Radio co-founder and my better half, Mike, along with our CEO for Hire Jim Gutman brought it down to Boulder Open Coffee at The Cup last Tuesday.

It took much deliberation to decide to build a prototype at all. After all, our business model doesn't have a place in it for us build anything. We are an intellectual property development company. We think of great things that people can use to enhance their lives, and we then look for business partners that have the experience to commercialize our ideas.

3D Radio is, after all, pretty easy to understand. It allows you to manage radio like Tivo helps you manage TV -- pause and rewind live radio, record content for later, skip stuff you don't like. But it's always nice to have props, so build a prototype we did.

We took an ordinary Dell laptop, hooked up a few Griffin Radio SHARKS, and built a GUI front end powered by RadioTime's program guide. What took the most effort was finding the programmer who put the whole thing together.

So after months of hearing me say our prototype was under development, my coffee companions were able to see the darn thing in action.

Still a few kinks to work out, but overall it went well. And no one spilled coffee on it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to win followers and influence your peeps with Twitter

I've been a bit of a Luddite when it comes to Twitter. Sure, I signed up for a Twitter ID back in April. But that was way, way after folks had been telling me if I wanted to be taken seriously in the high-tech world I needed to be part of the Twittosphere.

So I broke down and spent the morning at a Twitter boot camp organized by the DaVinci Institute.

Thanks to Deb Frey, Michael Sitarzewski and Rob McNealy for pointing out benefits I hadn't noticed before. I promise to tweet more.

But mini-messaging has never appealed to me. I'm one of those people who never got into IM. I use my cell phone to talk with people, not as an SMS portal. Call me antediluvian -- I like big words.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Boulder's own job fair

You remember job fairs: A dusty conference center; you in your dress-for-success best complete with uncomfortable shoes; that ugly portfolio full of resumes printed at Kinkos; the endless shuffle from table to table where corporate boosters boasted about their company's culture and benefits, never about the boring jobs they had to offer.

Twenty of Boulder's high-tech startups have a better idea. They've pooled their resources to fly in 100 of the best software developers, programmers and engineers from across the country during the week of Oct. 27 for an all-expenses-paid three days and two nights of checking out our fair city, networking with the hiring companies and each other, and quite possibly making a career- and life-changing decision.

This kind of creative recruiting fits our entrepreneurial community perfectly. I wish there had been something like this when I was looking for my first post-grad school job.

Getting things done

It's 9:35 p.m. Friday night. Do you know where your blog entry is?

It's only been a week since I made a commitment to document 3D Radio's progress on a weekly basis, but already I'm not sure what to say that will make a difference.

Sure, we accomplished a few things this week. The high point was executing an NDA with a company that approached us a few weeks ago about working together. We also set up an extended "getting to know you" call for next week.

We're hoping this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. What makes it most beautiful is that the phone rang on our end when our potential partner got wind of 3D Radio's terrific technology and wanted reach out to us. It was a welcome relief from our outreach efforts.

I spend much of each day in business development mode, dialing lead after lead hoping that someone on the other end will talk with me. Mostly I get voice messaging, sometimes an assistant, and occasionally the target actually answers.

When I do get through to the right person it's invariable a pleasant experience. They always make the time to talk with me, even if it's only for a few minutes. No one has ever been rude or told me to get lost, which I attribute to the genuine smile in my voice I perfected during many years of conducting phone interviews as a reporter.

See, I thought I had nothing to say but just spent 10 minutes typing up the week's highlights. It's just like I always told my students, people who've asked me about the craft of writing, and even other reporters: The sure-fire cure for writer's block is just to sit down and type. Before you know it you're saying something. It might not be profound, but inspiration has very little do with writing. It's mostly stringing one word after another until a message appears.