Brad's Books and Organizations

Books

Books

Organizations

Organizations

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.

« swipe left for tags/categories

swipe right to go back »

Getting Plugged Into The Boulder Entrepreneurial Community

Comments (90)

On a daily basis I get an email from someone, either in Boulder, or considering a move to Boulder, who asks how they can best get involved in the Boulder entrepreneurial community. My response is simple – get involved, show up, and participate. I then list a set of regular activities that exist, with my favorites being:

There are also a handful of sites that help you figure out how to plug in and list other events. The two I recommend are Boulder.me and Boulder Startup Digest.

One of the awesome things about the Boulder entrepreneurial community is that it operates on a “give before you get” approach – it’s super easy to engage as the existing entrepreneurs are happy to give help and support with no specific expectations. But you have to “give” to become involved – don’t just show up once and hope magic will happen. Keep coming back. Volunteer to help out, with no expectations of compensation. Build a reputation for what you can do. Then magic will happen.

For job seekers, I point them at the Foundry Group Jobs page and the TechStars Jobs page as well as encourage them to email me a resume that I’ll send to a CEO list I co-manage, which consists of about 100 local entrepreneurial CEOs (if you are a CEO and want to be on the list, just email me.)

It’s all remarkably low infrastructure and overhead, but very high velocity. When I reflect on what makes it work, its the “give before you get” mentality of the entrepreneurial community, which I’m proud to be a part of.

Oh – and if you run a Boulder entrepreneurial event that’s not included in the list, or have suggestions about what you’d like to see, feel free to leave info about it in the comments.

The Onion Comes To Boulder And Is Renamed The Prairie Dog

Comments (78)

We all love The Onion, right? It’s the best news right after Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

We also all love Boulder. Those of us that live here love making fun of ourselves and our town because, well, there’s a lot to make fun of.

The Prairie Dog is Boulder’s home grown version of The Onion. And it is hilarious. Some sample headlines follow:

You get the idea. The posts are still short but artfully (and sharply) worded. I love it. Thanks @djilk for the tip.

And where’s my fucking magic 8 ball – who took it? Give it back please.

 

Free Shared Office Space In Downtown Boulder

Comments (10)

Trada is no longer doing Codespace – they’ve filled up the area with other companies. However, if you are looking for office space in Boulder for your startup, take a look at PivotDesk and give it a try.

When developers come through Boulder, I regularly get asked if I know a place for them to camp out and work for the day. There’s now a great solution – Codespace – hosted by Trada.

Boulderites know the local coffee shop / sushi scene where wifi is abundant. However, you now have a dedicated, free co-working space for developers on Walnut Street right in the middle of downtown (in the old Daily Camera building, now home to Trada). The Codespace philosophy is a simple one:

Code is free, so should be the space you create it in. If you’re in the neighborhood, come over and hang out – for an hour or the whole day. Enjoy some free wireless, scrawl on the whiteboards, rack up on endless caffeine, and enjoy hanging out and working with the smartest development talent in Boulder.

In addition to daily free options, there are a few dedicated spaces that you can apply for. Go check out the Codespace page or my partner Seth Levine’s longer description about Codespace. Most importantly, go check out Codespace. And please thank the gang at Trada for providing this for the Boulder entrepreneurial community.

Civility in Debate with Mountain Bikes In Boulder

Comments (17)

I’m opposed to opening up Eldorado Canyon Trail to Mountain Bikes. However, when I read the article titled “Boulder open space official: Return to civility in West TSA mountain bike debate” I was infuriated by the tone of some of the people opposed to mountain bikes on these trails.

My partner Seth Levine is a huge mountain biker. He and I had a thoughtful exchange about the issue of MTBs on the Eldorado Canyon Trail. We disagree on this issue but it was a substantive exchange. As a long distance runner, I explained that while most MTBs were good actors, a small percentage weren’t. Even on reasonably well shared trails, I’ve been run off the road numerous times by MTBs careening around a blind corner on a downhill or when someone somewhat out of control flies by me. Single tracks are tough to share and I spent much of my time on them paying attention to traffic if I run mid-day, but I’ve had this problem on all shared trails. Worst of all, I’ve been hit several times by MTBs and I can only think of one case where the person stopped and checked to see if I was ok (I was, but pretty sore the next day.) Seth and I ended our discussion with agreement that we’d go hike Eldorado Canyon Trail together and discuss this further, which will be fun regardless of whether we end up agreeing on a position on the issue.

