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Monday, December 12, 2011

57. Don't want to give away too much

Since the end of MassChallenge we have been advised not to blog too much about what we are doing for competitive reasons. So we have been concentrating  on building/testing/building/testing etc. We have verified many assumptions and are moving with great speed. We are taking our provisional patent and filing our non-provisional the beginning of February. Then we can feel more comfortable blogging again.

Have a great holiday time and enjoy New Years.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

56. MassChallenge Finals

Last night was the final ceremony for MassChallenge. Even though I wasn't one of the final 26 teams to get a chance at the money I still took my judging round as a positive. They gave me great positive feedback, loved my drive and energy, and also loved how much I accomplished during the accelerator as a one man team. I guess my overall points must not have been high enough to move on. But still... to have 6 V.C. judges listen to your idea and give you positive feedback is a win in my book. And now I'm even more posed to make this a successful company. I have had 4 people join the team and we should be finishing up our beta by the end of December and launching. So this is a very exciting time. I love the momentum we have I can't wait to start showing people our product.

Here is a link to an article on last night:
http://t.co/zRw5lAJx

Here are some photos:

Walking over from MassChallenge to Convention Center

Getting our table set up for some networking before the event.

MassChallenge on the big screen.

They had the world series trophy's out to snap photos with.

Mayor Menino

Governor Deval Patrick

Monday, October 24, 2011

55. Dave Balter’s Tech Prom

Thursday October 20th Dave Balter’s Tech Prom

Greg and Dina Routhier, Julia Redfern, Daniel McGuire

We all had a blast at Dave Balter's 80's themed event. We got to get our boogie on and also was great opportunity to meet some great people in the startup scene. We even made the video.

Check it out.

Dave Balter Tech Prom from Apolis Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

54. Finished Parody Music Video

I finished the parody music video of "Damn it feels good to be a founda" a parody of the original song "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta" from the Getto Boys. It is also a mini tribute to the movie "Office Space" where they had a scene to this song while they smash a fax machine. I hope you like it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

53. Questions About My Pool

So a lot of people around MassChallenge heard I built my own pool and wanted to see a picture so I decided to put one up on the blog for everyone to see. So to get the excavator into my yard I had to build a big sand ramp to drive it over the sea wall. Once I started digging,at about 4 feet I hit the water table. YES. We are in a flood zone. So I improvised and decided to build up 2 feet to get to my depth of 6 feet that I wanted. In the photo I am finishing tiling the top.
So people have asked if I had any knowledge of how to do this when I started. Actually I had no idea what I was doing.... but I am never afraid to take on anything and I always seem to figure out a way to get what ever I put my mind to done. I hope this inspires other to do something crazy and take on a big challenge.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

52 Startup Showcase

We are pitching as many people that come to our cube. 600 people registered for the event. Great exposure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

51. I have big deal Law Firm

So the Intellectual Property is a big part of my company. So last week was a huge win for me. I pitched Gabor Garia (Head big wig over at Foley & Lardner) and he grilled me on my concept but in the end accepted me into  there accelerator program. What this means is I get $5,000 dollars worth of legal services to start off with. Then they will give me 10-15k worth of legal work (file patents/all the legal work for first round of funding, etc) and this will all be differed until our series A funding round. And if we never reach a series A... then I'm not on the line for the dough. Not too shabby... Thank you Gabor and Foley & Lardner. It's also nice to know I have a national firm if I need to bounce to the west coast.

So this is just another feather in the hat helping vet me to the start up community. I'm going to just keep chugging along but with a bit more confidence now knowing I have a big guard dog watching my back.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

50. Saved A Life

Well, I must say I am high as a kite today. Last night we were out celebrating Julia's (my fiancee) birthday at Fox & Hound in Quincy. When all of the sudden two tables over a guy jumps up knocks a table and starts screaming help, help, help! Some how I immediately knew exactly what was going on and what to do. I jumped up and ran to the woman in the chair, who was choking, pulled her out of the chair and stood her up from behind. I then gave her two quick heave hoes to the stomach and the glob of food came spitting out. Who knew the lobster macaroni could be so dangerous. I want to give big thank you to Delta Airlines who taught my mom the Heimlich maneuver as flight attendant... who in turn taught me. The whole thing was like straight out of a movie. All the people were screaming and yelling for 911 and it was pretty intense. I was really calm until I sat back down to sign bill and I started shaking so much that it was hard to do my signature. I guess the adrenaline was going away. The best part was when Julia and I reached the car she told me that as we were leaving the guy leaned in and said, "you better marry that guy, he's a keeper."

I'm just happy everything worked out. I've heard of people choking to death in restaurants while everyone stood around frozen. I've also heard of people breaking people's ribs while trying to do the Heimlich maneuver. So thank God everything turned out great. Either way this is one birthday we will never forget.

