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    Meg – My Uber Talented Lil’ Sister

    Megan just sent me this video of her playing John Denver’s “Around and Around”.  If you know much about me or my musical influences, you’ll recognize John Denver as one of my earliest folk singer favorite (thanks to summer camp).  Most of his songs make me nostalgic.

    This is played in the style of Sun Kil Moon (and Redhouse Painters) lead singer, Mark Kozalek – who is one Meg’s main influences.  Check out her YouTube channel for more songs and videos.

    Meg Clark singing Around & Around by John Denver

    Lyrics (by request):

    Time as I’ve known it
    Doesn’t take much time to pass by me
    Minutes into days turn into
    months turn into years
    They hurry by me

    Still I love to see the sun go down
    And the world go around

    Dreams full of promises
    Hopes for the future
    I’ve had many


    I can’t remember now
    Hopes that I’ve forgotten
    Faded memories

    Still I love to see the sun go down
    And the world go around

    And I love to see the morning
    As it steals across the sky
    I love to remember

    And I love to wonder why
    And I hope that I’m around
    So I can be there when I die
    When I’m gone

    I hope that you will think of me
    In moments when you’re happy
    And you’re smiling

    And that the thought will comfort you
    On cold and cloudy days
    If you are crying

    And that you’ll love to
    see the sun go down
    And the world go around
    And around and around

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    I came across this post by Randy Zuckerberg (via Valleywag) on her (or “our” since she’s speaking for The Daily Beast) dislike of lip-dubs.  How perfect for follow up to my post on lipdubs in mainstream media.  She says:

    In case there was any doubt that the chief purpose of the internet is to perpetuate narcissism, lip dub videos put that to rest.

    Hmm, really?  I’m not so sure we’re all narcissists on the web – but I guess people write about what they know.  Truth: the first time someone sent me a Julia Allison lip dub it was with a note that said, “Wouldn’t this be fun to do some weekend?”.  I watched the vid, and thought, this goofy, photogenic chick looks like she’s having a lot of fun.  (I’ve added it here, because you’re probably too cool to go search for it *wink wink*):

    Lip Dub! Disney’s Little Mermaid from Julia Allison on Vimeo.

    Other than the echo-chamber of internet celebs and their requisite snarky haters, few people give a damn about all the context/scandal/fifty-thousand blog posts/page rank yadda yadda yadda – they’re just looking for a fun and entertaining three minutes and thirty seconds.  At least that’s what I’m interested in.

    Aside from Zuckerberg’s self-condemnation (as Valleywag points out she’s been in lip dubs as well) and bashing of coworkers and friends (ah, harkens of Paris Hilton – burn those bridges!), she’s got the chief purpose of the internet all wrong.  All this media – our pictures, video, tweets, comments, status updates, posted items on Facebook and elsewhere are tied much more deeply to the chief purpose of the internet than mere narcissism.  The internet is about scalable information sharing, and all the little pieces of information we put out there about ourselves paints a picture of who we are that we share with our networks of friends and family.

    Who Are the Content Creators?

    I don’t know many people who are that into creating content on the internet for its own sake.  Sure, there are media personalities making videos to further promote themselves and there are Twitter-addicts who are sharing every mundane (to me, anyway) detail of their lives with the whole world.  Even these people are telling stories.  I think there is a very core human need to tell stories, and I certainly feel a strong desire to be known by the world through the day-to-day things I do. The reason for this is that I want to offer some continuity. I want the little details to be captured, because they matter to me. It seems like there’s something beautiful, strange, or otherwise remarkable that I want to remember and share at least once a day.

    What Happens When I Die?

    What happens?  When I die in 90 years (fingers crossed!) all the content I’ve contributed will be out there in the world.  If people want to remember me, they can.  It seems like there might be a business in collecting all that up into a lasting memory place… but death doesn’t sell well… and I digress.

    Beware Revisionist History

    People are storytellers.  Like all stories, the teller can try to shape the truth into a form that is closer to the image we WISH was true.  As someone put to me succinctly, “life gets messy”, and often we can make it look neat and tidy with the right editing, the right context.  There are valid reasons for romanticizing a story appropriately – such as sharing pictures on Facebook like “first week with baby” pictures that don’t show the exhausted parents or “Sarah’s bachelorette party” that doesn’t include the photos of her sh*tfaced friends flashing the camera in the limmo.  Then there is outright faking a life you don’t even lead – thinking LonelyGirl15 here – for the sake of attention, without telling the world that what you’re offering is fictional.

