Durango Tech is a loosely knit, informal group of folks who live in the Durango and Four Corners area and have an interest in tech. You don't have to be a geek - if you are an entrepreneur, investor, business owner, teacher, then you have a reason to stay current on technology. We are also passionate about drawing techies to the Durango area, and giving them options once they are here to be successful and thrive locally. Jump in!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
article in the Herald yesterday, showcasing local businesses that are doing well, despite tough economic times. I particularly like the description of the 'cascading effect' that Joe Keck and others mention. Also - do you see the common theme? All the businesses shown in the article do most of their business outside of Durango (in fact across the country) - which means they are bringing dollars into our region.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Among the new faces were:
- Jenny Vierling, who is the Director of Product at Mercury here in town. Jenny began her career at Microsoft, and eventually moved here and started her own consulting company.
- Mark Rosenthal, who does development for Technik, Inc and is currently working on an interesting project for VA hospitals.
- Larry Leonard, a local developer (and huge Linux advocate), who has a company called ACS and is currently working on a cool project called RentDurango.
- Mark Epstein, who co-founded UCG/The Convergent Group, which eventually sold to Schlumberger, moved to Durango and owned Canyon Music for a number of years, and is now heavily involved in getting Mountain Middle School off the ground. You may know Mark best as the banjo player in The Badly Bent.
It seemed like everyone there had a connection with Syndicom except me. There was some catching up, as a lot of these folks knew each other but hadn't seen each other in a while - another great reason to come out to DOCC!
We talked about the challenges of attracting good talent to open positions here. Both Walker and Jenny are hiring right now. We are going to add a Jobs section to this blog over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned and post those open positions.
Mark gave us a great overview of what the Mountain Middle School is all about, and the challenges that come with starting a charter middle school here. He is responsible for the technology to support the students, and has decided on Google Apps because they offer it for free. He considered iPads for each student but in the end found an inexpensive netbook that is more bulletproof and easier to type on (without the need for additional components). A lot of discussion back and forth about why there is a need for a charter school with a teaching style that challenges the kids.
We also discussed doing an an evening event where people with great ideas, or early stage companies already running, can get up in front of an audience of their peers and pitch. The thought is that the pitch be 5 minutes long, with open ended dialog afterwards to provide feedback and input. Who knows what will come out of it - a new partner, an investment, a better focus on the idea. We are going to aim for early January for this event so stay tuned! And if you would like to pitch, contact me by leaving a comment here - we already have 3 people committed and there are only so many slots.
If you were there and have anything to add - leave a comment!
All in all, a fun and interesting morning. Hope to see you at the next one!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Run by the State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is dedicated to helping small businesses throughout Colorado achieve their goals by providing Free confidential counseling and various training programs. The SBDC combines information and resources from federal, state and local governments with those of the educational system and the private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the small business community. Regulatory, management, financial and marketing experts work in partnership to provide entrepreneurs with crucial information that can mean the difference between success and failure.
You can find a list of the programs that they offer here.
Durango is home to the Southwest Colorado Center, which is directed by Joe Keck. They serve the surrounding 5 counties as well as 2 Tribes. They offer consulting, mentorship, and various workshops on the different elements that it takes to be a successful small business owner here and now.
Counseling is free, and the workshops ask for a small fee. In 2009, our local SBDC counseled more than 350 clients.
SBDC recently offered NxLevel, a 12-week evening class for entrepreneurs which was well attended and written up in the Herald.
I have recently joined the Board of Advisors, and am looking forward to working with small businesses in our area. Of course, my focus is on Technology - either companies in the sector, or companies that are wanting to use technology for competitive advantage.
Ping me if you want more info, or contact Joe Keck directly. I will post updates on SBDC happenings as they come onto the radar.