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Rustbelt Resurrection?
Feb 15th, 2017 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Blake Glenn’s Looney thoughts, perspectives, adventures, and insights on the world of business!

— By Blake Glenn

 

————————

 

Hello 2017!

It’s my first post of 2017. I’ve been away a little while. During my long hiatus I helped a family member close a deal to sell a property, moved many heavy items,  took some much needed rest, discovered I need shoulder surgery (after moving many heavy items), and Donald Trump was elected President of the U.S. All of those things are true.

All. Of. THEM.

But in my near endless quest for uncovering interesting items happening in the business world, I came across an opinion piece in USA Today written by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL. For the last two years, through his Rise Of The Rest tour, Case has crisscrossed the U.S. in search of tech startup communities beyond Silicon Valley, Boston and New York City. In previous posts I refer to such cities and regions as “Outside The Valley”.

In any case, Case has spent time in a few cities that have been devastated by the decline of industrial age industries. And he has some interesting points to make about the growth of tech startups in there. Some of those key points include:

 

  • Globalization and technology are irreversible forces
  • Massachusetts, New York, and California account for 80% of venture capital investment
  • Responsibility for changing the funding dynamic starts with Silicon Valley and NY tech leaders and venture capitalists
  • Rise of the Rest cities are often too risk-averse and lack the fearlessness of Silicon Valley
  • Nascent entrepreneurial communities are often fragmented
  • Government, legacy companies and tech need to invest in unleashing America’s creativity

 

I just want to comment briefly about some of his points. First, I understand his belief that VCs need to redirect their investment resources to non-traditional cities. In fact, it may make good business sense to scour the entire country seeking out investment opportunities rather than just a select three or four cities. But that takes time, effort, and connections even for large VC firms.

So why would a VC seek out tech startups in, say, Dayton, OH, if there doesn’t already exist a strong tech startup community led by entrepreneurs? It’s the responsibility of the entrepreneurs in those regions to build their communities into viable, attractive cites whether VCs recognize them or not.

Case mentions that many cities are too risk-averse and lack fearlessness. As someone that led a tech startup Meetup group for 3 years in Dayton, I can testify to that fact. The mentality, not just of the institutions and general community, but of the people claiming to be entrepreneurs can be so damned oppressively conservative and failure-averse.

Finally, Case makes a good point about the fragmentation within many tech communities. While I led that tech startup group I attempted to organize a gathering for all leaders of regional tech groups. While my group focused specifically on tech startups there were many other groups focused on some particular technology or tech-related expertise. I contacted leaders from 17 or 18 groups in SW Ohio. We only had about five groups represented. To top the cake, the majority didn’t even respond to my invitation, including at least 3 that I already knew or had met previously. Not even a freakin’ no – just silence. And I sent at least two notices.

What Case found out during his Rise Of The Rest tour is what I learned during my three years of Meetup group dictatorship:

 

Cities with a traditional industrial base or dependence on a very narrow range of declining industries need a lot of time, patience, vodka and Tylenol as they seek to re-invent themselves into emerging tech startup hubs.

 

It’s been a little over a year since I shuttered IgniteTech, the tech startup group I founded. Over the next few weeks I’ll start posting my reflections and that adventure.  I think I’ll call it “Surviving The Rustbelt”. Catchy title huh. Then again maybe not. I’m not completely sure I’ve survived it yet. Can someone pleeeaasseee hand me a bottle of Vodka. Actually … better make it the whole case. It’s gonna be a long story.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

 

If you dare, I can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

P.S.  I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my business game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the player pool!

 

 

Rustbelt Rising #15: The Demise of IgniteTech
Feb 18th, 2016 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Rust Belt Rising … An Epic Quest To Build A Vibrant Tech Startup Scene In A Traditional, Conservative, Hard-core Rust Belt Town.

— by Blake Glenn

 

I’m back. After a months-long break of not writing anything, I’m getting back in gear. It happens. Sometimes we must step back and take a break. We have to refresh. So many things were going on I felt the need to deep-freeze the writing for a while. But I enjoyed the holiday season and I hope you did too. Although it seems to come and go so much faster now that I’m in my middle years. I know time doesn’t change. It’s our perception of it that does.

