Brad's Books and Organizations

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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Paul Berberian Interview on This Week In Startups

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I’m a big fan of Jason Calacanis’ show This Week In Startups. I usually run naked (no headphones) but when I listen to something it’s usually an interview or a book.

Amy and I had dinner last night with Paul Berberian and his wife Renee and Paul mentioned Jason had interviewed him at Techstars FounderCon in Chicago a few weeks ago. So – I grabbed my iPhone, downloaded the interview, and listened to it. Dynamite stuff.

Earlier in the morning I read Jason’s post on LinkedIn titled The Great Venture Capital RotationI think it was originally titled “The End of Venture Capital Sort Of” (based on the URL). In addition to being provocative, it lined up nicely along a few others posts on this topic from Fred Wilson (Leading vs Following), Hunter Walk (AngelList Syndicates Will Also Pit Angel Against Angel) and Howard Lindzon (So You Want to Angel Invest…Be Prepared to Lead and Follow.) Naval, Nivi, and the gang at AngelList have really busted some stuff open and it’s interesting to watch it play out.

But – if you know me, you know I’m not satisfied with just watching. So I dove in and joined a few syndicates on AngelList, including Jason’s, Dave Morin, and Naval’s.

And – if you’ve read this far, the new Sphero 2.0 is out and is amazing. Get yours today.

Kids Learn to Program with Sphero Robots Saturday in Boulder

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Teaching kids to program is not an easy task – their attention span is short and what they are able to accomplish in a brief period of time is often uninspiring which results in them losing attention quickly.

Robots help a lot with this!

The Orbotix team has turned their Sphero into a fantastic programming aid to introduce coding to kids as young as 4th grade.  In about an hour kids will be commanding their robot to drive geometric patterns while also learning a bit about angles, degrees, time and distance calculations, loops and conditional branching. If your my age, you might remember Logo and turtle graphics. It turns out to be really cool to toss a robot into the mix, instead of just a computer screen.

Coding is done via a simple app on either Android or iOS devices and sent to the Sphero via Bluetooth.  The younger kids learn to program using a simple scripting language developed by Orbotix called MacroLab – the older kids learn BASIC which Sphero can interpret to do some complex tasks.

Orbotix is hosting a “Sphero Rangers” event at the Google offices here in Boulder this Saturday from 11am to 2pm.  Robots and programming devices will be provided – but bring your smartphone if you want to use your own.  Attendees will also be able to get a Sphero at a discounted price. If interested sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/sphero-rangers/events/114025302/

The Sphero Peacekeeper

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Do you like your Sphero? How about getting one that is 2500x larger than the current Sphero? That’s the new Sphero product – Peacekeeper.

Order it today on Indiegogo. Along with some other cool Sphero stuff.

Nyan Cat and Sphero

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So – I’ve apparently been hiding under a rock and had no idea about the Nyan Cat phenomenon. The original Youtube video has 89,604,608 views as of this moment. Insane.

Ok – whatever. Wait, shit, five minutes just passed with me playing around with the Nyan Cat site. I’m especially digging Jamaican Nyan and Pirate Nyan. Damnit, another five minutes just disappeared.

Time to download Sphero Nyan Cat Spaceparty. A perfect combination of a cat, a ball, and an iPad.

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An Awesome, Growing Team at TechStars

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The roster at TechStars continues to grow with awesome people. In the past month, TechStars has announced Mark Solon as a general partnerLuke Beatty as managing director for Boulder and Ari Newman as Network Catalyst. I’m proud to claim all three as close colleagues.

Mark is a long time friend – we’ve invested in a number of companies together over the years including SendGridOrbotix, and Lijit. He’s been involved as a mentor to TechStars since the beginning and his endless positive energy and attitude was a huge inspiration for my Boulder Thesis. When he announced that he wasn’t raising another fund at Highway 12 Ventures, David Cohen started talking to him about taking a more active role with TechStars. Voila!

Luke Beatty was the founder of Associated Content (sold to Yahoo in 2010) and has mentored the Boulder program for years. I fondly remember a long conversation at one of the first events we were at together at a number of years ago where I keynoted some Colorado industry event either right before or right after Tim Armstrong. Luke brings an enormous amount of entrepreneurial experience, as well as mentor experience, to the TechStars Boulder program.

Ari was a part of the first TechStars program all the way back in 2007 and his company, Filtrbox, was acquired by Jive Software several years ago. They were the fourth TechStars company to have a positive exit (of 18 to date now). Ari is perfectly positioned to make introductions and facilitate action across our growing group of alumni.

We’ve got a lot of things planned for 2013, including more “powered by TechStars” programs like the one we just announced with Nike, additional TechStars cities, and a few completely new things we are going to try.

For everyone who had been involved in some way along the journey since we started TechStars in 2006, thank you. You are dynamite. And welcome Mark, Luke, and Ari to the full-time team!

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