Driving around America for nine weeks and more than 10,000 miles, I’ve had a chance to see how our economy does and doesn’t work. The startups I visited were all good companies — reader favorites, after all — so they tended to shine. And their glow was generally green and even a bit altruistic, yet still based in for-profit philosophy. These are the kind of companies that create industries, build or renew cities and industrial centers — companies that create jobs in the kind of abundance needed to keep our nation prosperous. Yet in terms of government policy, it is as if they are unknown. The Obama Administration just successfully passed important small business legislation, […]
Shortly after our Startup Tour began this summer, Heath Ledger died. No, not Heath Ledger the actor, who died a couple years ago of an accidental drug overdose — Heath Ledger, my four year-old Garmin NUVI GPS who spoke with an Australian accent. My Heath had been going quietly insane for some time. This is his story.
It seemed like nothing serious at first — a forgotten route, a missed turn, some confusion about where home was. Heath was still Heath but maybe a step slower than in his youth. Then he started routing us gratuitously, sending us to places we didn’t want to go. After that came the endless loops, which with a driver like […]
So the phone rings at a big publishing company in New York. “How long is a book? ” asks the caller.
“Well it varies from book to book and genre to genre,” explained the publishing company receptionist.
“This is a novel. How long is a novel?” the caller asked.
“That varies, too, but many of ours are around 80,000 words,” the receptionist said.
“Thank God, I’m finally finished!” said the caller.
By the same token, how much money does it take to start a technology business? I’ve just spent the summer with more than 30 startups and can tell you the amount varies greatly — more than you could even imagine.
In the simplest sense how much money it takes to […]
The Cringely (Not in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour is less than two weeks from being over yet where is all the video? It’s coming, I promise.
We have so far visited companies in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and are now in Texas. Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina are yet to come. We’ve driven 8,700 miles with about 2,000 to go.
That’s a lot of driving. And there’s the problem. It is hard to shoot video all day and evening, write a blog, be a husband and dad, drive an average of 300 miles per day and do a fair job of editing […]
The machine pictured here is a Sony XDCAM EX, a 1080p tapeless HD camcorder. It is a so-called “prosumer” model that lists for $7800. I bought a pair of these cameras (new in the box) at the beginning of July to use for shooting this summer’s Startup Tour. Many video professionals think these are the best HD camcorders you can buy for under $20,000. The video is stunning — clearly network-quality or, indeed, feature film-quality.
If only they both worked.
The cameras came from Abel Cinetech in New York City and we paid about $14,000 for the pair. The cameras worked fine for a few weeks until one froze-up in Boulder, CO. We couldn’t get the camera […]
A maverick is an un-branded range cow or steer. It is also the name used for sports teams at Minnesota State University — Mankato. That’s where the Cringely Startup Tour stopped recently to visit Maverick Software Consulting and find out where’s the beef. This Maverick (the consulting company) has come up with an amazing business model for software consulting services — one that employs American programmers yet meets or beats the cost of using programmers in India or China. But it is much more than just a price-competitive service: Maverick Software Consulting also gives prospective technical employers a newer and better way to directly recruit good programmers.
Maverick was founded by Martin Hebig and Chuck Sherwood, […]
Update — Those who want to meet the Cringelys can come to Graphic.ly, an electronic Comic Book startup, at 1601 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Boulder, CO. This is at 4PM on Saturday. If you can. please bring a small unwrapped toy for my kids to distribute at local hospitals and shelters.
And yes, I DID have the RV checked-out and serviced before we left Charleston. Stuff happens.
That’s the catalytic converter from my RV. It literally fell off when I hit a puddle during a rainstorm last week in St. Louis. It dragged for a quarter mile or so before I got a clue there was something wrong. When I took this picture I’d already found a […]
As we cross America on our Startup Tour there are any number of assumptions I’ve made about both new companies and child behavior that are being challenged. My kids are clearly anarchists and determined to topple me from power for one. As for the companies, I’m amazed over and over again how little money it can take to start a good business and how many founders find themselves running companies almost despite themselves. A good example of both lessons is Front Porch Forum (FPF) from Burlington, Vermont.
Here is part of my interview with FPF CEO Michael Wood-Lewis. I’ll be back to say more when he’s finished talking:
“My wife and I moved to Burlington, VT from the big city in the late 1990s […]
We’re well into our Startup Tour, visiting young companies so far in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri. Today we head to Kansas City and the Kauffman Foundation, one of our sponsors. That I’ve been slow to post the promised tour videos or write about these companies comes down to air conditioning failure, driving 4,000 miles, air conditioning failure (again), swiping a tree and tearing-off our retractable steps, air conditioning failure (yet again), and hitting a pothole so deep that our exhaust system literally fell off in the road.
Ah, the RV lifestyle!
We also learned a great truth about Travelocity when booking hotel rooms for the camera crew: did you know that when they […]
Just a week into nominations for the Cringely (NOT in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour we have 200 companies signed up to vie for the 24 positions. My hope to reach 600 in eight weeks, then, is very possible if I keep up the pressure and perhaps define the rules a little better. That’s what this column is for.
Non-U. S. companies are out. We’ve had a few Canadian companies enquire and one even claimed to be from Vancouver, WA instead of Vancouver, BC. No, that won’t do. This is a U. S. competition, but that doesn’t mean the next season won’t be international. In fact I can almost guarantee it will be.
Remember this […]