Austin. Go!


Myself, Cesar and Dusty went to the first of six Townhall Meetings regarding the redesign of the City of Austin’s website. At one time our site was voted the one of the best in the nation, unfortunately it hasn’t changed since then.

Pete Collins, CIO, did most of the talking and was very receptive to the audience’s thoughts and opinions – and even gave out his personal email address and phone number. We talked with Matt Esquibel who’s heading up the project. He seemed to really know his stuff and was a designer in his past life so I’m looking forward to a beautiful exterior for the site. Something that was interesting to me, they’ve deiced to build the site in Plone . They are looking to hire asap – I believe they have three full time positions open.

I was telling Paul Hopingardner how I believe the city needs a private media network to talk about/publicize what the city is up to. I’m subscribed to all these blog from The Valley, but really what I want to read about is what’s happening here in Austin. …We’re having drinks on this topic soon, I’ll report back.

On another note, it was my first time inside our City Hall, it’s very sleek, but quirky at the same time – fits Austin.

MOLI – who cares about privacy, feels like AOL

moli.pngI almost erased this blog because I didn’t want this company to get any press, good or bad., has anyone heard of this site? I just learned about it from the DEMO website. So, it was started by the founder of E*TRADE, him and some other early investors put up 29.25M. Recently they raised another 29.6M from, among others, the two founders of Home Depot (huh?).

DEMO says they have no primary competitors – listing Facebook, mySpace, and Linkedin as secondary. The reason, MOLI allows you to have multiple profiles under the same login. uhh, that’s not that different. I’m pretty sure this would be an easy move for Facebook to implement – ask users “Hey, have more that one account – enter the email address you used to create that account and we’ll link ’em up. We’ll never share with anyone that your accounts are linked! (small print: But, we’ll know and so will our advertisers and everyone else we sell data to!)

covibelive.pngI signed up for an account with MOLI and after a few minutes all I could think was “OMG it’s AOL.” It’s a huge nonorganic network for everything.

The layout is hip – kinda feels like a less refined VIRB – and they do have a cool feature called CoVibeLive (patent pending) that shows you statistics of the people who’ve visited your page. It looks like they spent a lot producing the site – dark tones and gradients are everywhere. All this slick and cool doesn’t mean speed though, it takes a while to load – if you’re gonna have all that, have some AJAX goin on to limit the need to refresh.

TechCrunch, GigaOm, and Webware are are all very nice to MOLI in their reviews. Where they paid? heh There is a lot of talk about the site being for adults – doesn’t feel like it. There is a video tutorial where an overly excited twentysomething makes jokes and talks mostly about privacy controls (Which to me just seem like a joke – I don’t care about privacy, I want people and companies to know who I am personally. If I was to work anywhere I would want them to look at my facebook/myspace/flickr/radar/twitter and say “yeah, he’d fit in our culture” – what’s up with this separation, what a pain in the ass — if you’re worried about this take Tim’s advise)

We’ll see what happens. They have ~60M to burn through, lots ads, commercial content and a couple paid services that let you turn your profile into an online store.

What is Texas Ventures?

texas-ventures.jpgI’ve been doing a bit of networking lately, and so I have been working on my Texas Ventures pitch – or, at least trying to explain concisely what it is/does and why I care about it. Here’s what I got:

I’m a recent graduate. While I was at UT I co-founded (with Tom Serres & Brandon Chicotsky) a student group called Texas Ventures. It’s a group for student entrepreneurs to get together, learn, network, etc.

  • We keep a database of all student entrepreneurs on campus. Want-a-bes and real ones. The real ones are organized by industry, description of their business, level of their business, etc. and we provide a prospectus to the university and soon the city of Austin on the climate of entrepreneurship at the university. We will soon be allowing organization like Angel groups and VC’s we’ve partnered with to search this list. Using Angelsoft or an old fashion phone call, we’ll pass off or pitch the best ones to these groups. But only the best of the best, and only if they need it.
  • Of course, we have a speakers series and we try to go to lunch with a local entrepreneur every week – the last two people we spent time with were Gay Gaddis and Donald Zale.

Now that I’m graduating (and the others are too), we’re taking it to the next level and forming a nonprofit. Andrews-Kurth has taken us on pro bono and we’re working on our 501(c)3 status.

  • The nonprofit will provide small financing to student run businesses as well as grants (probably average of a few thousand/yr)
  • Through our advisor, John Sibley Butler, we are working with IC2 and the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship to provide a physical location for these companies to work together in a co-working environment (perhaps similar to what some other Austinites are doing, with this atmosphere)
  • In that environment we’ll continue to bring in consultants/professors/etc to continually mentor these students

This is what I always wanted when I was a freshman/sophomore. And that’s what we have created.

Anything else I should include? Want to talk more about this – drop me a line: jmetcalf27 (at) or 210.724.3619 – you can join the facebook group if you’re a UT student.

