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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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Request for Laptops for Monarch High School Students

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Following is a guest post from Lura Vernon, President of the Monarch High School PTSO. Lura is also a good friend, contributor to Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur, mother of two awesome young women, and wife of Todd Vernon, CEO of VictorOps

Lura’s request is for laptops for Monarch High School Students. Any amount will do – 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, or even 100. If you have any extra, please email me and I’ll get you connected. Foundry Group is contributing a MacBook Air this week.

What can a student learn from bringing a laptop to school every day?

Sure, she can learn to make a mousetrap car by watching a YouTube video, she can watch population densities dynamically changing over time, and she can hear an unknown French word pronounced correctly without asking the teacher.

But there’s a ton of learning that happens that wouldn’t be obvious to the casual observer.

She also learns that her father would kill her if she breaks the laptop, not figuratively, but literally.  She learns that Facebook bullying can be overwhelming but also easily dealt with by simply not reading Facebook for a while.  She learns that her grades will greatly improve if she pays attention in class rather than surfing the web behind the teacher’s back.  And she learns that her parents have WAY OVERREACTED to that new Snapchat app.

Monarch High School is in its second year of requiring its students to bring a laptop to school.  It’s Principal, Dr. Jerry Anderson, has worked long hours to bring state of the art WiFi to the building, give the teachers the training, and bring the parents up to date.  Any student who’s parents couldn’t afford a laptop was provided one; all they had to do was ask.  It’s my opinion that this program will do more to improve the achievement gap between genders, races, and different learning abilities than any other program conceived by the district.

The problem?

Dr. Anderson has conducted fundraisers, partnerships with local businesses, and worked with the district to provide free refurbished computers to those who need them.  Up until now, she had the resources she needed so that all students had a laptop in school.  Unfortunately, because of a high percentage of refurbished computers that crapped out, Monarch has five students who haven’t had a laptop since the beginning of the semester.

If your business has used laptops that they are considering getting rid of, Monarch will take them!  We’ll provide you with our non-profit tax ID # and give you a receipt.

If you can help, please email me.

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Startups Looking to Hire CU Students?

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In the Startup Communities, I talk extensively about leaders and feeders. I assert than anyone in the startup community should be able to start / create / do anything that is helpful to the startup community. They don’t have to ask permission – there is no VP Activities in a startup community. I also talk about how the students are the precious and most valuable resource of a university.

This morning I got the following email from Fletcher Richman, a student at CU. It’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about and it is immediately actionable for every entrepreneur in Boulder and Denver.

Dear Founders and Friends,

As students at CU Boulder, we have noticed that there are many startups that would love hire more interns and full time employees from the university, and lots of students would love to work at a startup. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the two.

We would like to fix this issue. We have created a simple form to get a better idea of the positions available for students at startups that we would greatly appreciate if you could fill out:

I’d like to hire some CU Students!

The data from this form will be used for two things:

1) To help start an online startup jobs and internships board for students that we are currently building. 

2) To build a contact list of companies for the Students2Startups fair early next year, which will be bigger and better than ever before!
Thank you so much for your help! Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

CSUAC and AECU

So – what are you waiting for. Go sign up to hire some CU Students!

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An Interview With A CU Boulder Engineering Student

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I love talking to, meeting with, and teaching college students. A few weeks ago I sat down to do a 30 minute interview with a young woman from CU Boulder who is an engineering student. She did a great job of capturing my essence, and that of Foundry Group, in our interview. I particularly loved her conclusion, which I asked if I could repost (she said yes). It follows – I hope it’s as inspiring to you (about the next generation) as it was to me.

For Any Young Entrepreneur: My interview with Brad Feld was encouraging to me as an engineer with a passion for innovation. Brad described how he is intrigued by the array of problems that he is faced with everyday. This is especially relatable to me because I fear spending the rest of my life bored by monotony when there are so many problems to be solved. It was enlightening to hear Brad discuss how to conduct a business. I expected to hear trade secrets or how to be the next great thinker, but it really came down to focus, determination, clarity, and inspiration. Feld is another who really believes that the way to survive, as an entrepreneur, is to be open minded to new experiences instead of just being “lucky”. I appreciated seeing the business method that less is more. Yes it is the dream of many to be the most world renown business with 100% return on investment, but it can be just as rewarding to be the successful yet small venture with no need to own a market. Observing the office reminded that an entrepreneur could have a business, enjoy art, and even find time to exercise, instead of engrossing oneself in work at all times. The entrepreneurial lifestyle actually seems like a sustainable one. This opportunity has helped me realize that the life of an entrepreneur can be accomplished simply by merging the things you love with what you are good at.

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