In general, I’m very comfortable with trails being shared. Over time, I’ve learned how to anticipate when to pay more attention to MTBs and often just run off trail when I can (on the side of the trail, which of course is not what the Open Space people want but it’s safer for everyone.) But I still really struggle on single tracks, or tight trails, especially when one side is mountain and the other side is a steep drop. Having run Eldorado Canyon Trail about a hundred times, it’d be a really rough trail if it became mixed use, and I’m pretty sure I’d stop running it. That’s part of why I’m opposed to MTBs on the trail – I just don’t think it’ll work.

However, when I read the article in the Daily Camera today, the folks arguing against MTBs represent the kind of hostility in debate that undermines their entire position. Their attacks are emotional bordering on hysterical (in the “not funny definition of the word”) and excessively polarizing. It’s not dissimilar to the type of language we often see at a national political level in the extreme partisan case and I find it incredibly distasteful.

The other day I had a difficult meeting with someone who was upset with me and a decision I had made. While we were having the discussion, he referred to the meeting we were having as “date rape.” I was momentarily furious because the comment was completely over the line. I understood that he felt fucked by me and – while I didn’t agree – he was certainly entitled to his opinion. But accusing me of date rape was unacceptable to me, especially given that I’ve had first hand experience on the receiving end of rape. He backed off when I asked if he was sure he wanted to use this language (and if he had said yes, we would have been done talking), but it undermined his argument to me based on the personal attack that I didn’t think corresponded in any way to what was happening.

The vitriolic in the MTB debate has a similar impact on me. It doesn’t help the discussion, undermines the position opposing MTB’s on Eldorado Canyon Trail, and is generally offensive to anyone trying to understand and think through the issue. It also shines a bad light on the community in Boulder which I think is a special place that embraces incredibly diverse people, perspectives, and behaviors. And it creates emotional justification for the small number of bad actors in the MTB for their behavior (e.g. “they don’t want us on their trails so fuck them.”)

Boulder, you can do a lot better than this. Let’s have a real debate about this issue and make a rational decision about whether or not to open up these trails.

Calling All Boulder Tech Companies To Engage With Downtown Boulder, Inc.

Comments (23)

I had never heard of the organization called Downtown Boulder, Inc. until I was asked to keynote at the annual meeting which I did a few weeks ago where I talked about “entrepreneurial communities and why Boulder is such an awesome one.” I got plenty of positive feedback and met a number of owners of businesses – most of them retail – based in downtown Boulder.

A week or so later Dave Jilk, the CEO of Standing Cloud, forwarded me a newsletter where Downtown Boulder was endorsing HR 5660 – Main Street Fairness Act which is yet another poorly thought out Internet-related tax aimed at online retailers not operating within the state asserting the tax. I’ve written about the stupidity of these types of taxes before in posts like Amazon Fires Its Affiliates in Colorado Because of Colorado HB 10-1193. I blew this off (incorrectly, I might add) because I’m just so annoyed by all of this sort of stuff since it’s just evidence that organizations like Downtown Boulder, Inc. don’t really understand the actual business economics of having a vibrant entrepreneurial community in their downtown.

Dave ignored me and sent out a note to me and a dozen other Boulder-based entrepreneurs. This started a very engaged conversation between us (up to 35 emails in my Gmail conversation as of right now) and eventually looped in the folks from Downtown Boulder, Inc. They acknowledged that it is important for them to better engage and understand the “Second Floor Businesses” (e.g. non-retail) in downtown Boulder and how they impact downtown Boulder.

Independently I had a meeting set up with Sean Maher, the Executive Director of Downtown Boulder, Inc. in a few weeks. Niel Robertson, the CEO of Trada (now occupying the Daily Camera building) rallied and put up a database to collect information about any downtown Boulder technology company (name, address, contact, # employees, and # sq. feet occupied) where downtown Boulder is defined (by DBI) as 8th Street to 21st Street, Pine to Arapahoe.

I then suggested that we all join DBI since my experience is an organization like DBI takes you a lot more seriously when you are members. Their fee is only $149 / year, which is affordable for most tech startups. Jud Valeski, the CEO of Gnip, suggested that everyone give me the application form and check for me to deliver in one big thud (sound of pile of checks landing on desk) to Sean Maher when we meet.

So – if you are a downtown Boulder-based tech company, I have three requests:

1. Please fill out the Downtown Boulder Technology Company Impact Survey (it’ll take 60 seconds).

2. Consider joining Downtown Boulder, Inc. If you are game, drop off a check for $149 made out to Downtown Boulder, Inc. at my office (1050 Walnut Street, Suite 200) along with the information on their application form.

3. If you aren’t willing to join Downtown Boulder, Inc., that’s fine, but please do #1 AND consider leaving a comment why you don’t want to join (or send me a separate email with this information.)

Help us make Boulder an even better entrepreneurial community by linking us up with the downtown Boulder business community more directly.

Build something great with me