Tuesday, March 22, 2011

EntConnect 2011 Entrepreneurial Connections Conference in Colorado just a couple of days away

The annual Entrepreneurial Connections (EntConnect) conference is just a couple of days away, from Thursday, March 24, 2011 through Sunday, March 27, 2011. Traditionally the conference consists primarily of a reunion of former readers of Midnight Engineering magazine and a few newbies who have gotten suckered into trying it out, but each year we try to figure out new ways to attract fresh blood from both ends and the middle of the age and experience and interests spectrums. The "official" conference kicks off with dinner on Friday evening, but there are also a day or two of optional activities before the official start.
 
Just to give you a rough idea of what the conference is like:
  • Formal sessions -- speakers share ideas and spark discussion
  • Informal/open sessions -- a chance for you to network with new friends and share ideas in small groups
  • After hours events -- both informative and fun; some held at the hotel bar and some in the meeting room
  • Relaxing encounters -- structured, optional events that provide fun and chill time
Here's a quick summary of the tentative conference schedule:
  • Wednesday March 23rd:
    • 6:00 PM Beer and good company at the hotel bar.  John Gaudio will buy the first round.
  • Thursday March 24th:
    • 7:15 AM Optional ski outing
    • 7:30 PM Apr├Ęs-ski
  • Friday March 25th:
    • Optional activities
    • 7:00 p.m. dinner at The Yard House, just two blocks from our hotel. (Cost will be around $25-$35 per person.)
  • Saturday March 26th:
    • Conference presentations and mini trade show from 9am - 6pm
    • 6pm-8:00pm: Form up into like-minded groups and head out to dinner at a nearby restaurant
    • Conference presentation 8:00pm - 9:30pm
    • Saturday 9:30pm-?: Texas Hold 'em poker tournament -- back by popular demand! Assorted beers and great conversations until the last of us head off to bed.
  • Sunday March 27th:
    • Conference 9am - 2pm
    • Optional: Late, informal lunch 2pm-4pm
Check out the official conference Web page for an idea of what the conference was like last year. Once again the conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver, which is actually in downtown Denver, with rooms available at the EntConnect 2011 rate of $89. We hope to have a notable keynote speaker, but as usual the primary focus will be sessions led by your fellow entrepreneurs.
 
Here is my traditional 30-second elevator pitch blurb for the converence:
Whether you are an entrepreneur or thinking about starting your own business or simply need a good excuse to go skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Entrepreneurial Connections conference (EntConnect) may be just the conference you have been waiting for. Targeted primarily at engineers (hardware, software, and other) and others with a strong technical interest, it is more of a loosely-structured "unconference", with plenty of opportunities for a relatively small group of participants (15 to 40) to network or even give their own presentations on a very wide range of topics from technology, business strategy, intellectual property and legal issues, accounting issues, finance, marketing, sales, and even selling your business. With plenty of time to ski or otherwise enjoy the mountains and Denver area (great time to visit Boulder or Colorado Springs as well), the conference is a great opportunity to "learn and share" and otherwise have an "out of box" experience. Participants and speakers range over the full spectrum from wannabes and newcomers to successful young entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans. The conference is an excellent opportunity to meet up with former readers (and possibly even the publisher) of Midnight Engineering magazine as well. The conference runs from Thursday, March 24, 2011 through Sunday, March 27, 2011.
 
I have been attending the conference since it first started in 1992 as ME SKI '92 and then evolved into ENTCON and then Entrepreneurial Connections or EntConnect. Yikes!!! That means that this is the 20th year of the conference.
 
I will be attending another conference in New York on Friday morning, so I won't get into Denver until sometime in the evening. If my flight and bus are on time and I don't miss my flight rushing from my morning conference I should get to downtown Denver between 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM, just in time for the usual Friday evening group dinner at The Yard in downtown Denver, two blocks from the conference hotel.
 
For a little nostalgia, check out the original ME SKI '92 conference announcement.
 
