The Y Combinator Fellowship! – Zejoop Applies!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Zejoop has applied for a Y Combinator Fellowship – $12k grant, no surrender of equity, and 2 months of coaching, counseling and networking up north in the Bay Area!

Zejoop_LaRue_screenshot_2015-07-28-09-15-58

Screenshot showing that Zejoop’s application has been accepted for consideration

 

Clearly, that’s a great opportunity. We’ll see what happens…

The deadline was yesterday, but if you are interested, here is the Y Combinator Fellowship program description

As long as you are here, do you want to try Zejoop? Click the button…

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

PS… please share on social media using the widgets below – sharing helps! Thank you!

Well, This is a Little Embarrassing…

For this post I need an inline animation to convey “he said sheepishly,” but lacking that queue the “he says sheepishly” music in your head…

For all my Day One Adopters, due to an unexpected restart by Amazon Web Services (the Zejoop Cloud provider) in tandem with a ‘bad setting’ in the software, your accounts have to be recreated. That goes for any accounts created today, but never visible to me because of the timing of the restart.

I have fixed the things I needed to within the software. I also understand better some aspects of ‘database migration.’ That said, please recreate your accounts; everything will be OK – I’m sorry for the inconvenience… Michael

Please re-create your account – “my bad” – sorry!

Thank You Zejoop Day 1 Adopters!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Day One of the Zejoop Growth Campaign is over, and it was a great success in terms of expectations and goals. I want to thank all the early adopters who expressed an interet in Zejoop and created an account.

As an independent operator, so to speak, I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate your response to my call to action. Breaking though the noise of our modern life is challenging, so I sincerely thanks you all!

Occupying the Zejoop Booth at Grand Prix San Jose!

Zejoop Founder says thanks to all Day One early adopters!

Having created an account I invite and encourage you to start using Zejoop to plan your casual events with your friends. The Zejoop software is now poised to evolve in response to your feedback. Perhaps there is a planning template you can envision that would support activities most relevant to you. Please let me know if that is case. Chances are such a new template would be useful to others, and something that Zejoop can readily create for your use.

Again, thank you very much! As you start to use Zejoop, please direct feedback, bug reports and feature suggestions to the address available under the ‘contact’ tab above.

Michael LaRue, Founder & CEO, Zejoop (Patent Applied For)

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

PS… please help get the word out, and share on social media using the widgets below; every little bit helps! Thank you!

Ready, Set, Go – Let’s Use Zejoop!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Today marks the beginning of Phase I of a campaign to actively acquire new users for Zejoop. If you haven’t done so already would you take this opportunity to create an account and start using Zejoop. To get to this level of readiness feels like a great achievement, but all the same, Zejoop will only fulfill it purpose and mission in the hands of users; users who will not only benefit from the unique offering of its ‘criteria-based confirmation or cancellation’ feature, but who also themselves have the chance to actually shape the future on Zejoop in the form of feedback, bug reports and feature suggestions.

Are you an early adopter? Do you have an adventurous spirit? Might you be willing to help a friend realize his dream of building a successful business from scratch? This is a foray in the modern frontier of tech-based entrepreneurship – early adopters can take this trip alongside a developer like myself – does this prospect interest you? If so please setup an account, and start planning by clicking one of the orange buttons! Start now, and enjoy the benefits of a simpler and hassle-free way of planning your fun – your Fun with Friends, facilitated by Zejoop!

Thank you very much! Please direct feedback, bug reports and feature suggestions to the address available under the ‘contact’ tab above.

Michael LaRue, Founder & CEO, Zejoop (Patent Applied For)

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

PS… please help get the word out, and share on social media using the widgets below; every little bit helps! Thank you!

Zejoop Rocked Grand Prix San Jose – a WHOLE trip RECAP!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Zejoop traveled, first to Grand Prix San Jose, and then to Las Vegas, and what a trip it was! It’s taken a while to post this recap, because that’s how fun and productive it was, and also an indicator of how busy I’ve been, both during, and since.

The trip itself was broken into three legs:

  1. the Grand Prix itself, from Friday to late Sunday (for the purpose of market research, promoting Zejoop, and meeting/interacting with Magic players insofar as they are a potential target audience for the Zejoop service)

    Talkin' about solving problems related to organizing gaming sessions for Magic players!

    Zejoop had lots of opportunity to meet with Magic players, and make new friends!

  2. …a stay with a longtime friend, Tom, at his house in San Jose proper (a chance to visit with a friend and his family, and to possibly network in the Silicon Valley tech startup community, because, after all, that’s what Zejoop is, a tech startup! Yay!)
  3.  …and finally a side-trip to Las Vegas, primarily to see Jack White live at the Brooklyn Bowl
this image courtesy of his website, and I'm using it here because they made it available, having discouraged from using phones and/or cameras to "as filters to interfere with our enjoyment of the live music" - that's what they said!

Zejoop.com had a blast at Jack White, LIVE at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas!

