Back in 2008 at the Jewish High Tech Community meet up at the Fenwick and West offices in Mountain View I sat in the back of a room, it was probably fall or autumn time. I had never been an entrepreneur up to that point, just always a technical or software project manager but if there was one thing I was good at it was calculating budgets and timing.
Romanian entrepreneur George Haber presented his startup to the group ( CrestaTech which has raised $20MM to date according to Crunchbase) and finished with the statement of, "We are raising XX in funding and launching DD-YY" and I thought to myself immediately-- wait a minute the math and launch date didn't line up. He wasn't actually able to launch by his launch date without raising money. In fact, he would barely be able to make it to launch. The project manager in me was so confused... "Why would anyone in their right mind be pushing a product they weren't prepared for or had the full budget allocated to execute?" It seemed insane, illogical. (Keep in mind around this time CrestaTech might have only raised, or publicly acknowledged raising $1MM...)
I raised my hand for the open Q and A session to ask George what-was-up with this.
"Mr. Haber, If your burn is x, and your launchdate is y, then you aren't launching on that date because the product will be ready, you are launching because that's exactly when you will run out of money."
George smiled, as if I had asked the most obvious question in the room that only I had been the last to figure out, "That's exactly right. We will launch then because we have to. That's life. That's why we do it."
He was smiling when he said it too, I couldn't believe it. Startup founders are insane I thought to myself.
On another note: a friend that was also there that night was David Ulevitch of OpenDNS. At the time OpenDNS had raised $2.5MM in a Series A. Just last week OpenDNS was sold to Cisco for $635MM, so congrats to David and team, amazing how much can be done in 5-7 years!
PS- What's up with this Founder Story?
Curious why I'm posting random stories? Its because I just finished a book and have time to download them. Have a question or something you want to talk about? Send me a note: e (dot) cachette (at) gmail (dot) com.
Terry L. Stogdell
(Born: June 18, 1964 -- passed: April, 14-2002)
While a youthful dad by any standards (just a bit over 20 years old when I was born), today my father would have been 51 years old. Which seems old, except it isn't.
For those of you that remembered him and know the legacies he's left behind that is quite impressive in his 37 years living on the planet he maximized each and every relationship and piece of love he came across...
There are loved ones in this lifetime and others who passed that appreciated all that he contributed to the HIV / AIDS communities as well as Hemophilia communities in Northern and Southern California.
Here's to keeping his honor, and mainly his spirit for healthy and vibrant communities. With any luck by fall 2015 semester there will be a "Terry L. Stogdell Scholarship" at Humboldt State University this fall and his legacy foundation, the Silverman-Stogdell Foundation is up and running providing resources to underprivileged kids looking to disrupt public health.
"May his Memory be for a Blessing" - Jewish Proverb
Feel free to leave a note or send me an email with your favorite memory.
The Difference Between a Copyright and a Trademark
Copyrights and trademarks are two forms of intellectual property rights. People often confuse the two, however significant differences exist that distinguish one from the other. Let’s take a look at these differences to help you better understand which, if either, is right for your invention design:
What is a Copyright?
A copyright refers specifically to works of authorship, such as songs, books, dramatic or musical plays, software, and photographs, and provides the creator with exclusive rights to the material. Whatever the material, tangible expression is required to get the work copyrighted.
To obtain a copyright, you must register with the United States Copyright Office. This is something you can do on your own or with the help of an intellectual property lawyer. If you decide to hire an attorney, you will likely be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding your new invention. This provides the lawyer with a thorough understanding of your work.
Once all necessary information is collected, either by you or your attorney, you will file a copyright application with the copyright office. It generally takes six to nine months to receive your Certificate of Registration in the mail, however the copyright is effective immediately following acceptance.
After you receive your copyright, it is within your legal rights to reproduce, distribute, display and perform the work however you see fit. You may also create derivative works, or works based on your original creation. If a person or business unlawfully copies your work, you have the right to take legal action against the person/company in federal court.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is defined as an “identifying mark that distinguishes particular goods and services.” It is a brand name. Considered necessary assets when forming a business, examples of trademarks include words, logos, symbols, phrases, names or a combination of these. And while a trademark is different from a copyright, the application process is similar. If working with an attorney, who will help manage your idea and the application process. You will again need to fill out a questionnaire, and the lawyer will perform a trademark search before finalizing the application.
The next step is filing your application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. How long it will take for your trademark to register depends on a number of factors, such as an application based on use in commerce or intent to use. The process can take up to several years.
Acquiring a trademark demonstrates public notice of ownership. It also establishes your legal rights and makes legal action possible should a person or company violate these rights.
(This is a guest post by Kevin Skaggs and Idea Design Studio)
Everyone says I'm going to do it again, like an addict looking for the next high but I'm not so sure. Whenever I'm on an airplane now I don't think of the meetings I am going to, but how fast until I am back home. I wash my face daily and get more than six hours of sleep a night, I often go to bed by 10pm and wake up at the times that I used to go to sleep. I'm no longer a founder and as sad as it is, its refreshing to realize I escaped the entire experience alive. Becoming an unfounder wasn't an overnight experience, its probably the same way someone from an addiction must think about how long it has been since they were clean and while I don't know the exact day I stopped being a founder, I consider it to be November 5th, 2013, the day I was checked into a Manhattan ER and hooked up to a I.V of powerful antibiotics while a ConsumerBell attorney texted me in a flurry about a recent legal settlement and the entire room smelled like bleach from the saline and meds being pumped into my body. "I am done" I told myself and not in the frantic ways I had done before but in a calm, exhausted exhale. Besides I had signed an employment contract days earlier, this time I meant it.