Then again … maybe that’s not true at all. I’ve been watching the rebooted X-Flies series. Strange and unbelievable cases those FBI agents try to solve. And now that I think about it, I have a strange theory. Maybe time IS actually accelerating.  It seems like just yesterday I was on a college campus partying and working through an engineering program in Norfolk, VA. But maaaybeee … it really was yesterday. Maybe someone – or some thing – did something to me to make time accelerate several years in just a few hours.

I think my DNA-embedded neutronic positrons have been activated diametrically, which causes an acceleration of the time-space continuum on an individual basis. This was thought to be complete conjecture by the established scientific community, nothing more than voodoo science. But it’s the only plausible explanation. And that would certainly explain a lot indeed.  It’s a good thing I have Mulder and Scully on speed dial.

In any case, since I’ve last written, a lot has happened in the business world that, as usual, I have some thoughts on. And I have a few more stories to tell too.

One of those stories is my decision to pull the plug on IgniteTech. IgniteTech was a group I launched on Meetup.com in 2013. It was an experiment to see if it was possible to create a viable, energetic, grass-roots driven tech startup scene in the Dayton, OH region. You see Dayton is a hard-core rustbelt town. It’s also a hard-core military town, with one of the largest U.S. Air Force bases located in the region. And the culture of these two influences is very strongly reflected in the regional institutions and the population. When I returned here a few years ago, there was no movement to build a grass-roots driven tech startup scene.

 

So is it possible to create a dynamic tech startup scene in Dayton?

 

That was the question I wondered as I launched IgniteTech. Well the short answer (or the short-term answer) is … no. It’s not possible, at least not right now. There simply doesn’t exist a strong concentration of past, current and potential founders that have the motivation, the will, to make that happen. There’s just very little energy focused on building a great tech startup scene. On top of that, there’s not a dynamic support system (existing institutions) that helps to foster such ideas.

And though the regional institutions also lack enthusiasm for creating a dynamic tech startup scene, the situation isn’t primarily their fault. Grassroots is about people making things happen for themselves. IgniteTech was about building a grassroots movement. And the people it was meant to help simply didn’t demonstrate a motivation to build something. But there is an upside. There actually are a very small handful of people (2 or 3 that I know of) working diligently to make something happen. And if their enthusiasm can recruit a few more people committed to the tech startup scene, maybe in a few years we’ll see some significant progress.

In my last “Rustbelt Rising” post last November, I wasn’t sure if anyone else would step into the fray to continue IgniteTech and take it to the next level. No one did. After I sent the farewell notice, four or five people responded with nice words. But not a single person even inquired about how to keep it going. That, in a nutshell, is the story of the current grassroots tech startup movement in Dayton.

Suffice it to say I’ll have a lot more to post about my IgniteTech (mis-)adventure in the near future. Check out this interesting short piece on what it takes to create a tech startup scene.

 

 

Now I’m off on a new set of adventures:

  • Developing a business game show (live event)
  • Exercising my speaking chops
  • Launching a new business talk show
  • And starting on a scripted web series

 

And hopefully by the next post I’ll have connected with Mulder and Scully to solve my time-acceleration issues.

Wish me luck.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

P.S.  I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the pool.

 

 

Rustbelt Rising #14: Part II
Sep 15th, 2015 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Rust Belt Rising … An Epic Quest To Build A Vibrant Tech Startup Scene In A Traditional, Conservative, Hard-core Rust Belt Town.

— by Blake Glenn

 

Every adventure must come to an inevitable conclusion!

 

Apathy

1. Absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.

2. Lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

 

In the last three years I’ve learned that enthusiasm is an absolutely HUGE variable that determines whether or not it’s possible to ignite a grassroots tech startup scene. And frankly, the Dayton region has not had sufficient enthusiasm for the prospect of building a real startup scene. There are a handful of individuals that are all in for this. I can name them. They’re ready, willing, and able to put in the time and effort to make this happen. But that list is horrifically short. And it’s about to get even shorter.

In the almost 3 years I’ve been “efforting” to ignite a tech startup scene, only two people have stepped in as leaders to help build the group and, subsequently, the regional tech startup scene. Despite my repeated calls for additional community builders, no one else made themselves available. In truth, there were a couple of others that seemed interested. But that just didn’t translate into bodies on board. And unfortunately, both of the people that did step in are no longer able to be on board. I thank them both – Alejandro and Max – for their service. So, from a leadership perspective, it’s just me now.

