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!