And the AWSome Hackers' Video Diaries Begin!


So the video diaries of the AWSome Hackers begin... If you are wondering about the odd spelling of 'AWSome' please feel free to ask :). (Hint: it has something to do with the correct pronunciation of Amazon Web Services). So the plan is to keep anyone interested (so basically that just means our moms and dads) updated on our life here trying to make it big in Silicon Valley. We want to be as 'daily' as we can with our video updates and to really keep everyone in the loop. Of course we will be open about the goings-on of our startup and our ideas as we feel an open policy is how to best keep this vibrant startup community growing. Here is our first video that I embedded and here is a link to our Youtube Channel: AWSome Hackers. Sorry if we seem a little tired - we had a long day and it's getting close to our bed time. We'll try to make sure we're a little more energetic and engaging in our future videos! Also we have some blasts from the past we want to upload too including our trip down for the Y Combinator Interview and our trek as TechStars New York City finalists. Enjoy!

Ingredients for a successful entrepreneur: Girlfriends and Sports

I don't mean for this post to be a self-toting, I'm-so-awesome, indulgent piece (well maybe just a little) but I just wanted to bring to the table some unexpected view points that I had on what can make an entrepreneur successful - (and as made obvious by the title they are) Girlfriends and Sports. Girlfriends There are a couple common perceptions that may lead someone to believe that having a relationship (girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/whatever) might be of detriment: 1) They will tie you down to a place or lifestyle 2) They will distract you Now let me do my best to rebuttal: 1) They will only tie you down if they are crazy or don't really care about you. For those fortunate to have a real relationship of worth (I fortunately do), the girlfriend/bf/partner/whatever will never be a dream killer. They should and will understand your situation, and you will not be tied down. Again this is under the assumption your relationship is a truly functional relationship. 2) I have found that my relationship has been the opposite of distracting for me. While I see other guys spending nights and weekends chasing after tail, I can happily spend my time working on a project or catching up on homework. I actually have more time since I have a girlfriend and it makes me more efficient. Overall, the point is if the relationship is holding you back, it probably isn't a worthwhile one to keep, so lose the clinger dude. If your relationship is being detrimental your girlfriend is either unreasonable or too needy anyways... I have found that my girlfriend has been ever-supportive and a big reason to my productivity advantage over my peers. I can stay focused for a long time because I have less distractions with my girlfriend. Sports Though I can't really think of any people that would say sports would generally be a bad thing for entrepreneurs I would say it is an unusual characteristic to see in the nerdy hacky enginerd entrepreneur you would characterize as super successful. You know, the poindexter know-it-all that ends up being everyone's boss. I've found that sports actually help tremendously in shaping a successful entrepreneur because of the following: 1) Healthy is good. Along with the extensive research that I am too lazy to cite on this subject, sports keep you healthy and active which keep you happy and more energetic. Metabolism is boosted, which results in being more energetic and less lethargic. Also it is just an all-around stress reducer. I go to pole vault practice tired and pissed off at life and leave happy and thinking about how to vault higher... Also I'm sure every hard worker could lose a few, so yeah healthy is good. But most importantly I would say sports are good in shaping an entrepreneur because it develops 2) Good work ethic. Along with just making someone more competitive and thus work harder in high-pressure situations, sports have really made my work ethic what it is today. I believe well understood 'good' characteristics of being an entrepreneur include persistence, determination, and unwillingness to die, and sports help shape those in a person. I was fortunate to have had a hard-ass coach since 3rd grade playing football. He wouldn't let up on us even if we were barely making it through the last sprint. All the conditioning I've done - and similarly as all athletes do - has really taught me how to just stick it through. No holds barred, just give it my all. I've learned that when it hurts and you want to stop, sometimes you just have to suck it up, regain your strength, and keep going even harder. I will almost completely credit the development of the aforementioned entrepreneurial characteristics to my life in sports. I've learned to push through the pain and never give up. And that's that I guess. The two unusual ingredients I think can really help form a successful entrepreneur. Now I have had no real success yet so I can't speak towards the accuracy of this all. But if I do end up tasting sweet success, I will point back to this and hope someone, somewhere would have learned something.

Passing up an oppurtunity

Today I had to pass up on a very good opportunity. Just a couple days ago I met an MBA student who had started his own business and wanted se technical help. I loved the idea, loved his plans, really liked him as a person, and they already had pretty good traction. I wanted equity if I took the gig because I knew it was gonna be a winner, and sure enough he said yes. Unfortunately after thinking about it, I knew that with all these projects I love starting myself and with school still on my radar, I wouldn't be able to give said MBA student my 110% effort. I never want to do anything if I feel I can't do it all the way and to the best of my abilities. Though I would have LOVED to work on this project I knew it wouldn't be right to commit. So it was very hard for me, but I had to turn it down. I still hope to see this in 5 years hugely popular with a huge valuation. I know it's going to do well, so the best of luck you-know-who.

Spring Break! Time to have fun, right? Wrong, time for learning and working

Alright so I believe I have finished my final assignment/exam just now before Spring Break (woohoo!). I'm pretty excited. Not because I'm going to Spain or Brazil or somewhere awesome for break to have lots of college-y fun, but because it's time to become a better entrepreneur! I'm going to be spending my time doing a few things:
  1. Learning Ruby on Rails (a side project a friend presented me requires rails, and also its a great language that many companies are now using to get scale, fast).
  2. Throwing together Bottleable (basically a "message in the bottle" thing for the internet)
  3. Prototyping a new direction for Tasteplug.
  4. Spending lots of time loving my beautiful girlfriend (guys with girlfriends, never skimp on this)
Alright so lots to do in a short amount of time. I was hoping to re-adjust my sleep schedule (currently sleeping at 6-7AM, waking up at 10AM) to something more reasonable, but we will see if that will get done. It's worth it though. I'm fast paced and trying to get on track to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I want to do something now, and that takes work. So I'll do my work. Until I get something done.

Young Minds Get To Work on Green Growth

Now, granted, these young innovators aren't all from Cascadia (West of the mountains) but they deserve a little recognition.

1) Shahnoor Amin, engineering grad from U Michigan, dreamed of a portable solar-powered device that would provide lighting and electricity to households in developing countries.

2) Bob and Rich, of Yale, began which pays you ($$$) to recycle all your old electronics.

3) Eben Bayer and Gaving McIntyre, RPI grads, created extremely energy-efficient insulation materials called Greensulate from organic materials.

4) Eben and Gavin, again, created EcoCradle which is an environmentally-friendly packaging material made from agricultural by-products and when you're done with it you can decompose it quickly to use as mulch.

5) Students from MIT conceived GenShock which harvests wasted vehicle energy from the suspension system (increasing fuel efficiency by 2-10%).

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