It’s not just an apathy for community-building. It’s been apathy for just attending events that we offered – social hours, co-working sessions … anything! There’s been so little energy from the people in the Dayton region to just get out of their houses once or twice a month to gather and socialize around tech startups, that I’ve wondered if there’s a pulse at all!

Oh no! She’s flatlining. Defibrillator. Defibrillator!

CLEAR!

Bzzzzzzzz!

Still no pulse!

AGAIN!

CLEAR!

Bzzzzzzzz!

We’re losing her.

WE’RE LOSING HER!

 

I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. We did the best we could. It just wasn’t … It just wasn’t enough. My condolences.

 

To quote Larry The Liquidator in the movie “Other People’s Money” (played with delightful effect by Danny Devito):

It’s dead.

Don’t blame me.

It was dead when I got here!

 

Of course Larry was talking about a dying company he had targeted for acquiring and then selling in pieces, or liquidation, in order to make a lot of money. Here of course, we’re talking about the regional tech startup scene. I have no plans to break Dayton into pieces and sell them off.

Then again … maybe I could interest Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Cincinnati in a section or two.

 

Another important event that exemplified the apathy around tech startups was Startup Weekend. There were two attempts to do this in 2014. The first attracted less than 30 people. The second had to be canceled due to insufficient registrations. Frankly, I think the second attempt was too soon considering the disappointing turnout of the first one. But I’m sure the organizers learned from their experience.

 

 

Pivot

To turn on or as on a pivot.

I’m just a bit tired of this word. It’s one of the most overused in the world of tech startups – right up there with ecosystem, disrupt, scale, and way too many others. But damnit I couldn’t think of a better one to use.

Anyway, yes it’s pivot time.

First, I have a couple of project ideas that haven’t received my full attention. I’ve neglected theses ideas because some of my attention went to Ignitetech. I’m not just a community builder. I have looney ideas constantly bouncing around in my crazy brain. And they’re just aching to launch. So I’m pursuing them with a relentless and ruthless focus.

Second, what does this mean for IgniteTech? Will it continue on? Will it evolve into something else? Well I don’t know yet. I’d be ecstatic if a few more people showed some enthusiasm (i.e., opposite of apathy) for helping to build a grassroots tech startup movement by taking leadership positions in IgniteTech. Based on past experience, that’s not likely to happen.

Alternately, the group may “pivot” in a different direction. I have an idea or two that dovetails with the projects I’m developing. So it may still exist but become something completely different than the original mission. On the other hand, maybe it just needs a merciful death. That’s a strong possibility too.

Regardless of which direction I take here, the initial IgniteTech adventure is over. It started with a tech startup summit I co-produced in November of 2012. And it continued with the launch of IgniteTech in January of 2013. Now I must turn my full attention to embarking on other adventures. Of course now and then I’ll still post observations about the Dayton tech startup scene. I’ll still participate, on occasion, in tech startup activities. I’ll continue to observe how things transpire. Maybe someone else will be able to inject a dose of electricity and jolt some life into the moribund Dayton scene.

Yea. Like Frankenstein bringing his monster to life.

Just remember …

Don’t blame me.

I didn’t kill it.

It was dead when I got here.

 

But maybe, just maybe a team of mad scientists can conjure up some lightning one stormy night and bring Daytonstein to life!

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

——————

 

 

Rustbelt Rising #14: Part I
Sep 11th, 2015 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Rust Belt Rising … An Epic Quest To Build A Vibrant Tech Startup Scene In A Traditional, Conservative, Hard-core Rust Belt Town.

— by Blake Glenn

 

The End Times Cometh!

 

Membership

The total number of members belonging to an organization, society, etc.

If you’ve been reading these updates you know that IgniteTech is a group I launched in January 2013 as a means to gather people interested in building a dynamic grassroots tech startup scene in the Dayton, OH region. In December of 2014 the IgniteTech membership stood at about 190 people. Since then the membership has increased to over 270 people. That’s pretty good growth, especially for the Dayton, OH region. 80 more members in 8 months. So that’s some real good news right?

And yet, the last event IgniteTech attempted to co-produce with two other tech groups – a beer and bowling party – could only muster 4 registrations … including me! So we had to cancel it. Since last year I’ve noticed a decline in registrations for IgniteTech social events as well as our  monthly pitching/co-working meetups.

So what does this mean?

Well it seems that the membership doesn’t like what we’re offering. And to attempt to counteract this declining trend in participation, we issued a survey early this year to get a sense of what people want. While there were a few responses, I would call it tepid at best. And over the last 2 years I’ve also seen lukewarm interest in other tech startup activities not sponsored by IgniteTech.

