Monday mornings can always be an interesting time. Co-workers greet each other with the typical “So, what did you do this weekend?” Many will talk about various events they attended or watched on TV like the kids’ soccer match or the game between two football rivals. Others will talk about a home project they worked on or a short trip they took, while some will just state how they did nothing. So maybe it was nice to break the Monday morning mold when my answer to the water cooler question was “I started a new tech start up.”
On the evening of Friday, October 12th, a group of locals gathered at Emerge Memphis in downtown Memphis to pitch new business ideas to a community of programmers, graphic artists, marketers, and other business experts for LaunchMemphis’ 48 Hour Launch. The goal was simple — pick a couple of the ideas and over the course of the next two days build them into potential new businesses. I was amongst eight other potential new start up CEOs to pitch an idea. After presenting your idea, it would be up to the community to pick the ideas that would be worked on. The only problem was you only had 2 minutes to pitch your idea to the packed room. At the end of two minutes a blow horn would go off and
you were done.
Complicating my pitch was that my idea had no name and was already hard enough to explain in five minutes because it didn’t exist anywhere in the world, so two minutes was going to be a challenge. This would mean I had to get to the point fast. Many call this an “elevator pitch” because you should be able to tell another person the whole story by the time the two of you complete an elevator ride together.
So here was my elevator pitch —
When was the last time someone called you a geek? And more importantly, how did you react?
In grade school I was a nerd, a dork, a geek. I had it coming: I wore glasses AND got good grades. Tough combination when you're nine years old.
But when I got a phone call late last year and the voice on the other end called me a geek, it wasn't an insult. I was being invited to be part of the founding board of GEEKmemphis, an organization dedicated to promoting the awareness and adoption of technology in the Memphis community.
In other words, we want to make everyone a geek. Including you.
And here's how we're going to do it: TechCamp Memphis. It's a one-day educational event on November 3rd for technology users at all levels. And I mean ALL levels. Whatever your interests, however tech savvy you are (or aren't), TechCamp has something to offer you:
• Are you a developer scratching your head about microframeworks in PHP? We've got a session for you.
• Are you a small business owner trying to figure out how to use social media to boost your business? Then you'll love our Online Marketing curriculum.
• Are you a student considering a career as a programmer? We've got a whole 101-level developer track with your name on it.
We've got instructor-led sessions, panel discussions, networking opportunities, a business expo... if it's technology-related, you'll find it at TechCamp.
As with any non-profit event, TechCamp is a labor of love. It's required countless hours of planning and organizing, the support of several generous sponsors, and a groundswell of interest from the community to validate our efforts. But our successes so far have reminded us why we're doing this in the first place:
For ourselves. Because when you have a passion for something — whether it's sports or food or technology or whatever else — there's no greater joy than sharing your enthusiasm with others. That's why over a dozen Memphians have volunteered their time as presenters to share their expertise with others.
For our fellow geeks. Because Memphis has a thriving tech-oriented community that benefits from opportunities to trade knowledge, share experiences, and build connections. Behind every argument over preferred programming languages, operating systems, social media platforms, etc., is a shared love of technology. We bring that common ground to the forefront.
For non-geeks. Because we know there's an inner geek in everyone just waiting to come out at the right time. For some, that time is when they get that first glimpse of code and grasp the possibilities of writing their own programs; for others, it's when they start to see the "big picture" in online marketing and realize the vast potential for building relationships with their customers; for others still, it's realizing that they now have the tools to share all those great ideas or short stories or photos with the world. And frankly, for others it's just a matter of no longer feeling intimidated by technology.
And finally, for our city. Because we recognize that Memphis is teeming with incredible talent, passion, and energy — and access to technology translates into new avenues for all those wonderful attributes to be expressed.
So put us on your calendar for November 3rd. We've got a full day of fun presentations, great food, smart people, and some cool door prizes to boot. I hope to see you there... and I hope you don't mind if I call you a geek!
Tom Logue is Vice President of Message Factors, a Memphis-based marketing research firm. You can follow Tom on Twitter at @TomBLogue. While you're at it, why not follow @TechCampMemphis and @GEEKmemphis too?
Hey, my name is Tal Frankfurt and I am the Founder and CEO of Cloud for Good, a Memphis based company that works with organizations to create and implement strategic solutions based on cloud technology. We specialize in Salesforce.com and Google Apps implementations.
I will explain what the cloud is and why you should consider it in my next blog post. Today, I want to share with you some of the applications I use on a daily bases to manage both my life and business. Here are some of my favorite online applications:
• Google Online Tools: At Cloud for Good we use Gmail for all our email communications, Google Calendar for all of our meetings, Google Docs and Spreadsheets when we need to collaborate on documents, and Google Hangouts for our staff meetings (our team is spread across 8 states and Google Hangout allows us to see each other every day!).
