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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Founder Institute Coming to Denver

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A handful of folks that I know and respect have gotten involved in the Founder Institute’ Denver program.  Andy Vuong of the Denver Post wrote a nice article on it titled Founder Institute is training minds for a great ideaSeveral people have suggested that the program is competitive with TechStars – including the first sentence of Andy’s article.  However, I just don’t see it that way and encourage all kinds of programs like this in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In the case of the Founder Institute, it has a very different tempo and dynamic than TechStars per their weekly agenda.  While there is a little overlap in the mentor group, their’s is very Denver centric.  And it’s a part time program vs. something that is fully immersive. 

Jon Nordmark, a well known Denver entrepreneurs who founded eBags is running the program.   John previously ran a fun program called Startup BasecampI was at the one in 2000 where my infamous “bowling and get wasted test” (actually, just the description) made an appearance.  I have a lot of respect for Jon and expect he’ll do a great job with this.

If you are interested in starting up a business and looking for an educational program around it, consider applying to the Spring 2010 Denver Founder Institute program

Angel Boot Camp in Boston on June 1

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Jon Pierce of BetaHouse has decided to organize an Angel Boot Camp in Boston on June 1st. The idea is that anyone interested in learning more about how to get started with angel investing can attend and learn from some people who’ve been there and done that.

David Cohen at TechStars wrote about why he thinks it’s important.  Jon Pierce also wrote about why he’s doing Angel Boot Camp as well as listing some of Boston’s Best Angel Investors.

While June 1 is still several months away, sign up and put Angel Boot Camp on your calendar now.

Conference: Startup Lessons Learned

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Sometimes I feel like a conference promoter.  It’s worth noting that while I put plenty of events up on this blog, I only post the ones that I’d consider going to.  Specifically, I probably get 10 requests to post something for everyone one I do.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know Eric Ries through the work we’ve done together on the Startup Visa initiative.  If you don’t know of Eric, he’s a software entrepreneur who over the past few years has been developing and evangelizing the idea of the Lean Startup.  He’s an extraordinary writer – I gobble up every word that he writes on his blog Lessons Learned.

Eric wrote me the other day about a new conference he’s doing called Startup Lessons Learned in San Francisco on 4/23/10.  The overview of the event follows:

Startup Lessons Learned is the first event designed to unite those interested in what it takes to succeed in building a lean startup. The goal for this event is to give practitioners and students of the lean startup methodology the opportunity to hear insights from leaders in embracing and deploying the core principles of the lean startup methodology. The day-long event will feature a mix of panels and talks focused on the key challenges and issues that technical and market-facing people at startups need to understand in order to succeed in building successful lean startups. We have a great lineup of speakers, including Kent Beck, Steve Blank, Sean Ellis, Andrew Chen, Randy Komisar, Hiten Shah, and many others. 

While I can’t be there I highly recommend anything that Eric is involved in.  He’s given me a discount code of ERIES25 which is good for 25% any ticket if you register for the event.  If you are in the bay area on 4/23/10 I encourage you to check it out.

Discount Code for Vator Splash on May 13th

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I’ve enjoyed my interviews on Vator.tv in the past and think Bambi Francisco and crew do a great job of highlighting up and coming entrepreneurs, companies, and their investors.

Vator is holding a Splash event on May 13, at the Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. Like its last event, about 400 attendees are expected.  Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh will talk about how he built a company to a $1 billion exit to Amazon and Gurbaksh Chahal will talk about how he started and sold two companies for $340 million before the age of 25.  About 30 investors from VC firms will be there and as a special bonus, there will be an afterparty with a band consisting of Adbrite founder Philip Kaplan, Mayfield VC Raj Kapoor and Norwest VC Tim Chang.

While I can’t attend since I’ll be on my Q2 vacation with Amy hiding from the world , Bambi gave me a discount code of “Splashfeld” which gets you 30% off on the registration.  And there is still time to join the competition and get on stage.

Blur is Coming

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I’ve been hinting about a new conference that we’ve been working on with Eric Norlin that complements Defrag and Glue.  Eric is about to launch it and the splash page for the Blur Conference is up.

If you are familiar with Defrag and Glue, you know they are built around two of Foundry Group’s themes (Protocol and Glue respectively).  Blur is being built around our Human Computer Interaction theme, but with a twist.  Instead of simply being able to “see cool stuff up close”, our goal with Blur will be to create an environment where you can actually use and work with this stuff.  We’ll have user-oriented demos, hackathons, and tons of crazy shit no one has ever seen before.

Plus, we’ll give away a lot of cool toys, have a ton of smart people who are working on the next generation of HCI in one place, and have some fun surprises.  And we are doing it in an environment that is especially tuned for a conference like Blur.

I’m incredibly excited about what Eric has put together for this year’s Glue Conference (as I wrote about the other day).  He’s setting a high bar for Blur, where the goal will now be to have a few brains explode!  Get ready – it’s never dull around here.

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