Good morning, All,
Not the usual newsletter this week, as we were greatly disturbed to hear of the passing of Aaron Swartz (RSS feed, Reddit) by his own hand. Most of you have already heard about it. He was 26 and facing criminal charges that might have led to his being incarcerated for more than 30 years, $1 million in fines and exorbitant legal bills to fight the charges, which were deemed outrageous by industry experts. Swartz’s family issued the following statement: “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
No one was hurt; no damage was done; no money changed hands. In fact, JSTOR, from whom he allegedly stole the more than 4 million articles, never pressed charges against Swartz, yet he potentially faced a prison term stiffer than given to some murderers. While we do not sanction criminal behavior, lest we forget, this country was founded on civil disobedience, and one of the most famous acts took place in Massachusetts itself, the very state where Swartz was facing charges. But Aaron had two strikes against him: he was an advocate of open democracy (demandprogress) and he was facing a federal prosecutor working under a US Attorney with her eye on the governor’s mansion. There is a petition being circulated to Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz. Punishment should fit the crime, and citizens of the United States should not be terrorized by the very people who we’ve empowered to protect our rights and freedoms. And lest we forget: the only thing necessary for the perpetuation of evil is that good people do nothing. Sign the petition. Onward and forward.
As promised, we’re starting our speaker+networking events, and Kelley Boyd will be our first speaker, on February 7th. Some of you might know Kelley, who has mentored at many a startup weekends here in NYC, helping companies to figure out their business/revenue models. Revenue models, kids – with Series A becoming more scarce and early stage hard to get to, that’s why we chose Kelley to kick off the year and give you a pointer or two. We’re also keeping the group small – 50 attendees max – so that everyone can participate. And network, of course. Her talk will center around observations about what kinds of work people do in startups and what kind of support startups need and when! You will hear her views of the differences in coaching, advising and mentoring and what kind you should expect to give and get from those relationships. We will chat about the lean movement and what really has to be done and why you probably won’t do it! Kelley is an early adopter market specialist with expertise in business and sales models, strategies, tactics. A veteran of 7 web 1.0 startups, 5 of which went public, were acquired OR in one case both! Proud carrier of a Fortune #1 Badge (you gotta come to learn what that is!). Kelley is expert in a range of technologies from inter-networking to data security. Of late she has dusted off her Sales 1001 skills and worked in the burgeoning “lean” ecosystem with a number of weekend groups and start up companies.
She’ll also share a few fun stories about sales – breaking into enterprise companies, gaining trusted adviser status among Fortune 10 CEO’s, How I lost a global Exxon deal and designing the network for the “Smartest Guys in the Room!” Hope to see you there! To RSVP: http://bit.ly/W525WP
The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events
The Awesome Foundation wants to give you $1000 for your best idea – almost anywhere in the world. We give micro-grants each month to projects that are inspiring, delightful, and elegant: in a word, Awesome. To apply in NYC: http://bit.ly/NWueRO For more information and the complete list of chapters all over the world: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/
Techstars NYC, deadline January 18th. We invest $118K in each company we fund through $18K in seed funding and an optional $100K convertible debt note. TechStars itself is backed by over 75 different venture capital firms and angel investors. We also provide three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, incredible perks, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. Our companies average over $1M in outside venture capital raised after leaving TechStars. To more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/TNP5Cz
LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future: Global Cities invite urban & social innovators to pilot their solutions. Deadline: January 31st. 21 cities are participating, each with their own pitch to companies, entrepreneurs, innovators, consortia, research centers, organizations and experts. For more information: http://bit.ly/tm2hxS
Startup Grind 2013, February 5-6, Mountainview, CA – 20% sos discount
Join us for Startup Grind 2013, a worldwide 2 day community event bringing together entrepreneurs and founders from every continent across the globe. Where better to host it than the heart of Silicon Valley? Not only will we have great Startup Grind networking and fireside chats, but we’ll also learn from the best and brightest entrepreneurs around the world as they educate and inspire us to push through 2013. Some things you can expect:
Be inspired by people and products we use and believe in.
Make the lasting friendships needed to survive our journey.
No panels. No startup booths. No pitching. Just founders helping founders.
