Archive for the ‘grocio’ category

“A Tale of Two Founders” aka “Rough Air Ahead”

March 6, 2009

Rough Air Ahead

Next week I’ll be delivering a talk titled “A Tale of Two Founders” at the OpenBeta2 event in Oklahoma City. If you’ve ever thought of starting a business, let alone a dot com, I’m going to do something that gets me well outside my comfort zone (thanks for setting THAT bar so high Loic!) and takes us to a very transparent place about the good (lots), the bad (far and few) and the ugly (yes, there is broken glass occasionally) of my startup, Grocio.com. I’m going to deliver a no-holds-barred, up close and VERY personal, roll your sleeves up peek behind the curtain of a dot com startup determined to make it in Oklahoma. From being down to our last 87 cents to the threat of lawsuits to the highs of raising capital to weathering the media attention and a few forward looking statements that require me to invoke dirty words like “Sarbanes Oxley.” If you’re a VC or an angel investor with intentions of attending this talk please give me a heads up so I’ll at least know where the heckling is coming from and why.

TEASER

Grocio’s past week and a half has been… interesting. I’ll stop short of saying it was difficult. It wasn’t. Not particularly. It was a challenge of patience and discipline to not spontaneously combust. But, it wasn’t difficult. Clear as mud? And, it was this past week and a half that hatched the idea for this particular talk. There are maybe half a dozen people in the know of what the key peeps around Grocio had to go through last week. Who said ANYTHING about crime scene tape!? If you’re the least bit curious of a few of the highs and lows you’re in for as a startup… hot foot it to the OpenBeta2 web site and register to attend (7pm Thursday, March 12th, okcCoCo, 715 Hudson Ave, Oklahoma City).

I’ll be headed out of Tulsa shortly after 5 on Thursday. If you’d like a ride in the Startup Mobile I’ve lovingly named “Bootstrap” you’d do well to call “shotgun” quick. WARNING: I *do* drive fast (not kiding) and the Odwalla and RedBull will flow freely. Yes, I find bribing geeks to be very effective. If we don’t die a fiery death on the Turner Turnpike, we’ll be back to Tulsa around 1 am Friday morning.

Finally, I’m whoring hiring myself out quite a bit lately with speaking gigs, writing magazine articles and guest blogging. It’s something I find I like doing. If you need an irreverent (not to be confused with irrelevant) delivery to wake up your audience, call or text me at (918) 813-9745. You will advance straight to the head of the line if you’re offering a ride on a nuclear submarine, a tandem jump, a ride along with the Life Flight helicopter crew or a contract to publish my book “Rough Air Ahead”. You think I’m kidding!? No siree, I’m not. Those are top of my Bucket List and if I don’t bag them all by 1 am next Friday morning… I’m plain screwed.

Grocio.com Wins $30,000. Now What?

November 22, 2008

Think of it as a local TechCrunch50. The Tulsa Spirit Awards were very similar – 100 startups enter and a handful win cash awards. Everyone’s business is better for the process. (Yes, my startup Grocio.com won top prize. More on that below.)

The main differences? No big on-stage dog and pony and it was put on here in Tulsa by Tulsans. Yes, you heard that right – Tulsa, Oklahoma! See! You shouldn’t be flying over next time. Stop and stay a while! I’ve said it many times before to Dave Winer and Robert Scoble… Native Tulsans have a mutated risk-taking gene and it’s a nod back to the day when people settled the Indian Territories (I’m native american btw) and started exploring for oil and building toll bridges across the Arkansas river. We’ve been taking “life and limb” sized risks since day one of this city. We’re entrepreneurs genetically.

Spirit Bank and the Kauffman Foundation were kind enough to put up prize money + resources galor. Maurice Kanbar was nice enough to put up office space. The Tulsa Metro Chamber, TEDC and many others have offered terrific resources as well along the way.

Leaders from all disciplines within the Tulsa community rallied behind our mayor and Sean Griffin (for the second time now) to fortify our business plans and impart their lessons and wisdom. Their leadership and commitment through this process was extraordinary. I said it before the awards, I’ve said it since will say it now and maintain it all along the circuit –

If you’re a startup, there is no better place in America to startup than right here in Tulsa. The resources are tremendous. The cost of living is spot on. The economy is positive and we’re upbeat about the immediate future. Plus our commutes (or lack of) will probably cinch it for you. Don’t just put us on a checklist to evaluate. Come visit. There are lots of us who would happily be your guide and show you around. What other city will do that for you!?

Grocio.com next moves?

Lot’s of people have asked, “Have you spent all that money yet?” In my mind I’ve spent it a couple times over. But, no, I haven’t spent any of it. There are a few modest obligations that I’m very grateful to have been able to postpone until some funding arrived. IOU’s in other words. So, those are first order of business. Outside of that we’re into the next phase of the business plan – hardcore development. We’re now on the path to get from prototype to production. That will burn through a bit of the award money and we’ll find ourselves at the next round of funding in short order.