What it means is … the IgniteTech membership not only doesn’t like what we’ve tried to offer, but doesn’t care much to tell us what they actually do want.

So why does the membership keep growing?

Well, uh, geez … Hell if I know!

Maybe people just like joining stuff, whether they plan to participate or not!

 

Traction

The adhesive friction of a body on some surface, as a wheel on a rail or a tire on a road

Initially, IgniteTech was able to get a little traction in interest with our early events. Our typical attendance was in the range of 20 – 25 people. As I look back I think a big part of this was that there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING going on in the tech startup scene. I mean NOTHING! Hell there actually wasn’t a tech startup scene at all.

While there always have been and will be individuals interested in launching the next billion dollar IPO, there wasn’t an actual grassroots community that existed around tech startups. A community that supported, critiqued, and collaborated to help launch more ventures. I think the initial interest in IgniteTech events was also driven by an intrigue at the prospect of something new.

But as time progressed, our ability to maintain that initial traction has become a whole lot more challenging. The tread wear on these tires is pretty damned thin. New tires are probably needed. But frankly is it really worth the effort to try to regain the traction?

Keeping with the auto metaphor, maybe it’s best if someone with a brand new car came in to try and burn a little rubber in the tech startup scene. Oops. That would actually wear off the tread wouldn’t it. Bad metaphor.

A group called Startup Grind has recently launched in Dayton. Maybe it will gain some traction. And there’s rumblings of a new attempt at another Startup Weekend. Perhaps with their past experience as a guide, they’ll be able to pull it off. I really wish both of these efforts the best. The region needs new blood, new ideas, new energy.

 

Community

A social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists

With this in mind, the Dayton region does have an existing tech community that is made up of programmers, designers, engineers, project managers, small business owners … etc. Then there’s the sub-community within the broader tech community that consists of founders of tech-related ventures that are launching ideas, seeking angel and venture funding, and trying to achieve a high growth trajectory.

But these communities are mostly a collection of individuals and teams working their own ventures, with minimal ongoing interaction and collaboration among others in the “community”. But if there’s minimal ongoing interaction, and there’s little mutual support, is it really a community at all?

Well I say no. It’s not. Definitely not.

At least not the type of community that can lead to building a truly dynamic tech startup scene. It’s simply a collection of individuals. No more.  When I look around the country at some of the cities/regions where tech startups are really emerging (Las Vegas; Columbus; Washington, DC; Chicago; even Detroit) there appear to be active grassroots communities that hold well-attended events. As an outsider, there appears to be great enthusiasm for activities that allow people to bump and connect (I’m tired of saying “colliding”). Even lil’ ole’ Reno, NV (similar to Dayton in size and its loss of traditional industry jobs – casinos in this case) is trying to become a tech startup player. And it just might succeed too.

 

In my next post, I’ll conclude my thoughts on the status of IgniteTech and the Dayton tech startup scene in Rustbelt Rising #14: Part II.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

—————————————————————

P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

Rust Belt Rising #5: The Beginning Of Something Damned Good!
Apr 1st, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A quest to create a vibrant tech startup scene in a traditional, conservative, hard-core rust belt town.

— By Blake Glenn (aka Blakey G.)

 

Networking

 

On the early morning of Feb 22nd, right on the outskirts of downtown, a motley group representing the tech scene in the Dayton, OH region convened a Tech Mini-Summit. This historic summit occurred in an area of Dayton known as Tech Town. The purpose of the mini-summit was to bring together the leaders from various regional tech groups to share ideas and Pow Wow on how to build an energetic, dynamic tech scene.

While there’s a lot of membership crossover between groups, the regional tech community is quite siloed (maybe not a word but sounds like … “sigh load”) or insular. The groups tend to focus on their own area of technology without much contact or partnering with the other groups. And I believe this was the first such attempt, if not ever then certainly in a number of years, to herd the cats into one room for a roundtable discussion.

Actually, it was really a bunch of short tables strung together neatly to represent more of a semi-rectangle, rather than one large round table. But I’ll not digress with those details.

So with coffee (but no Bailey’s or Kahlua … damn!), bagels, and ideas in hand a small but passionate group of people pitched their groups and talked for 3 hours about the regional tech community and how we could all work together more harmoniously to build the tech scene.