Here is some info on the how to do the Heimlich maneuver. Learn it! You could save someone's life.
http://artofmanliness.com/2011/08/15/how-to-perform-the-heimlich-maneuver-in-6-different-situations/

p.s. Did you know there is the Heimlich for your dog too?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

48 Pay It Forward

Felt like I got a lot done so I decided to head down from MassChallenge and check out some free art and music (Thursday ICA has free entry and music on the water. So I ran into a film crew from France and got talking cameras. Found out they were here for the redbull cliff diving that is happening Saturday off of the top of the ICA into the bay. I told them I could get them into our buildingand they could get shots from the 14th floor. They jumped at the chance. On the way over I explained what MassChallenge is and they said they were doing a show on entrepreneurs in France. I then introduced them to one of the teams here at MC that are French. Funny how things work out like this. Here is to being friendly.




46. Intro Bumper

I am starting a show called SPTV for SKINNY prices Inc which will be a comical and fun fashion show which will help with marketing of my company. The show will be on my site but also on YouTube and other video sites. Anyone who watches the show will then want to check out the site. At least that is my theory to help drive traffic... Also, I am trying create a company that is not just about selling stuff. I trying to make the entire experience more entertaining and fun. Who says a shopping site can't have a show! And who says we can't build fans just like a television show or musician! Plus this is a ton of fun and that goes to my company beliefs that if you have fun with what you are doing the customers will too.

So with that being said... My show needs what is called a "bumper". This is the 15 or 30 second intro video before a show. I wanted to make it high energy and visually fun. It took me a while to learn adobe AfterEffect, PremierPro, Illistrator, Audition, and Photoshop. (Yes I used all of these programs and yes I am using the 30 day trial) Well here is my first try at a bumper: Enjoy the hell out of it because I f-in loving and it was a crap load of work.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

45. Company Culture

So I decided that I would love to have some company culture but being a team of one there is not much culture. So I'm going to try to get everyone here at MassChallenge (The business accelerator I'm in) to have some fun. I am officially making every Wednesday "Humorous Hat Hump Day!" I have secured the Twitter account @HHHDay and I want people to wear funny hats on Wednesdays and we will take pics and tweet them to #HHHDay. Feel free to join in. This made me laugh today and I ave already got a ton of smiles as I walk around. Hey... If your not having fun. Why bother! So grab a goofy hat and slap it on your head next Wednesday and snap a photo. I tell you this is going to catch on. All across the country Wednesday will be Humorous Hat Hump Day :)


Monday, August 15, 2011

43. Kinetic Word Video

I have been working on a Kinetic Word Video or also known as utilizing typography for video. Well, I did't know anything about this at the beginning of last week. I also didn't know how to use Adobe After Effects. It was a steep learning curve but I figured it out and I am happy with the results. Take a look at my 1 minute and 20 second video that I am using as a commercial and a how it works video to get customer's excited about the site.


42. Don't sell Apples

Great talk with Joshua Boger, founder CEO of Vertex Pharm. He explained that when looking for investors be very careful. There not your friends. Don't get caught in the game of selling apples. Don't let them try to evaluate your company on what this apple is worth and what they will get. You want to go get someone who wants to dance with you. They believe in your mission and supports you. Those are the types of investors you want.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

41. Designing an Experience

Talk with Grasshopper.com on U.I. and design here at MassChallenge:

Split test, split test, split test. Use abtest.com
You should always be testing something at all times.

Crap design says "I don't care about you" to your customer.

Designing an experience is your goal not a site.

Advertising is the price you pay for being boring.

Don't follow the trends! Create new and be orginal. Solve your problems with design not just copying design that you think is cool.

Cutting your ambition in half. You're better off with a kickass half than a halfassed whole.


40. First Publication

First time my logo has been published. Mind you it is very tiny and listed with all the finalist but still. SKINNY prices logo is in INC. Magazine. Come on... That's pretty cool!

P.s. I'm in the right corner third from the top and one over. Go $P logo. Your famous.


39. Alpha Site BABY!

Well today is a proud day. I have reached one of my milestones and have released my alpha site. Now for those who don't now what an alpha site is: (Keep in mind this is my definition) It is hacked together version of your site that may not have all the functionality hard coded but allows you to test some of your hypothesizes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

38. "Risky Business"

There is a networking event called @BostonBoogie or #boogiedown. It is a startup networking event at Saint Boston from 9pm on. The premiss is to take a funny dance photo or dance video and then all those images and videos would be posted on http://bostonboogie.tumblr.com/ The idea was to have a a lot of fun with it. So I thought it would be funny to do a parody on Tom Cruise cutting some rug in the movie Risky Business. Warren Paul Anderson of Inturnal Media shot my moves and did all the editing. Thanks Warren.

Friday, July 15, 2011

37. How I Landed a MONSTER Mentor


Getting into MassChallenge (The World's Largest Startup Competition and Accelerator Program) was just the start of an uphill battle to launch and succeed with my startup SKINNY prices Inc. Well, now that the first two weeks of boot camp are over, the next extremely important step is to find mentors to help you through the process of successfully creating a kick-ass company.

Today, I am happy to announce that I have landed serial entrepreneur and DJ extraordinaire Jeff Taylor the founder of Monster.com, Eons.com, and now Buffalo.djThis is one hell of a Monster Mentor and I'm going to tell you just how I did it.