“$30,000 or $60,000?” We’ve won $30,000. We’re in the process of earning a match from i2E. In January/February I’m expecting to have good news to announce along these lines. I have no reason to believe we won’t be awarded the matching funds.

The inevitable question, “Did you quit your day job?” NO WAY! and am making no plans of doing so. My employer has been really understanding the past several months and naturally curious about all the recent press and what my intentions were/are. If you’ve ever had a side business you know there are boundaries to respect. Don’t ever lose sight of that. Trust me, I know it’s hard. But, there’s a lot at stake and frankly… you have to keep in mind who’s paying the bills. To do otherwise says a fair bit about your character and how you might run your outside venture. Enthusiasm is great. Don’t let it make you a sloppy business leader. P’s & Q’s…

“Are you talking to VC?” Only every opportunity I get. If you’re looking to invest in a cool new startup with a bunch of new found street cred… Call me (918) 813-9745

“When does Grocio.com open for business?” We’re open now for FREE pre-registration. There’s even a screencast that shows some of what it is we’re going to unveil and how it’s going to work. The comparison shopping side of the operation opens in February ’09. November ’08 was my target. But, because we were so tight in on the holiday shopping period with a lot of work to be accomplished and with a lot on the line… we’ll waive off and fire up the engines in February ’09. Still, registration is free and those are the people who will be notified first once we’re on final approach.

“What grocery stores will you have? What’s the geography?” We have three really large branded grocers on board now. There’s not a grocer in America we’ll turn away. Just yesterday a north California chain came calling. I’ve talked to one store operations up to the largest there is. Talk us up to your local grocer and chum the water for us. OK?

The media has been a great friend through all of this. So, to answer the “Are you willing to talk with us on the record?” ABSOLUTELY. No segment, article or blog is off limits. Go to Grocio.com and all my contact info is there.

[EDIT: Recieved a few DM’s at Twitter asking for the behind the scenes of the Spirit Awards. Someting to address – What goes on behind closed doors? There’s my next writing assignment. Stay tuned.]

Win a $200 VISA Gift Card

September 11, 2008

Here’s how easy this is:

  • Register with¬†Grocio.com (a new comparison shopping engine for groceries)
  • Sign up as many friends and family members as you can with the personal invitation code we send you as part of the confirmation of your registration.
  • Whoever has the most registrants under their belt by midnight 11/19/2008 wins.

Ready. Set. GO!

Pre-Registration Opens at Grocio.com

September 10, 2008

For those of you who haven’t heard, I launched a little startup today called “Grocio” (pronounced Grow-See-Oh). Registration is free!

We’re a comparison shopping engine for groceries. Starting with your zip code and shopping list, we’ll identify the least expensive local grocer. At the same time we MATCH coupons to the EXACT items you’re shopping for. So two things are happening here:

  • You’re saving a TON of money at the checkout counter by picking the right grocer.
  • You’re adding to the savings with coupons you didn’t spend an hour trying to find in the newspaper.

We’re in a local business plan competition (kind of like TechCrunch50) and could use all the registrants possible. If you like the concept, drop in and give us a vote of confidence by registering please.

Where’s Gerald?

March 20, 2008

RD pinged me and asked if everything was OK. Short answer is, “Yes.” Longer answer…

Lots of things going on. Michelle’s pregnancy is getting complicated with high blood pressure, her dad died Sunday and we buried him yesterday. Day J.O.B. has me Busy (with a capital B) and Grocio dominates my nights. Making great headway there.

So, everything’s fine. Just been occupied to the point of no blogging for a while.

I will say this, the iPhone SDK is pretty nifty. It has some shortcomings. I recall the Newton Developer Program being the same way in the earliest versions. All the faith in the world it’ll offer some great new possibilities quite soon.

Tulsa’s 2008 Battle of the Bands (MP3s)

February 24, 2008

The winner’s been announced. There were some really good up-and-coming Tulsa bands among the finalists. Clickthrough to enjoy some solid music from the newest crop on the Tulsa scene. And, if you happen to be rolling through Tulsa on a Grocio, Google or Vidoop interview… let me know you’re going to stick around for the night and we’ll catch a show.

I’ll throw my bias around a bit (just ’cause I can)… “Here is There” hails from Booker T. Washington high school, which is near and dear to me as a class of ’85 grad and, well, I’m on the BTW Foundation board too. So, despite all that… they’re still REALLY good. Juneaux‘s another BTW band… just not my cuppa.

I’m not even considering The Twenties or Black Sheep Drive. They’re both ready to be signed by someone and it’s not a fair fight. Like pitting Billy the Kid’s gang against Roy Rogers.

Here is There
Caught Between a Door and an Escalator
Counting the Stars Blindfolded
Sinbad (Seven Seconds to Climax)

The runaway best of the amatuer bands though… Big Sleep. A hauntingly professionally finished sound for a band so young.
Corey Feldman (best of the lot and love the song’s title)
Jellyfish

Keep Quiet (close second)

Have “Big Table” Expertise?

February 13, 2008

Would like to talk shop with someone with “Big Table” expertise. Call me at the number on the masthead above please?