10 Blogs That Meant Something To Me In 2014

I thought it might be a good idea to look back at the blogs that I saved on places like pocket and bitly, as well as those I forwarded around on twitter, linkedin & facebook this year.  While not a Top 10 list, I thought I’d share ten blogs that resonated on a personal level to me this year.  I’m grateful for the year I’ve had, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t really tough times, or frustrating things that I just couldn’t articulate.

Luckily, there are people out there who have lots of experience and a knack for putting words on the page so I can send them to the people around me so they can learn from the best.  And there’s no shortage of good stuff out there, by a long shot.

Here they are in no particular order: Continue reading

You don’t need an app for that.

Not even close.

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I can’t spend time with an old friend, see semi-cousins-in-law at holidays, or serve on a jury duty without being pitched an “obvious” new B2C idea that someone is passionate about, and it’s often in an “I’d drop everything to do this if I just had help” kind of way. Many of these folks have already begun searching for that elusive technical co-founder, or are ready to start hiring outside help to build.

If this is all your first time and you’re thinking about building your mobile app, I’d like to throw out some incredibly important questions to ask before even thinking about laying down code. I’d also like to offer the best alternatives to building, submitting & marketing actual mobile applications. It might save you thousands of dollars, tons of time & agony. Continue reading

7 Tips For Vagabonding

(note, this post was originally posted on Medium.)

(another note,  One of the positive things that has come out of a wildly inconvenient summons for grand jury which I am currently serving is that I am reminded that there is WAY more to life than techs and nerds and startups and me.  This gave me the time to think about this post which means a lot to me and have been wanting to write for a while.)

The other day, a friend of mine, who is a member of the NYC startup community, told me he was buying a one-way ticket out of town to Thailand, and wasn’t sure when he was coming back. This isn’t someone who sold his company to Yahoo, but just a guy who has had an up and down career and needed a break. He was going through a bad split-up from his partner, and wanted deeply to take the opportunity to explore the world. Continue reading

I’m The Rookie And The Vet

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It’s nice to be recognized for sure, and I’d like to thank AlleyWatch for featuring me in their article “21 People in the New York FinTech Scene You Need to Know About“.   For several of the folks mentioned, I’m sure it’s not such a big deal.  For me, helping out fintech entrepreneurs is pretty much a passion and a side-job, as I already have two jobs that I can barely keep up with.  So it feels nice if this exposure helps me to connect people better.  Plus in many ways I still feel like the newbie, and I definitely feel unproven in this industry.

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Getting your MVP built By Professionals; Pro’s & Con’s and Pitfalls

(Note, this article originally appeared in General Assembly’s Blog on September 10th, 2014)

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As one of the partners of a Ruby on Rails software development agency, I speak with dozens of non-technical startup founders every week who are in various stages of building their first web or mobile application. The range of technical acumen, willingness to learn, and time and resources varies widely among the group.

As a firm, we’re not just competing with other NYC based agencies for their business, but also offshore devshops, freelancers, and in some cases, the prospective client who may want to execute internally.
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NYC’s Fintech Startups 2014

One resource that I really like to share with people who are joining the NYC startup scene is Steve Schlafman’s Guide to NYC Tech, which is a slideshare that has been viewed over 48,000 times.  Steve is a VC at RRE ventures (You know, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Palantir, etc).

Recently over coffee with a guy from a VC who is not fintech focused said he and his partners weren’t sure the who “winner” for NYC’s fintech scene would be.  Who would be the first billion dollar exit?  (which is apparently the only way to really win.)  (P.S., the answer is OnDeck).  I thought it was a good idea to come up with a good picture for which companies made up the NYC fintech scene.   I also wanted to take a shot at create something really basic and easy to understand so people from financial services who don’t know much about tech can understand what the exciting companies in town are. Continue reading

A few recent articles

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 9.10.05 PMOne of the coolest things that has happened in my new career is that people have asked me to write as an expert on tech related topics.  That’s why I was really excited when FForward and General Assembly asked me to pitch in and write about the local fintech startups scene, and, my experiences with hiring developers out of code schools respectively.  It was a great opportunity to Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 9.07.52 PMtalk about some of the communities out there that help innovation and nurture new entrepreneurs.  I don’t make any money from this, but I am glad I have the opportunity to try to add a bit of value, and get some more exposure for me and my firm.  I’m working on some really cool stuff along these lines and hope to have more to report soon!

Requiem For Tradembark

It’s been a year since I shut down my startup.

This is a kind of long read.  The size of read about someone else that I couldn’t be bothered for.  But the intention for this is to help people who might want to start their own thing as a complete outsider.  Maybe you’ll learn from my mistakes.

The URL that I once sprinted to login to godaddy to register in an instant of epiphany instead redirects to my About Me for a year now.  The lines of code sit in a repository only someone else can locate.  Twitter account abandoned.  Facebook likes I carefully timed asking for likes for, sitting dormant. Truth is, I never had a company, I barely had a product.  I was a solo founder who just knew he had the solutions.  I inspired people who were even less knowledgeable about tech with my passion and purpose.  I had a huge payday ahead of me, despite the insane odds against me succeeding.  Continue reading

Growing Hackers – My Experience At The Biggest High School Hackathon

In early January, my youngest cousin Jake began texting me about a hackathon he and some friends were putting on in March.  Jake is considered to be the most talented athlete of our family’s generation, having grown something like 83 inches since starting high school three years ago and beating out seniors in tennis while he was in middle school.  He’s also obsessed with computer science.  At family gatherings,

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I get the feeling he’s got somewhere to be, and that somewhere is in front of a computer screen. Continue reading

Blog Throwback- Writing about MVP’s 12/13

Originally Appeared on nycdevshop.com on 12/23/13

I remember way back in college, the thought of “networking” disgusted me. I always envisioned networking meaning attending dry happy hours at hotel bars, with people wearing suits and name tags, and my task is to basically social climb until I met someone that could benefit me.

As my career progressed, and I became a bit less anxious to extend my hand to someone else, I realized networking’s not a terrible thing. One never knows who we might meet if we just start talking with someone who seems interesting- even if it’s in a pretty contrived setting like a “mixer” or the networking portion of a meetup that we attended by ourselves. It can definitely feel a bit awkward, except for those true salesmen/women. For those special few, these interactions are handled deftly with clinical emotional detachment. Continue reading