Oh, and please feel free to join the Midnight Engineers Yahoo discussion forum.
 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

EntConnect 2011 Entrepreneurial Connections Conference in Colorado is next week

The annual Entrepreneurial Connections (EntConnect) conference is now less than a week away, from Thursday, March 24, 2011 through Sunday, March 27, 2011. Traditionally the conference consists primarily of a reunion of former readers of Midnight Engineering magazine and a few newbies who have gotten suckered into trying it out, but each year we try to figure out new ways to attract fresh blood from both ends and the middle of the age and experience and interests spectrums.
 
Check out the official conference Web page for an idea of what the conference was like last year. Once again the conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver, which is actually in downtown Denver, with rooms available at the EntConnect 2011 rate of $89. We hope to have a notable keynote speaker, but as usual the primary focus will be sessions led by your fellow entrepreneurs.
 
Here is my traditional 30-second elevator pitch blurb for the converence:
Whether you are an entrepreneur or thinking about starting your own business or simply need a good excuse to go skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Entrepreneurial Connections conference (EntConnect) may be just the conference you have been waiting for. Targeted primarily at engineers (hardware, software, and other) and others with a strong technical interest, it is more of a loosely-structured "unconference", with plenty of opportunities for a relatively small group of participants (15 to 40) to network or even give their own presentations on a very wide range of topics from technology, business strategy, intellectual property and legal issues, accounting issues, finance, marketing, sales, and even selling your business. With plenty of time to ski or otherwise enjoy the mountains and Denver area (great time to visit Boulder or Colorado Springs as well), the conference is a great opportunity to "learn and share" and otherwise have an "out of box" experience. Participants and speakers range over the full spectrum from wannabes and newcomers to successful young entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans. The conference is an excellent opportunity to meet up with former readers (and possibly even the publisher) of Midnight Engineering magazine as well. The conference runs from Thursday, March 24, 2011 through Sunday, March 27, 2011.
 
I have been attending the conference since it first started in 1992 as ME SKI '92 and then evolved into ENTCON and then Entrepreneurial Connections or EntConnect. Yikes!!! That means that this is the 20th year of the conference.
 
I will be attending another conference in New York on Friday morning, so I won't get into Denver until sometime in the evening. If my flight and bus are on time and I don't miss my flight rushing from my morning conference I should get to downtown Denver between 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM, just in time for the usual Friday evening group dinner. I'm not sure about this year yet, but last year the dinner was at Magianno's Little Italy, just a block from the conference hotel.
 
For a little nostalgia, check out the original ME SKI '92 conference announcement.
 
Oh, and please feel free to join the Midnight Engineers Yahoo discussion forum.
 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Great advice from the pioneer of broadband DSL

Read the Forbes blog post entitled "Engineers: Ignore Critics, Follow Your Dreams, Change The World" by John Cioffi, the entrepreneurial engineer who pioneered broadband DSL. He says:
Entrepreneurial success requires passion, patience and thick skin. Entrepreneurs who also happen to be an engineers need a triple dose of all of those qualities, because no matter what the venture, real entrepreneurs often face long odds and loud critics.
He goes on to say:
As a 23-year-old engineer at Bell Laboratories in 1979, I came to believe that high-speed, high-volume transmissions were feasible via copper telephone lines. A lot of people thought I was star-struck with the projection of arcane theories that could not be practically realized. The prevailing contrary belief was that phone lines could never carry video. The prevailing conventional wisdom was that the whole network would have to be replaced with optical fiber to enable video transmission. Nonetheless, I could not see any reason why high-bandwidth video and other data signals could not be carried on the existing copper, and became fascinated with how to do it.
 
My efforts were often ridiculed and criticized, but since no one provided me a technically sound reason to the contrary, I continued. A big motivation beyond the technical challenge was that the economics of wide-scale replacement of copper with fiber was staggering, thus suggesting that this very interesting technical problem would also have large economic value. In the end, copper-based DSL technology did become a reality. The pioneering work we began twenty years ago at a company I founded, Amati Communications, now accounts for approximately 98 percent of the nearly 400 million DSL connections in the world today.
So much for conventional wisdom.
 
An interesting story.