The 10 people in attendance represented groups that included:

  • .Net
  • City of Dayton (economic development group)
  • Code for Dayton
  • IgniteTech
  • New Media Dayton
  • Startup Weekend Dayton
  • Technology First
  • Tech Town

 

In the Dayton area alone there exist about 17 tech-focused groups that I identified. They represent about 1,700 members. Even accounting for crossover between groups that’s a goodly number of brainpower. And I invited all of the group leaders to the table, except for the 2 or 3 that appear not to be active. I even invited about 10 or so groups from the Cincinnati area. So of the 20-something tech group leaders I invited, only a handful responded and actually participated.

I’m not sure if this means anything yet. After all it’s only the first event. But surely a lack of even a “sorry … but I can’t attend” response from the majority of the groups is a bit curious.

But for those of us that did come out, the ideas were a flyin’. And before the smoke settled from all of the brainstorming and such, several had been put forth. These included:

  • An app or widget that would provide tech event information to all group sites
  • A tech summer camp for young people
  • A common donation/sponsor button that potential sponsors could click to get info on various tech groups
  • Directory of tech groups and organizations
  • Each group create a biz plan to focus their mission and strategy

 

There was also consensus on one issue in particular … we need to do this again. And so we will. Likely later this year.

By the way, despite the intense Pow Wow, there was no evidence of peyote or peace pipes to be found at the scene. But certainly can’t guarantee that for the next time!

DVD On Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive   blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ride The RocketP.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

 Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

 

Rust Belt Rising #4: A Pivotal Moment
Mar 19th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

 

A quest to create a vibrant tech startup scene in a traditional, conservative, hard-core rust belt town.

(Originally posted on January 31, 2014)

— By Blake Glenn 

 

World English Dictionary

Pivot:

 — vb

to turn on or as if on a pivot

1610s, from Fr., from O.Fr. pivot “hinge, pivot” (12c.), of uncertain origin. The verb is 1841, from the noun. Figurative sense of “central point” is recorded from 1813.

 

Ride The Rocket

 

Back in the 9th grade I played running back for my Junior High School football team. There were no middle schools back in those days … at least not in my city. I’d not played running back before. But I was very fast. Fast as a rocket.  And strong too. But since I was a virgin at the running back position, I hadn’t yet mastered some of the required basic “running back” mechanics.

 

For instance, switching the ball from one arm to the other depending on the position of the opposing player(s) was a fundamental tenant of the running back. Another was sticking out your arm to ward off a would-be tackler. This is also referred to as the ole “stiff-arm”. And a third was to keep your legs moving after the initial impact of getting hit. You’ll pick up an extra yard or two for sure.

Anyway, despite being a novice I was still pretty good. You might say I was the Jim Brown of my time. Oh sorry. Maybe that’s too old school. After all, he did retire from pro football in the late 1960’s to become a movie action hero. Ok let’s say I was, uhm, the Adrian Peterson of Junior High football.

One moment in particular comes to mind. We were playing our hated cross-town rivals in the first game of the season. We’d won the league the year before by beating them. And all of the expert analysts and reporters at the Junior High Sports Network (JSPN) knew it would be one of us that would win the league again.

On this particular play I was handed the ball, intending to go through the right side of the line. But their defense had stacked up that side of the field. So seeing defenders everywhere, I quickly spun around, i.e. “pivoted”, and ran to the other side. This took our adversary completely by surprise. And my blinding road runner-like speed (beep beep) took me into a wide open field.

 

Blue Sky

 

There was just green grass and blue sky between me and the goal line. Uh, that is until I saw one of their defensive backs making a beeline for me. I knew he had the angle. And a collision was inevitable. But as a power runner I lived for collisions. I loved to run over SOB’s that dared to have the audacity to position themselves between me and the magical holy grail that is the goal line.

 

 

As he closed the distance, I looked deep into his eyes … and he into mine. What I saw invigorated me immensely. When I stared deep into the eyes of my opponent I saw fear. Not just a little fear. A whole 18-wheel truck load of it. His eyes were wide as the moon and he seemed to be shaking a bit. I’m not sure exactly what he saw when he locked eyes with me. But I imagine he saw a mean, ornery, growling, snorting, wild-eyed predator, running full speed, with glowing red eyes … smoke coming from my flaring nostrils.