So what I want to say in a non-whimsical way is that being an unfounder is quite the opposite of how it all started and way less romantic, but its nice when meeting other founders who need help and you can offer them advice and they explain, "No but really you don't know how it is" and you calmly sit there and think, "Yes, yes I do."
Turns out someone was listening when I wrote this post on How to Fight the SFMTA and Win. In fact a lot of people were listening: in the year since I first published this post I have been contacted or helped over 50 people with their similar issues with the SFMTA ticketing them for "evading fare." Stories ranged from elderly persons getting kicked off their bus on the way to the hospital because their transfer ticket was slightly ripped over the cutoff time to Clipper Card malfunctions.
Eventually the responses became overwhelming so I began to forward them to Vicky Nguyen of NBC Investigates and she took a look. As it turns out my situation was not only common but the city's data showed not only a huge surge in citations (and revenue) but also the lack of appeals and abnormal amount of successful overturns. This made me the less than 1% of people who fought bought and successfully won against the SFMTA.
For the original newspost go here or click on the images below. Be your own judge.
Every year there seems to be an incredible opportunity to shape and inspire budding entrepreneurs, especially women and especially in tech and this Spring I got the honor of all three in one event for Cornell's first annual Johnson Women in Technology Conference hosted by Citibank in New York City.
Back in 2012 I lectured at Yale's Entrepreneurial Institute in a program titled, "Putting a Price on Yourself" and in 2013 I joined Kristin Luck and several other amazing ladies on a panel at Barnard College discussing Miss Representation the documentary and what it means for women who are breaking barriers in various careers and industries.
alhambra high school, march 2014
What was most interesting to me about the JWIT program (Johnson Women in Technology) conference was that it was founded by female entrepreneurs in the Cornell MBA programs and focused specifically on technology. This was very cool as I met other amazing women working on technical projects at big firms like Sabre, EBay, Accenture, Adobe and more (My exact panels were Trends and Innovations in the Tech Industry and East Coast tech versus West Coast tech). The finer touches of the conferences were solid and the talent pool intimidating with who was there but it really got me thinking about the larger picture:
While I am "from" San Carlos, CA and spent most of my childhood hanging out with my father at his startup (at the time called eBiocare.com which was later acquired) and graduated from Carlmont High School, what most people don't know is I spent most of my high school hours on campus at Alhambra High School. I played four sports (Tennis, Basketball, Cross-Country and Track) and was active in many clubs. I had high hopes of attending an Ivy League school and was pretty set on Dartmouth (for the writing program and nature), Harvard (for the competition and access to resources) and Cornell (rigorous programs and in New York state proper) I wasn't able to go to any of these schools because when my father passed away my Junior year of high school my home life and school life was completely thrown on its head with court hearings, probate hearings and general chaos that ensures with the patriarch of a family is gone and money is involved.
[And which is also why later this year I am opening a foundation in my father's name to help grant scholarships to those affected by ill-parents. The program will be run through the Stogdell-Silverman Foundation and will start for the 2015 school year]
TOP CALIFORNIA GRADUATE
teaching passion, one high schooler at a time
Sometime in high school I found myself attracted to computers, taking classes that involved excel or making widgets or what-have-you. I even took some c# and java classes as a teenager. Luckily growing up in the Bay Area we always had access to "cutting edge" technologies and at Alhambra I was able to take several classes with computers and the same technology teacher I had back then (which seems REALLY far away given that it was 15 years ago now, ouch) is still teaching so on a business trip through SF I made a commitment for "Tikkun Olam" or "To give back" or "to repair the world" and given a small presentation.
Despite all the world travels and fancy events, my highlights this year has been helping High School kids understand what it means to start a business, how to calculate ROI, track tasks and projects, scope a mobile app idea and leverage technology to further their career. I'm not sure all who I inspired that day but I hope that I planted the seeds of tomorrow innovation and moreover I will continue to do so until a field of minds come marching towards new tech. You will get tired of seeing my handwriting.
So, its now April 1st 2014 and I have helped launch a webinar series at Koombea helping educate future developers and founders, been featured by Adknowledge as on of Top 23 Global Marketers, created a scholarship, helped the FDA with community outreach, supported the launch of a first ever NY Fashion Tech Accelerator program, attended four tech conferences, talked to high schoolers, talked to MBAs, competed in a couple regattas, traveled over 40,000 miles and advised almost a dozen start-ups on product-market-fit and how to launch their apps and all just for this year. I mention this because the world is infinite and there is more information available online than ever before and cheaper (if not free) than it ever was. So while I work at Koombea and help scope and design and assist others with their amazing app ideas and solutions I have to ask: what have you done today to change the world? What will be your mark?
I wouldn't look at all the fancy news articles about tech millionaires or pay too much attention to all the negative energy in the world but if a scrappy gal from the suburbs of SF can accomplish so much in just a few months why can't you give that one idea a crack or find a way to make someone else's like more beautiful today?
"Yad B’yad" or "Hand in Hand" we are in this together.