Portland Dispatch #2: Portland Timbers game

I’m really starting to dig the Rose City the longer I’m here, I think. I was lucky enough to attend yesterday’s Portland Timbers game, thanks to my new friend Ben.

Not only did we attend the game, but we sat in the first row of Section 102, right in the midst of Timbers Army, probably the most rabid, fanatical supporters in all of Major League Soccer. For my first MLS game, I’d have to say that it was a ton of fun, for sure, in large part to the Army — a real legion of fans.

I capture some photos and video of the event, but of some of my PIE cohorts, with whom I also attended. Here’s one of the funniest — and nerdiest — sports chants I’ve seen, the Portland Timbers “Tetris” chant:

A few of the photos from the game:

I wonder if Chicago Fire’s Section 8 is this big, or this rowdy. Anyone?


Portland Dispatch #1: Wieden + Kennedy Tour

Greetings from Portland!

As you know, I’ve been accepted to the Portland Incubator Experiment, a startup accelerator based in the Rose City, out of the Wieden + Kennedy space.

If you’ve seen “Portlandia,” you know the building itself has an interesting layout. Check out this clip:

The folks here took us on a great little tour of the facilities yesterday. Here are some pictures from that tour. Enjoy!


Accepted to the Portland Incubator Experiment!

In the last few days, I’ve been posting all sorts of photos, updates and tweets from Portland. Why, you might ask? It’s simple: the super-secret, early-stage stealth startup I’ve been working on has been accepted to the Portland Incubator Experiment, or PIE.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll post more on my experiences in Cascadia. (In fact, I’m kind of hoping it’s similar to this “Portlandia” portrayal:

I’m kidding, of course, to an extent. We’ll be working our butts off out there, but we’re excited about the opportunity to work with the PIE mentors, as well as the brands (Coke, Nike, Target, Google) and the agency (Wieden + Kennedy) supporting PIE. The folks here have done a bang-up job bringing together a lot of smart people!

If you’re wondering about just what it is that I’m working on, sit tight. You’ll hear about it on here soon enough! In the meantime, if you’d like to recommend any sights, attractions, events, restaurants or bars that I should check out, please let me know by commenting below. Some places I’ve been so far:

Voodoo Doughnuts: I tried the famous maple bacon bar and the chocolate/Oreo/peanut butter donut. (Click for photos.)
Rogue Distillery and Public House
Deschutes Brewery
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
– The Art in the Pearl festival
– The Portland Saturday Market

There’s more to come, so stay tuned!

Chicago Startups

The state of Chicago tech networking events

Yesterday, I attended a startup networking event, run by the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center. At the event, there was a great mix of startup founders, press and investor types. (Surprisingly, there were no social media consultants in sight — a good thing.)

In short, it was easily one of the best tech networking events in Chicago I’ve attended. The space was nice, I learned a lot from everyone I talked to and there was a great sense of collaboration, rather than competition, from everyone there.

There’s a great need for more events like this in Chicago. What other tech- and startup-related events in Chicago do you attend? If you’re not in Chicago, are there any you attend in your city or town? Why do you attend?

Site of the Day Startups

3 startup blogs worth checking out

I said in my last post that I took the plunge and went full time on a startup I’ve been working on since October 2010. We’re in the process of developing the first iteration of our private Beta. Part of this will be a blog.

I’ve run several blogs before, including this one, and Old Media, New Tricks, but it’s critical for early-stage startups to have good, engaging blogs that do several things:

– represent the look and feel of the company (a no-brainer)
– inspire readers to not only tell their friends about the startup
– most importantly, generate new members and new business through case studies and community highlights

In the course of researching startup blogs, there are several that, at least to me, stand out. I’ve listed a few below:

1. Foodspotting

Foodspotting blog

Spotted, the Foodspotting blog, does a fantastic job representing the Foodspotting site, app and community. It’s very visually appealing, and ties in the Foodspotting experience quite well. As a result, posts get shared and commented on pretty regularly.

2. MintLife

Mint Life blog

Mint’s blog, MintLife, not only reflects Mint, the company, but has established itself as a leading personal finance blog.

3. Evernote Blogcast

Evernote blog

Evernote Blogcast, the Evernote blog, covers product news and updates, it differentiates itself by examining what its users are doing to “make the world more notable.” Not only does this put its users in the spotlight, but it also looks at different ways to use the product, kills several birds with one stone. (Suggested by @mkedave on Twitter.)

What else do you think good startup blogs have in common? Are there any others — not listed here — that you think are good examples? Please leave your thoughts as comments below!


3 side benefits of going full time on my startup

About a month ago, I made the decision to leave my job at Sears Electronics as its social media manager and go full time on my startup.

We still haven’t launched yet, so I’m not going to say what it is, but there have been some great fringe benefits to working for myself: