Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TechCafe Merges with Seattle Angel

Josh Maher is working to merge TechCafe with Seattle Angel to help focus his efforts more directly on the capital component of the equation.

One of the things he will be doing as a part of that is transitioning his monthly newsletter to focus specifically on angel investing and raising capital in the Seattle area. He’d like to highlight other people and organizations working on the capital part of the equation.

The end goal is to raise the level of participation in all angel activities through conversations and awareness.

Friday, November 14, 2014

WA Part of Gobal Entrepreneurship Week

Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed Nov. 17-23, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Washington. This third annual celebration of entrepreneurship and startups will feature more than 100 local education and networking events in all 39 counties – surpassing the reach of any other state program. More events take place year-round in Washington.

Thousands of budding entrepreneurs are expected to attend GEW 2014 events, according to coordinators at the Washington State Department of Commerce. Activities cover a wide range of topics, from how to create a business plan to finding funding.

“Small businesses are an important engine of our state and the national economy, accounting for over half of our private sector labor force,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “Our Startup Washington initiatives and programs such as our State Small Business Credit Initiative and State Trade and Export Promotion grants are about fostering an environment for new business opportunities and entrepreneurs to thrive."

Cultivating “home grown” economic development by supporting localized strengths and entrepreneurship is a key priority of Gov. Inslee’s jobs strategy for rural, underserved communities as well as urban centers. GEW is one opportunity to emphasize Washington state’s year-round, ongoing efforts to drive new business growth from within, Bonlender added.

“As part of our Startup 365 Washington strategy, Global Entrepreneurship Week is intended to re-energize communities large and small in the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Maury Forman, senior manager for rural and small business priorities at Commerce. “Technology allows people to live and work where they want to these days and it is our goal to give entrepreneurs and small business people the tools, resources, education and training they need to be successful. Startup 365 is not just about starting a business; it’s about successful adulthood.”

One of the unique aspects of Washington’s GEW celebration is its focus on youth.

“The Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, JK Rowling and Cher Wang of tomorrow are in Washington schools right now,” Forman said. “They are at an age when the thought of going into business isn’t foreign to them, but may even be second nature. This early exposure to starting and running a business allows students to stay in the town they grew up in after graduation, creating businesses, products and services that will keep intellectual capital and economic wealth in local communities.”

At least 130 countries take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week, hosting more than 19,000 individual events worldwide.

“I’m proud that our team at Commerce leads the way among our competitor states by working extremely hard to grow a larger, more valuable network of resources and events for entrepreneurs each year,” Bonlender said.

To learn more about GEW and see a complete list of events as well as the governor’s proclamation, visit

Microsoft Comes to Visit the Institute of Technology Again

Last year I met Jeremy Foster from Microsoft and asked him if he could come down to the Institute of Technology and do a presentation on mobile application development on the Windows mobile phone platform.  We decided on a "brown bag".  Brown bags are one hour presentations given during lunch for whoever is interested in sitting in.

We didn't know what to expect but it went very well.  Forty five students attended, and all of them had intelligent questions and enthusiastic discussion between attendees and presenters.  So much so that Jeremy and I agreed to bring him back for a longer period of hands on work with mobile development which ended up being the "Build a Mobile App in a Day" event that was attended by about 200 students and members of the community.

Now we have the third visit and this time we are covering multiple platforms for development including Azure, mobile apps, web development and more.

I just kept it to student invites with a couple special outsiders brought in, and the attendance is easily over 120 for the day.  Once again, great technology discussion, development and execution being demonstrated on campus.

The presentation slides can be found at

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tacoma Law Firm Facilitates Payments by Bitcoin

MerchantCoin announced recently a partnership with Dickson Law Group who will begin accepting payment for bitcoin in exchange for its legal services.

“Our decision to use the MerchantCoin ecosystem to accept bitcoin for legal services supports our ongoing commitment to our customers – we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to work with us by accepting as many forms of payment as possible,” said Rob Dickson, Partner at Dickson Law Group. “Secondly, we want to support the tech savvy nature of the Puget Sound business community by participating in cutting edge innovation.”

As a Registered Merchant, Dickson Law gains access to MerchantCoin’s Marketplace, launching September 30, 2014. This Marketplace provides an end-to-end solution facilitating digital commerce for both consumers and merchants. The Marketplace is an open-source ecommerce ecosystem that includes a web portal, website, storefront, content management system, shopping cart, payment gateway/point of sale solution, wallet and exchange platform, providing a one-stop-shop for both consumers and merchants interested in exchanging digital currency for goods and services.

“We welcome Dickson Law Group to our group of Registered Merchants,” said Kirk St. Johns, MerchantCoin Co-Founder. “Dickson Law will now enjoy greater visibility to consumers and businesses interested in paying for services with digital currencies. Consumers simply need to go to the MerchantCoin Marketplace and select “professional services.”

They will then see Dickson Law highlighted as a MerchantCoin vendor and can use a MerchantCoin wallet to transact with the law firm.”