 

Angry Wolf

I think in that moment I had “crazy eyes”. You’ve seen those. You know … Charles Manson, Donald Trump, or maybe an ex- girlfriend or boyfriend that just realized you’re a complete jerk. As the collision unfolded … in slow motion … like the movies, I lowered my head and shoulder, bracing for impact.

KABOOM! BABAM! Our collision made a loud thunderous noise  that reverberated out at least 100 miles from the epicenter, shattering car and store windows all around. To this day the aftershocks still shake the earth a little on occasion.

 

 

 

My opponent went low, diving in desperation for my lower body, reaching up, flinging his hands, and catching my feet as he hit the ground. I stumbled for a few yards, trying to stay on my feet. But I eventually went down with a thud. There was no touchdown. But at least I’d made a huge gain with my running. I must have gained 30 or 40 yards. Or … at least I WOULD HAVE if I’d actually held onto the ball.

Remember the basics of switching the ball to the opposite hand and doing a stiff-arm?

Well I didn’t. And I lost the ball. It was recovered by the other team. And we subsequently lost the game and the league title. The ghost of that moment has haunted my nightmares for more than 30 years. Guess I wasn’t so much Jim Brown after all huh.

I tell you this story to say that, for a number of reasons, we had to “pivot” on Civic Hackathon 2014. It will not be held on February 22nd after all. We were hit with a low level of interest from programmers among other things. We stumbled, dropped the ball, and went down with a soft thud!

 

Networking

 

But all isn’t lost. Instead of the hackathon, we’ll pull together a tech mini-summit. We’ll gather up a small cadre of area tech group leaders to pow wow on the tech scene in the Dayton, OH region. It will be small. It will be informal. But it will be for sure. I’ve counted 17 or 18 groups with about 1,700 total members … all focused on some aspect of technology.

These are Meetup groups, LinkedIn groups … etc. Since many people belong to multiple groups, the actual number of individuals is lower. But it’s still significant.

 

 

So we’ll come together, pitch our tech groups, discuss the area tech scene, and tour Dayton’s Tech Town. I think this may be a first event of its kind. Now I don’t see a pivot coming for this event. But then ya never know.

You’ve always got to be prepared with a good stiff-arm … right?

 

The Looney Man

 

    Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive   blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

 Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

Rust Belt Rising #3: Genesis Of A Hackathon
Mar 19th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A quest to create a vibrant tech startup scene in a traditional, conservative, hard-core rust belt town.

(Originally posted on January 15, 2014)

— By Blake Glenn 

 

Coffee CupOn a brisk Autumn morning in November of 2013, a small group of tech startup enthusiasts met at the Boston Stoker Coffee house in downtown Dayton, OH. These brave souls included Alejandro Clavel, Dave Caraway, Sam Boutros, and Blake Glenn. All present were members of IgniteTech, a Meetup Group focused on igniting and building a vibrant tech startup community in SW Ohio.

They all braved the chilly temperatures for a singular purpose – to discuss the possibility of producing a hackathon event right there in Dayton. This idea had been kicking around IgniteTech for a few months already. But now seemed to be the right time to strike. At this instance, more people expressed a real willingness to put in the hard work and effort to mold a raw concept into an actual reality. So now seemed the time to head off into the unknown hackathon frontier.

Ideas were kicked around, brainstorms came and went, minds went into hyper over-drive, a cloud of thinking-dust blanketed 4 square blocks of downtown Dayton as the participants parried back and forth on ideas. Then, as if by divine province, the team focused on the core idea of forming an alliance with an existing organization that had solved the hackathon puzzle and might welcome a collaboration with IgniteTech.

Happy PC    As fate would have it, Dave worked with the woman that had launched an organization called Code for America. Code for America produces events that help to apply technology to solving local civic problems and challenges. And again as fate would have it, Code for America was sprinting rapidly toward its annual Code Across America event to be held on February 21 – 23, 2014. The team realized this was an opportunity to birth their first hackathon.

Thus was born Code for Dayton, a local brigade (chapter) of Code for America. Code for Dayton would focus on applying tech solutions to Dayton region civic problems. And IgniteTech would ally with Code for Dayton/Code for America to produce its very first hackathon … Civic Hackathon 2014. So the idea was birthed. The stage was set. Alliances were being formed. The players were poised. Now it was time for the real work to begin!

Would this idea live … or would it die?

 

Ride The Rocket

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive ( Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

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P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

 Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

 

 

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