• Salesforce: We are all about Salesforce! Salesforce is one of the most powerful cloud databases available on the market today. Our clients are using it to cultivate donors, manage volunteers, track events, students, trees, cats, and more. Best of all, The Salesforce Foundation donates 10 free enterprise licenses to nonprofit organizations.
• SlideShare — This is a great tool that enables you (and your team) to share your presentations online.
• Evernote — It helps me remember things, find things, and access them from anywhere at any time.
• Dropbox might make you want to get rid of your USB! It is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. It makes online storage and sharing of files dead simple — as simple as dragging files into specially market local folders.
• Mozy — All the important information in your life/business is now stored on a computer. Whether it is photos, music, business documents, or financial records, everything is digital. Mozy offers a great “backup to the cloud’ service that will help you sleep at night because you will know that your digital life will always be there when you need it.
• Doodle and Tungle.me — both tools let you easily schedule meetings and other appointments.
• Rapportive brings social media to your email, is a little browser plugin that provides you with information about the people you talk to via email. This app changed the way I interact with people!
• Remember the Milk is a great personal task manager. It allows you to create “to-do” lists in the easiest manner possible as well as being able to access those lists from pretty much anywhere. If you need to share tasks, projects, and files, check out do.com.
There are many more great online tools out there. What do you use? Please share with us in your comments.
We asked a group of Memphis’ most tech savvy to share their latest app obsessions, and why they’re wowed. You definitely want to check out these recommendations, and please add your own in the comments below.
Kyle Sandler of Nibletz introduced me to my own app du jour: Voxer, a free “all in one messenger” for Apple and Android that lets you send audio, text, photos and location to selected recipients. The audio messages are key: Voxer turns your smartphone into a walkie-talkie, and is a nearly hands-free alternative to texting for those “don’t forget to pick up coffee” messages.
Tal Frankfurt, Cloud for Good
Dropbox provides cloud-based storage for documents, photos and other files. Your account can connect to all of your devices - including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Kindle Fire - so it’s easy to access all my files from anywhere at any time.
Rachel Hurley, Kangaroo
The app that I really can not live without is Feedly. It's a reader that makes it super easy to share content. It's one of those apps that you are almost scared to tell people about because it gives you such an edge. It works with iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and Firefox. And its free!
Trish Kalbas-Schmidt, University of Memphis Crews Venture Lab
This is old school but one of my favorites is TurboScan. You can create PDFs of by taking pictures of documents with your phone. In a world where we still do need hard copies or at least PDFs of documents it comes in pretty handy! It was $1.99 and I use it all the time.
James Kegel, GeekBlog.tv
My favorite app is AirDroid. It is free from the Google Play store, and allows me to use my droid from my browser. You can send text messages, install apps, and do just about anything without touching your phone.
Cheryl Hurley, The Stylist Quo
Right now my obsession is with Keek, a social network for short video uploads. I'm trying to develop an early following before it explodes. It's free, and available for iPhone and Android; you can also upload via webcam.
Carrie Brown-Smith, University of Memphis Journalism Department
I couldn't live without Delicious or Evernote for productivity to store and tag useful articles, research, and information so that I can find it later.
Kenn Gibbs, The Knowledge Co.
As much of a tech junkie as I am, I just started using a password manager and really like LastPass. It's $12 a year to keep all your passwords secure on any OS. There are other free options out there, but I liked the higher security (I'm a little paranoid), and I can easy go between my Mac, Windows, and Linux machines.
Nibletz is a young digital media company that provides the “voice of startups everywhere else.” In this case, "everywhere else" means tech-based companies located outside of the famed Silicon Valley.
You’ll learn much more about them in weeks to come, but the short version is that co-founder Kyle Sandler visited Memphis this past June for our 48 Hour Launch weekend, and was so impressed with our entrepreneurial energy and with our city that by August he and co-founder Cameron Wright agreed to make Memphis the official Nibletz HQ.
And there’s more: on February 10-12, 2013 Nibletz is hosting their inaugural EverywhereElse.co The Startup Conference at The Peabody Hotel. Focused on startup companies outside of the Valley and NYC, the conference is expected to draw 1000+ entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors and startup media giants from around the country for three days of keynotes, panels, expos, a Startup Village- and killer parties!
Today Nibletz publicly announced their teaser round of keynote and panel speakers. And seriously- it’s big! Check out their video announcement, or scroll below for details:
Startup America CEO and founding CTO of Priceline Scott Case will keynote at the event. Grammy award winning hip hop artist and startup investor Chamillionaire will also speak as will MC Hammer, serial entrepreneur and the first hip hop artist to achieve diamond status.
The conference is sponsored by Baker Donelson, .co, Startup America, LaunchTennessee and LaunchMemphis. If interested in a single ticket or startup booth, please visit everywhereelse.co for details.
Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference will continue to announce speakers over the next two months. And we’ll continue to share the news here at Ones and Zeros!