1. I started by thanking Jeff for a talk he gave us here at MassChallenge on "Going Big or Going Home." My note of appreciation was meaningful and sincere - straight from the ol' ticker. This can go a long way if it truly comes from the heart.

2. I recognized how busy he is and got right to the point by stating, "I want you as a mentor." If you pussy foot around too much, you'll be wasting their time. So get to the point and keep it short.

3. I brought up how this experience will benefit him. Instead asking him what he can do for me, I told him what we can do together.
                                                                                     
4. I pointed out his current interests in business and his known personal hobbies (Jeff has been a DJ for 39 years) and showed him how my interests aligned with his and how his strengths/experiences aligned with what I was trying to accomplish.

5. Then I gave him an EXTRA SMALL taste of what my business is trying to achieve. Jeff loves big ideas. I didn't even explain the concept, just the big idea behind it. (ie: World domination, cure cancer,  change the way people buy things online, etc.)

6. I painted a picture of the adventure and how much fun it was going to be.  Then invited him to come along for the ride!

7. Realizing how busy he is, I communicated that I was NOT going to be a needy startup nor require a ton of hand holding. It's true that mentors are generally volunteering their valuable time to help you, but don't go wasting their time by having them walk you through every step of the way. They're mentors, not co-founders.

8. I SHOWED him that I was a doer and sent him examples of projects that I have started and finished.

9. As a quintessential sales guy... I naturally "assumed the close" and moved forward with next steps.

10. I finished by thanking him for his time and added a little humor and personality to help seal the deal.

(NOTE: This method worked for me because it's just my style. If it's not your style then don't use it, but always remember to stay true to yourself).

Well I hope this helps other entrepreneurs land their own MONSTER Mentor.

If you have questions feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

35. Video Studio Build

So... finally I have all the pics from the build and thought I would put them up. We also did a time lapse of the entire build and will put that up after it is done rendering. (which is taking forever) So that will be coming soon.

Here we metal framed up the shap to the video studio.

Started hanging the drywall and added a window for people to look in and see what was being video taped or photographed.


This was the labor intensive part of cutting each angle and then finish nailing it in place so that we could create the infinite background of what in the industry they call a cyclorama or also referred to as " I shot that in a cyc". This how Mac commercials have the actors standing in the infinite white space and you don't known if the edge of the room is 10 ft or 10 miles away. It add to the production  look of anything you shoot. But boy is it a bitch to build.

Then we nailed down 4x8 sheets of vinyl backer board that you would see in a men's bathroom to cover the walls. We chose this because it was very flexible. I did see "online" that people have used thin plywood but it was much more of a bitch to work with.

So we cut so many angles with the jigsaw that we created enough sawdust to start our own paper mill.

I decided to use magnetic paint as the backer before the final white coat so that teams can print magnetic signs and have the stick to the wall and give a professional look at a cheap cost.


Here is it is after the final coat of paint. By the way... What a bitch it was to cover the magnetic paint. We used 3 coats of primer and then 3 coats of paint to finally get everything perfectly white with no bleed through. So if you do this be ready to do a lot of coats of paint. Also we used eggshell for the type of paint. Semigloss was to shiny and flat would mark up way to easily. Egg shell was a happy medium.

Finally I build some tresses so that I could hang all our lights. I just used metal studding to do this. Word of caution!!! This stuff is dam sharp so wear gloves. I lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Gloves are highly recommended!!!

34. First Photo/Video Shoot

Well we decided to break the studio in by having my lovely Julia come in and do a photo shoot with my Ducati to see if all our hard work would pay off and give us some really great shots. Well it went great. We had a ton of fun and the studio kicks ass. p.s. These are a few camera phone pics. I shot everything with a Nikon D80 and they came out fantastic but I will have to upload those later.







Tuesday, July 12, 2011

33. Ribbon Cutting for Studio

Well finished the video studio with Warren today and we decided to have a ribbon cutting for all the hard work we did. We brought up my Ducati and decided to put it in the cyclorama so after the ribbon cutting we could do a photo shoot later on tonight. Here is a video the kick off.




32. Finished Bootcamp 4 and 5

Well the week ended and it was bootcamp 4 and 5 was very motivating. I really enjoyed Colin Angle the founder of iRobot. It was interested to hear that he failed over 14 times and over 12 years before he finally succeed. It is talks like this that have really motivated to kick ass with my start up.

Well now that bootcamp is over I need to finished the video studio and find mentor to match up with me. I have few mentor matching events to attend so hopefully I will find some great mentors to sky rocket my growth. I also just attended a speed founder dating event which is suppose to help you build a team but I didn't find anyone who was in my space. Oh well.

31. Redbull Extreme Sailing

After bootcamp 3 we had the kick off for the fourth of July Weekend with Rebull Extreme Sailing 40 footers. It was right outside our building and was a nice way to end the week. I also include a pic of the giant bonfire we built on our beach for the fourth of July. I topped it with a plastic frosty the snowman and we called it Christmas in July. Great weekend.








Thursday, June 30, 2011