Helping Find the Money To Make It

I read the Phoenix Business Journal every week as part of keeping up with business here in Metro Phoenix. I was floored when I read “Finding the money to make it“.  What was incredible to me were the connections back to Gangplank. Eleanor’s Garden is friends with StealthMode Partners who referred Eleanor’s Garden to Integrum.  Integrum brought Eleanor’s first e-commerce site online. Funding Universe did their last Crowd Pitch at Gangplank last month and is getting ready to do another Crowd Pitch at Gangplank this Friday. Funding Universe will be opening an office at Gangplank this month. It is absolutely awesome to see the community rising up in midst of a horrid economy to continue to see success! Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Chandler!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Last week at the Arizona Enterpreneurship Conference (AZEC), a panel from AZ TiE titled “Who Got Funded and Why?” talked for nearly an hour about the dynamics of starting up.  Steve Swedler, Chief Product Guy at Gangplank asked finally stood up and asked,  “Who Got Funded and Why?”.  The moderator  turned the question over to a panelist who gave a jumbled answer that barely addressed why, but completely dodged the who?

Out of frustration I made a pretty knee jerk tweet and called this the same old bullshit investors in Phoenix hide behind.  As most of the groups haven’t funded anything in 12 months.  Later, Anil Jain one of the panelists let me know that they were not aware that was the topic and that was why they never covered it.  Fair enough.  It still would have been nice to hear which members of TiE had been funded or what the investors involved with TiE were funding.

At Gangplank in the last 18 months we invested in Authority Labs, Simple Seating and Date Designer. Additionally, many of us have put significant resources into 5th DimensionIntegrum has invested significantly for minor equity positions in various local start ups, trading equity for serivces. Additionally, we have launched two products that have been released to others in the community (Glen Garry and Back Tracker).

We currently have budgeted just over a $1 million to invest in the community over the next 5 years.  We have been working hard with others to make a home for Funding Universe and Sun Mountain Capital as well.  Between the two of them they could represent over $300 million in additional funding for the metro area. More information on this soon.

So you can see why it is frustrating to hear Angel “groups” time and time again ride their high horse about why we (the lowly entrepreneur) should respect them.  When in reality the community is finding ways to fund itself.  Which in many ways is how it should be.  We believe in the community and we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.  We hope that these other groups will as well.  We wish we could be doing more.  Providing capital to entrepreneurs is exactly what this economy needs to rebound.

Note:  The are companies receiving angel funding from individuals and there are some angel groups like ATIF that appear to be doing certain types of deals.

I Love Legacy Code Too.. Confessions of a Ruby on Rails Developer

DHH. I hate you. Wait I love you. Er I love to hate you? I don’t know which one it is. I guess it depends on the day or the topic. Lately I find our common ground growing. The other morning I was catching up on old podcasts (yes I’m horribly behind). I ran into David Heinemeier Hansson’s Legacy Code talk from Rails Conf Europe 2008. It was excellent. So much so, I’m recommending you take the time to listen to it. If you are a programmer (Ruby or otherwise), take the hour and listen to this. It will give you new perspective.  My favorite line “Legacy is just you over time”..

TextMate Tip #1 (Hashes)

I get disappointed when people don’t make an effort to learn their tool set.  I am guilty of this as I used to be a hard core emacs user, but when I moved from GNU\Linux to Mac OSX, I migrated to Textmate and stopped programming full time.  I never took the time to learn the new editor.  Having paired a lot lately with our interns I feel I am doing them a dis-service by not giving them a full arsenal of tricks in their primary weapon “the editor”.  Mountain West Ruby Conference inspired me to do something about it, well actually the RV Trip there and back.

So, I am going to try and do a Textmate Tip/Trick of the week (or maybe day).  Many of these items will be new to me as well, so if I mess it up or miss something cool, please let me know.  If you find them valuable also let me know.  Here is the first installation.

Text Mate Tip of the Day (Hashes) Episode 1 from Derek Neighbors on Vimeo.

Attempting to Achieve the Ideal Agile Workspace

This morning several ruby on rails consultants from Integrum were in the office getting things done.  Being the old man after a night of partying and watching the epic Watchmen I didn’t drag in until about 10:30am.  I started to check in on my news reader and stumbled across Mike Cohn‘s blog post on The Ideal Agile Workspace.  I looked up and around as I was reading it and thought. WOW! We can check nearly everyone of these items off.  Additionally, I thought Mike left out an item or two.  I started to respond in his comments and then remembered that it would be better to capture our workspace on video to share with others.  I am hoping other agile shops will do the same.  We are always eager to see how others are doing things so we can continue to improve.  So here is a view into our world on a Saturday Morning.

Integrum Agile Workspace from Integrum Technologies on Vimeo.

Pairing Programming In Loud Environments

At our Ruby on Rails development shop, Integrum we engage in an XP practice called pair programming.  Over the last six months we have seen more interest from the community on some of our agile practices.  At recent Gangplank Hacknight several of our programmers were engaging in pair programming while the equivalent of tornado was going through the building.  The hacknight had a full on demonstration of grinding your own espresso beans and nearly a 100 people in the room.  As you can hear the enivorment was insanely loud.  However, as you can see the pairs seem to be able to totally isolate themselves from their surrounding and have meaningful and active conversation to solve problems.  While I don’t advocate loud environments, I think this is a testament to the power of engage and focused pairs.

Hack Night Pairing from Integrum Technologies on Vimeo.