As for a post-game analysis of the trip, here are some COMMENTS and TAKEAWAYS, broken down by ‘leg’ as described above:

  • …regarding the event itself, I will call it a rousing success! My thanks to Channel Fireball and Cascade Games LLC for being outstanding hosts to me. All my objectives, and more, were met. I got to talk to a lot of players and hear them describe the problems they have, if any, in organizing gaming sessions among their friends. I made meaningful contact with many people who shared their thoughts and impressions. Was able to give out a lot of business cards to enable future conversation if that’s in the cards (ha ha – do you see what I did there?). Most importantly I met a number of people who gave directly relevant feedback as to their potential use of Zejoop, and offered their email addresses for future contact along those lines. Throughout the two days, I got a number of great suggestions for additional features; some of these were really great – almost good enough, to justify the expense of the trip on the merit of these ideas. PS… that’s what trips like this are for; to glean just such type of feedback! SUCCESS! Finally, among the many people I met, a small subset were actually fully engaged participants in the startup scene in Silicon Valley who were willing to stay in touch. Their sentiment in seems was in the form of a like-mindedness, able to relate to what Zejoop was up to. Making contacts like this, again, was almost worth the price of admission alone. The life of a startup entrepreneur, and certainly as a single-founder entity, can be solitary at times and anything that can serve to expand the network, especially with coverage into Silicon Valley can be particularly valuable.
  • My visit with Tom, what can I saw. Being true and current friends with someone you met in the third is a precious life gift, and we had a great time. Got to watch the second half of the Super Bowl with him. I will say he has a odd way with the DVR, and the prevailing concept that “for this show alone, that the commercials are intended to be PART and PARCEL of the show” seemed moot to him – we FF’d through them, but that is OK. Also as a consequence. at some point we heard in the neighborhood, the inevitable sounds of a victory celebration on front porches. The outcome was already known to most, yet somehow, our revelation as to the winner was to be probably at least 20 minutes in the future. I had another objective before leaving town – I wanted to find one or more meetups to go to in or around Silicon Valley. I will give myself a score of ‘D minus’ on that one; even though I did find one great happy-hour/mixer to attend, I misread the invitation, and I got there a full 24 hours early. Too bad – that was my one shot, and I was to leave Tuesday afternoon – the hobnobbing would have to be postponed until my next trip northwards. Oh well; my bad.
  • …FINALLY – Jack White in Las Vegas! Wow! What a show – he is quite a musician, and an outstanding showman to boot. The Brooklyn Bowl was a great venue, and I got a great meal there beforehand – blackened catfish, mashed potatoes and and a vegetable plate. Below the food, is a selfie of me with some nice people I met, who were cool and shared their table with me.IMG_20150204_203616_880IMG_20150204_203659_349

 

Well, there you have it; a slightly long-winded summary of a very eventful trip. A trip that included business, old friends, new friends, great food, and great music – thanks for the great music Jack!

Much work lies ahead for Zejoop; there are no guarantees – the business of staring a startup is rarely better than a long-shot at best – but, at the heart of the matter, it sure beats moving data around in an Excel Spreadsheet, or copy-pasting within Word as a thin excuse for what passes as “work” in modern defense contracting. There’s never been a better time for me to be at the helm of my own ship – a ship I’ve built, and one I’m ready to sail as far as she’ll take me!

Because I appreciate your time as an audience, reading this, I will end with a paraphrase of Jack White’s own show-ending salutation (inserting my own name, as you’ll see, where appropriate):

“…thank you, you’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Michael LaRue”

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose – T minus 2 days

Check it out! How cool is this? Zejoop is on the MAP! Here is a snippet of the Grand Prix San Jose venue floor-plan for the event:

Zejoop on the GP San Jose Floorplan 2015-01-28 12:16:11Props to Jon of ChannelFireball! From what I can tell this location is the perfect spot Zejoop; I’m very happy. I mean, seriously – this is basically right on the 50 yard line (prime seating for football, amIright?). Also between the main stage and the concession stand. Should be perfect. I don’t know exactly what the ‘mystery box, 20×20 ft² area’ is, but hey – mysterious green boxes can be cool, right?

This snippet is only about one fifth of the entire map, and clearly Zejoop is the smallest booth of all vendors – a solitary 8 foot table. Surrounded by giants as it were, with many other vendors taking up 6 to 8 of those same 8 foot tables. Gotta start somewhere!

It’s going to be a great event; see you there!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose – T minus 7 days

It must be said that today is a monumental day for Zejoop – one week away from Grand Prix San Jose, and I’ve posted essentially complete, fully functioning prototype of the Zejoop software. In a quirky turn of numerario-logical fate the version just posted is ‘zejoop.200’ – I couldn’t have planned it better had a tried!

(teaser – at the end of this post I’m going to ask a favor of you; are you up to it?)