Speakers will include Clayton Christensen (Innovator’s Dilemma), Mark Suster (Both Sides of the Table), George Zachary (Charles River Ventures), Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Bing Gordon (KPCB), Steve Blank, Ben Huh (Cheezburger Network), Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC), Leah Busque (TaskRabbit), and many more being announced soon. SOS member Perri Gorman will be on of the moderators – and she’s very good. That we can tell you from personal experience.
For more information and to register: http://sg2013.eventbrite.com/?discount=SOS4532#
DreamIt Health, deadline February 8th. This is the first-ever Philadelphia-based health care accelerator. Powered by IBC and PennMedicine, this collaboration marks the first time a leading health insurer and a leading health care provider have come together in an accelerator to deliver the resources entrepreneurs need to capitalize on emerging health care opportunities. DreamIt Health’s 4-month program provides selected companies with a stipend up to $50,000 and office space, plus in-depth mentoring (which are uniquely assigned in a one-to-one fashion to each company), coaching from industry experts, and access to other critical health care-specific resources to rapidly develop and test its product. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/RQRqTc
Call for Top Innovators! The 1st Annual Venture Summit | West. 1st annual conference will showcase 50 of the hottest early stage and emerging growth technology, life sciences and clean-tech innovators. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships, submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 1st Annual Venture Summit | West, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. Presented by youngStartup Ventures, Venture Summit | West 2013 provides an unparalleled opportunity for startups to meet, network and showcase their innovative investment opportunities to a leading group of investors. And it all happens in San Francisco on February 13th.
Apply to Present:
To be considered for one of the Top Innovator slots, please e-mail email@example.com for an application.
To nominate a company please forward: company name, main contact at firm, contact details and why you think they should present to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So mark your calendar and click here to take advantage of the “early bird” registration savings before they expire. This is the event of the year you won’t want to miss! Click Here to Register Now! SOS members also get 10% off on attending. Discount code: sos10
NEW Call for Nominations: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, deadline March 8th. Recognized as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the country, Ernst & Young is now calling for nominations in San Diego, Orange County, Greater Los Angeles, Northern California, Portland, Seattle and Utah for the 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. Details: http://bit.ly/UCDHeU
NEW Global Apps to Empower Competition Seeks Apps to Educate and Empower Women Everywhere, deadline April 30th. Applications that best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to have their apps featured on Datawind’s $40 Ubislate educational tablet. The UN is involved and the winning apps will be receive cash prizes, recognition (judges for the contest include Joanne Wilson, Vivek Wadhwa, Geena Davis. For more information and to apply: http://appstoempower.org/
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For you edification this week:
Today we are all Aaron Swartz. The suicide of the 26-year-old hacktivist highlights how our technophobic government demonizes geeks. By the way, two days before Swartz killed himself, JSTOR made its archives available to the public, free of charge. That stolen property the government says is worth “millions”? Apparently, it’s worth a good deal less.
Google+ Faces Off Against Facebook Ah, we remember when Larry was laughed at for venturing into social.
Should Your Startup Apply To An Accelerator? applications to the 200-plus accelerators worldwide have nearly doubled in the past two years. How to choose…
Why The Next Social Media Frontier Is The Past. The social network, and its peers, have since become less dedicated to the present moment. Facebook has created Timeline, a historic presentation of daily posts. Foursquare has turned its vault of real-time check-ins into a valuable recommendation engine.
Speaking of which – How to Access Your Twitter Archive. How to Access Your Twitter Archive. Twitter announced that users will soon (if not already) be able to download an archive of all their tweets from the beginning of time. Here’s how to do it: http://bit.ly/UPqlvH
Customer Development in a diagram. You might want to frame it.
How One Startup Grew a $100M Business Without Spending Venture Capital. Bootstrap – and find paying customers. “If you’re really onto something valuable, new, and important, you can actually get customer interest, feedback, and maybe early orders even before your prime time
Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!
Congrats this week go to SOS members Nurul Yahya and Stefanos Missailidis of fiesta.com: Fiestah Named 5th PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition Finalist. Great site to go to if you’re an event planner or hosting a party/event and need to find food for it. And yes, bonniefoods is one of their vendors. Good luck, guys!
That’s it from us this week, although we will leave you with this chuckle and it is very funny: 8 Very Funny, Very Wrong Answers Kids Have Given On Tests And now, as always, help is on the way…