Zejoop delivers Value!

The founder of both Blogger and Twitter, Ev Williams has some great insights to share about providing value on the internet, as captured in Ryan Tates’ blog post at Wired.com.

In a culture of startup enterprise where all too often ideas seem to be generated by “pick a word randomly from list A, and then list B, put them together and that’s your company,” seemingly clever (by chance) or even (silly, by design) concepts can sounds better than the more practical or even mundane sounding ventures. But does that proposal have a real value proposition – does it serve a real need, however mundane? Many times, not.

The essay I’ve referenced offers a more fundamental view; one that gives hope for the prospects for startups that target more every-days needs. The article is short a one, and I encourage you to read it for its merit, but I wanted to call attention to it for its relevance to the formulation of Zejoop as a value delivering brand. (Zejoop Wins SCV Startup Weekend!)

The most important quote is this:  “Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.” In my thinking this relates to Zejoop because, as a casual event planner, it does not scream “drop-dead-sexy” on casual observation. It does however address a human desire – to have fun with friends – and uses technology to fulfill its purpose. Although it seems mundane, it is useful and will provide value. Several distinguishing features will increase the likelihood that users will in fact be able to have fun with friends more easily and with fewer frustrations.

Zejoop solves real problems – problems that people encounter when they try to plan their activities using email. Real-time status, and auto-cancel if desired conditions are not met, are both features that deliver value.

Sounds good? Why not try it? Visit Zejoop and start planning now!

Zejoop solves real problems.

Use sunscreen and sunglasses to have fun in the Sun – use Zejoop.com to have fun with your friends!

A 4 year degree; are you sure?

Everyone has to choose for themselves, but it it not a decision that falls in the casual category in terms of importance or of likely outcomes. Should your life planning include a 4 year degree or not? For me the choice was easy – a college degree, in a substantial, challenging discipline was the way to go – a life event and accomplishment I wanted and needed, not only for who I saw myself as, but what I saw and wanted for my future. I have never regretted my choice to pursue, and to persevere, to earn a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Big things come in small pacakages, especially when it comes to SW Dev workstations

Many hours of learning and coding – building a future – happened here.

However, for the modern person, facing this juncture today there are options for education, and let’s face, for “life preparation” that are viable. Today any person, can learn any thing in this vastly interconnected world. No information is more than a Google search away. Furthermore availability and affordability of, MOOC, for Massive Open Online Courses, means a person can get access to world class curriculum from institutions like MIT and Stanford , just to name a few. Read the article, http://www.fastcompany.com/3015303/the-10000-technology-degree, for just one approach on how it can be done.

Why, you ask, is this relevant to Zejoop? Well because I personally have benefited from MOOC, specifically Udacity, in my quest for learning software development – skills that I have needed, to supplement my engineering capabilities, in order to build Zejoop. I have taken Python and Functional Programming using Python from Udacity, I have benefited immensely.

Next thing I might do, regarding online learning, is maybe I will learn to dance, just like this girl did. It’s all there, online – no kidding I think that video is great – what an inspiration.

Now, back to Zejoop software development – hey, wait – where’s my coffee?

Are Webhooks right for Zejoop?

As it stands, Zejoop notifies people by email for invitations and event updates. Of course, an important growth path is for notification by SMS text messaging. Ultimately though, “push notification” is the goal. Email is implemented, SMS text is within reach, but push notification is a bit of a mystery to me. I think that it can be done if Zejoop is packaged as a native app for Android or iOs. Right now, there are no plans to build Zejoop as a native app. How then to get this feature?

zejoop-dot-com makes me read techie books

Developing Zejoop has made me a consumer of techie books… hoo boy!

Turns out though I found this interesting post on the subject of “webhooks are magic!” I found this at www.iron.io, a company whose tagline is “IronMQ is the Message Queue for the Cloud” I have to check this out. Sounds promising; I’ll let you know what I find out.

Zejoop: from the “to do” list

As the daylight hours shorten it is time to think about what is next for Zejoop. It is not enough to declare that the application is in Beta test; must lean to the future and turn this thing into a business. There are many options for the startup – solicit family and friends, get angel seed funding, bootstrap forever, go straight to series A funding with venture capital, or incubate! The only one of these that has a deadline (that I know of) happens to be the incubate option. So, let the egg drop; hopefully there is some soft straw to soften the fall, and, luck prevailing there’ll be a heat lamp to help this thing hatch!

zejoop.com and the drive to incubation

On second thought maybe this should have been a bed of straw, an egg, and a heat lamp… oh well

I will be applying to other incubators, but this post is about starting this process by submitting to Y-combinator, which is arguably the top of the heap, volume, and success-ratio-wise. I found this great article on Venture Beat, how to write a winning application to Y-combinator. In the meantime, if you are in my network and you know any YC Alums, please let me know – Y-combinator promotes a culture of “pay-it-forward” so an introduction might be helpful. You know anyone?

Deadline for the Y-combinator application is October 21; I’ll keep you posted! UPDATE: I’ve met the deadline and submitted one week early – one of the more interesting question was “what non-computer system have you hacked to your advantage?” – I answered it this way –> King Rat Hat Hack

 

Zejoop Dives in! – Parties at Be Great Fest 2013!

I heard about Be Great Partners and their Fall 2013 Be Great Fest from a friend, and I made a last minute decision to join the party last Tuesday night, September 17th, 2013. Boy, am I glad I did – it was great! They chose a world-class venue in the Pacific Design Center. Throw in an open bar (countered with a $20 Uber, ride home safe credit – good move!), great DJ, and Wolfgang Puck catering and what’s not to like? To commemorate Zejoop’s attendance I took an artsy selfie in the lobby (nice turn of the phrase, eh?)

Zejoop has fun at Be Great Fest!

Zejoop.com and the Be Great Fest – an artsy selfie in the lobby!

The party also showcased many of the startups already in the Be Great Partners family – from “real convenience, true comfort” underwear (meundies.com) to aerial drones (skycatch.com) – there was a lot of fantastic energy, talent and accomplishment on display!

Last but not least, I’ll have to say the hosts themselves were great. I introduced myself to Lin Miao, Managing Partner, and we had a great five minute talk – not bad for a crowded, energy-filled room – conversation competing with the DJ. That got me an introduction to Startup Ambassador Emily Alfstad with whom I also had a great conversation.

With the great impressions and take-away I got from the event I’m wondering if Be Great Partners and Zejoop might be a good match. With Zejoop just entering BETA test, the time is right – gotta start thinkin’ bout these things!

First Full Round Trip!

Last Monday represented an exciting milestone for Zejoop; the first full round trip of a meeting that was planned and held using Zejoop while in Beta test. Here is the celebratory snapshot, taken with me (big-head) and Erick Arndt (big-smile and sunglasses) of SCV Startup fame:

Great things are happening in the Santa Clarita Valley startup scene. With the growth of our startup community and culture it is not a matter of if, but when, one of our budding startups hits it big! I’m putting my money on it being Zejoop, but, isn’t that, after all, the very definition of “bootstrapping?”