Minor things do remain though. In my last post I ambitiously asserted that the SSL problem would have been solved by now. Still waiting on that – I have the certificate and keys ready to go. Unfortunately, I’ve had a setback with the complexity of installing

Zejoop is Becoming a Brand

Zejoop is on its way to “Becoming a Brand!”

Amazons command line interface, which is required for me to interact with my deployed instance and upload/install the certificate. Looks like I’ll be calling Amazon tech support tonight. Also, I plan to plant some Google analytics magic beans into the mix: does that make sense to you? No, sorry – I am kind of going all ‘stream-of-conscience’ on you – sorry.

Tomorrow will be kind of busy too. Print shop, Staples… if I’m lucky I’ll afford myself a break to swim. Maybe I’ll have some coffee? Sure why not – coffee.

I suppose that’s enough of an update for now. I will reiterate though – very exciting times for Zejoop!

Oh, that favor I mentioned… one last thing; would you please? From your Facebook account, search for the Zejoop page, as categorized under ‘software,’ and ‘LIKE’ the page? That’d be cool! Thanks!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose! – T minus 13 days

Zejoop is excited to be going to Grand Prix San Jose! The chance to interact with as many as 2,500 gamers, and to introduce a product like Zejoop to help solve the problems encountered in planning gaming sessions is AWESOME!

It is especially exciting because most recently several technical and re-hosting “opportunities” emerged and required immediate attention and resolution. I am happy to report those items have been successfully dealt with. Specifically, and firstly, this blog itself needed to be re-hosted; thanks to BlueHost and their excellent tech support, this Zejoop blog is up and running again, now better than ever! Secondly, the company providing Zejoop’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud hosting discontinued its service. This drove me to seek a different solution on short notice and forced me to become much more of an IT/admin type of guy than I ever thought possible. After some research it turns out the Elastic Beanstalk service as offered by Amazon Web Services was the perfect solution! Although more powerful, and while still presenting a “PaaS-y” approach, its power also requires more low level control. Hence, yet another hat to wear – that of the IT/admin guy. Regardless, the transition is complete, and between the BlueHost/Amazon complement of services, Zejoop is well supported for growth!

The future is bright, and it all starts at Grand Prix San Jose!

Come visit the booth at the event, and learn what Zejoop has to offer to help you get together with your friends, have fun, and game!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose!

PLAN YOUR GAME

Want to plan a draft with your friends? How about a game of Commander? Take the hassle out of coordinating with you friends for gaming… that’s what Zejoop is for!

Visit the Zejoop booth at Grand Prix San Jose – See what it’s all about!

Explore Zejoop! Have Fun with your Friends!

www.Zejoop.com

New to Zejoop, in December?

                   

Welcome one, and welcome all, especially if you are new to Zejoop. Zejoop is a tech startup currently under development, self-funded and bootstrapped by the undersigned, the self-appointed chief cook, bottle-wash, and oh, also founder, systems engineer and software developer.

Here the Zejoop logo on a hoodie! Cool, huh?

This is what the Zejoop logo looks like on a hoodie – fancy stuff, right?

If this is your first visit, perhaps you’ve met me and I’ve given you my Zejoop business card, a little explanation is in order.

Due to influences beyond my control, December has been a month of transition.

First, the Zejoop domain, and its corresponding blog lost their server space where they had been hosted by a friend (much appreciated Joshua, thanks!). The growth of his business required him to change his security approach and hence, a blog such as Zejoop’s, maintained by me, an independent agent, external to his business, was no longer acceptable. As of today though, the domain has been transferred and the blog has been successfully re-instantiated on BlueHost.com, an excellent provider, and also current host to my personal blog, www.whitewingcrow.com.

Second, and again, due a shift in the business model for Zejoop’s current PaaS provider, Cloudbees.com, I’ve had to find a new home for the application itself. Oh joy. Quite frankly I’ve had my hands full coming up to speed just executing the nominal software development and impromptu immersion into the admin/IT/infrastructure aspect of building a startup was not in the original plan. So, anyway, that happened and here I am. Current status is that I have ported a version of Zejoop, the application to new home of Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk. Amazon is an excelent provider, but for an IT/admin newbie like myself it IaaS paradigm requires more touch labor than my former PaaS provider.  Bonus points for Amazon though, because under my circumstances I qualify for one year of “free tier” service…. got that? Free! That’s rare, but I’ll take it! Yay Amazon! Celebration notwithstanding, if you’d like to visit the current Zejoop implementation, please visit http://project724.mjlarue720.cloudbees.net/

There is a little work to go before I can claim that the new Zejoop is fully up and running after this transition, but the goal is to be able to make that claim before year’s end. That way Zejoop can leap into its exciting future starting fresh on January 1st, 2015! I’ll keep you posted. Note that, until then, the functional Zejoop will be offline until further notice.

In the mean time, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! If you have comments or questions, or if you just want offer encouragement and your own good wishes, please contact me at –> michael at zejoop dot com

Be well, and prepare to watch Zejoop have an exciting year of growth and opportunities starting in January!

Michael Jay LaRue