Meeting with great people in Austin

Almost everyone I met with today was somehow interested in the Semantic Web. What’s the deal? Is Austin really that much of a hot bed for this?

My first meeting was with Juan Sequeda. Juan is a Semantic Web Evangelist, Entrepreneur and Web Developer – he’s also working on his Ph.D at UT. He gave me the run down on how Parquesoft operates in Columbia. In Juan’s words here’s a run down of what they do, you’ll see how it’s applicable to Conjunctured/Startup District (I hope you don’t mind me posting this :):

The creator of parquesoft was a millionare software developer who decided to buy a huge warehouse and convert it into tons of small offices. Any student/ developer who had an idea, could apply for a space, and if the idea was unique enough, you would get a space, free internet and everything for just 25 dolars a month. The company was on its own, but if they needed help because of a huge contract and they needed lawyers or something, Parquesoft would help them [for a percentage of the take]. The deal is that this place has extended to several other cities in Colombia and is doing the same. Any entrepreneur who has an idea, can get a space and work. The idea of Parquesoft is also to do a social impact (Colombia is a developing country).

It just so happened that Cesar was meeting with Clay Spinuzzi in the same coffee shop – I love when that happens.

Next, thanks to Melissa‘s introduction, I met Timothy Maxwell. Tim is a Developer/Consultant at Optaros. He was especially interested in the kind of business model ideas we talked about originally for Conjunctured (ie the “Co-company” model) and what kind of software could be developed to facilitate such a structure. I’m going to connect Tim with John De Oliveira and ActionItem.com.

After this I had a great lunch at Chez Nous with Jonas Lamis (the food was good, but the conversation was better – I need to revisit Chez Nous and think about what I’m eating, not just talk). Jonas is into stuff I think is so cool. He’s the founder of SciVestor, a “research and advisory firm focused on coming waves of disruptive technologies. [They do] Research and events for business and investment communities covering Life Extension, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Nanotechnology marketplaces.”

It was great getting to know Jonas (it always weird writing about someone when you know they will probably read it soon). I’m looking forward to continuing our conversations. I want to ask more about AI, Singularity, etc. But I think there are a couple videos and blog posts I need to watch/read beforehand. We talked mostly about the Startup District and after lunch went and drove around the East Side to scope out warehouses.

Finally went to the Long Center and volunteered with the American Cancer Society – @daveiam, Tom, and I were there talking to people about SharingHope.tv – it’s a great social site for cancer survivors and others to share their stories. ACS and the HBMG Foundation are sponsoring the showing of The Love Sonatas there.

At the Long Center I ran into David Smith, CEO of HBMG and formally of Technology Futures Inc, and Lyn Graft who Founded the Club E Network – both guys I enjoy talking to.

Back at home I jogged to Marcus Ceniceros‘ place and had a long conversation about the University of Texas and it’s place in the State of Texas, how Austin politics work (i learned a ton), the Startup District, how to effectively rally people, and about managing relationships for the long term. Marcus will be teaching in Houston for 2years via Teach for America. Soon we will all be voting this guy into office. And even sooner he’ll be improving our educational policy.