Couple call outs because I’ve been reading your blogs for a while and would like to get to know you guys: Texas Startup Blog,  Austin Startup.

As a millennial, where I want relationships to begin


Thom Singer (who btw has a new book on the way) left an excellent comment on my “Cut the chitchat – carry a dossier everywhere!” post. because my response is so long, i figured i’d make it a post. you can read his original comment here.

i do see you’re point tom. i would never give up the time i’ve spent getting to know my girlfriend – those getting to know you talks were and still are the very best.

>>>however, not all relationships are built/formed in the real world. you and i may have had only one interaction in the real world, but i feel like i know you quite well from reading your blog, receiving your tweets, and looking at your linkedin profile. (jonray even better – i wish i was as transparent as him.)

this doesn’t mean that when i see you again i’m gonna give you a big hug, but i will know you much better than i did.
i’m not suggesting that we forgo face-to-face relationship development, i’m suggesting we kick start it by getting the simple stuff out of the way – the profile stuff. i wish new people i meet in the real world could just hand me a piece of paper that says everything about them (i’m just gonna google them later). …doing this does not bypass growth, it enhances it and allows us to get even closer, faster.

if the level/closeness of a relationship is on a number line and 0 represents a complete stranger and 30 is knowing their birthday and their wife’s name, it may take 7 real world interactions just to get to 60. what happens when we reach 100? it doesn’t just end, it keeps going, we get to know each other better and better. and that’s where things like trust and confidence can happen. where they can take on a new standard. that’s where you want to be.

this is a little off, but let’s use a father-son relationship as an example. i let my dad in on everything and i have kick started it by allowing him access to my photos, profiles, writings, etc.. stuff he would never have dreamt of telling his parents. because of this, he is able be a dad on a deeper level. to give me guidance in situations where none would have existed had we not gotten lower level things out of the way.

sharing brings people closer and closer, and there’s no ceiling on that. i agree, perhaps some things like color of undergarments need to be left out initially, but maybe not.

we can’t escape it. especially a millennial, growing up connected with things like facebook’s newsfeed, i just want to skip to the level 30 and start from there. to bypass the profile info, the ‘what you did today’ narrative. i just want to know that info. for it to be told to me instantly so we can jump ahead and talk about things that really matter, about emotions, how things made you feel, how we can work together, what goals we share. we (people today) are busy and have less and less time with others, to grow we need to be able to get to the substance as quick as possible.

that’s how we create trust and honesty, i want to jump start it.

when you share things on twitter, on your blog, about your life, allowing people in, you’re opening the door and making it possible for people to have a meaningful interaction with you. isn’t that what you want – to start the relationship at a higher lever. isn’t that what social media is all about. – sharing and connecting with a person or brand through means never before possible, except in person, to creating an emotional connection. a desire. an attraction.

… i wish people would carry a dossier everywhere so we could make this initial jump without having to go home and research them online.

to conclude, when my gf and i first started talking, one night while i was working on a project, i encouraged her to look at all my photos, read essays i’d written, journal entries, my blog -i wanted her to get to know me as soon as possible so i didn’t waste her time or mine with something that wasn’t going to work out. when we started having the pillow talks they started at a much higher level. because of this and continued honesty and openness, i believe we know each other far better than some couples who have been together for 10 years. – the same thing can be applied to business relationship.

Thoughts on criticism / put downs

thumbdown-786247.jpgA good friend of mine (college undergrad) asked me a great question this morning. I only had a few mins to get back to him, so I wrote quickly. Here’s the break down:

Q: How do you deal with/react to public criticism? Whether it be on the shallowest level of “your an idiot” to a fair level or even higher level.
Basically in general how do you respond to criticism/put downs?

A: positive criticism should only really happen one on one or in a small/tight group. in that situation, ask them questions right there, get them to be completely honest with you about their criticism. even if what they are saying is hurting you, pretend you’re ok so they won’t hold back. you won’t grow nearly as fast from people beating around that bush, not saying directly what they really mean.

later on there are some question you need to ask your self, but let’s keep going.

for negative criticism: when it initially happens, react calmly. often people are looking for a reaction or a rise from you. if you don’t give it to them, the fun is diminished for them. with guys, i’d say, don’t apologize to them, say something like “alright man” and try to end it. if they continue either stay away from them, leave, or hit ’em in the face if you’re not in a place where you will get arrested (if that sounds shocking to ya, i’m totally serious, make sure you have the balls mentally that you really would hit someone. but only if know for sure they are in the wrong).

after negative criticism or during positive: always try to understand why they said it. what are they talking about. what’s the root of it. what gave them the idea, or spurred them to say it.

always try to find the reason why. even if it’s just someone being mean. there is always a reason. to grow you have to be completely honest with yourself. do you actually suck at doing something, that’s ok. just realize it, realize the other things you are good at, then figure out what you’re going to do about it. knowing more about yourself, discovering what others really think about you/how they see you is very powerful, but like everything, with more power comes more responsibility – potential for greater success and greater failure equally.