    Favorite Lip Dub, Lately

    LipDub – Undone – Weezer (in Paris) from Chryde on Vimeo.

  • Posts

    Tech Events Updated at Seattle 2.0

    The Seattle 2.0 events calendar just got some much needed TLC from yours truly, and I’ll continue to update it with events as I find them.  Marcelo gave me some serious props in his post today on resources for Seattle entrepreneurs, so I want to make sure I can live up to it.

    Events I’m particularly looking forward to this month:

    Dec. 4th – TiE Funding Forum because hearing other people’s business plans always motivates me to write my own.

    Dec. 10th – WTIA Cocktails & Contributions Holiday Party because it’s a party at a cool venue (ACT Theater) and I’m in the Christmas spirit

    Dec. 11th – Hops & Chops Happy Hour because I don’t show up nearly enough and the people who come and a lot of fun to talk to and drink with

  • Posts

    Living Large by Living Small

    Like most in the startup community, I’ve been following (how could you miss it) the various media coverage of the economic downturn and contemplating what it means to me both as the employee of a startup and as an aspiring entrepreneur.  Here’s what I have to offer for your contemplation, as I continue mine.

    Some favorite song lyrics by Onelinedrawing for “Livin Small” come to mind:

    These dreams’ll raise you up
    Some kids wanna be rockstars, and some kids wanna be firemen

    But those dreams’ll mess you up
    If you’re in it for the bright lights and the battle scars
    It’ll turn you into a liar, man

    I don’t know if I’ve seen a million faces
    I’m not sure if I’ve rocked them all
    All I know is I’ve met a lot of people
    Filled a lot of spaces
    Learned to jump and learned to take a fall
    And if that’s not livin’ large, then
    I’m happy livin’ small

    Well, most of us, when we go out looking,
    as we do, for our lovers and our friends
    Yea, we know it’s not just supposed to
    be about what looks good
    We know it’s not really all about the benjamins
    Yea, but business is a lot like love and
    business is a lot like friendship, isn’t it?
    Yea, well either way, if you just go out
    looking for what’s rich and hot
    You’ll end up with a piece of shit

    I don’t know if I’ll make a million dollars
    Yea who knows, maybe if I return those calls…
    All I know is when I tune in,
    turn on and go out
    It’s not my radio
    It’s not my tv show
    It’s not my rock-n-roll
    Looks like one big fashion show
    All these punk rock pimps and hoes
    Sellin’ this and sellin’ those
    Sodas, cars and phones
    I mean, what’s the dilly, yo?
    This channel isn’t clear at all
    And if that’s what passes these days for livin’ large
    Then I’m happy livin’ small.

    Jonah playing this song live, in a living room (wish I had been there):

  • Posts

    It’s Official – I’m the Events Editor at Seattle 2.0

    You might have noticed I have been posting as frequently here as in the past, and in part that’s because my attention has been diverted to writing posts for Seattle 2.0 as the events editor.  Marcelo Calbucci, who runs Seattle 2.0, has brough together a team of contributors and we’re on a schedule to generate at least one new post a day for the Seattle 2.0 blog.  In addition to this content, posts from Seattle tech blogs are aggregated in on the front page.

    As the events editor it is my job to cover events taking place in the Seattle tech community, with a particular focus on startups.  I go to events, write about what happened there, who I met, what I learned, and what an individual should expect to get out of the event.  I also will be featuring various community organizers as they talk about the events they host; everything from how they plan to what their vision is for the future of the Seattle tech community.

    Check out my first three posts:

    Of course, I’d love to receive feedback on how I can make my posts interesting and useful so if you want to reach me please leave a comment with a valid email address and we’ll talk.

  • Posts

    Soliloquy: the act of talking to oneself

    I ran into a friend over the weekend, and over a impromptu cup of coffee we talked about many things. One question, which has been in the forefront of my mind lately, is who do we write for?  All this content we put out there, what are we hoping to achieve?  Who do we want to reach?  For me, understanding this is part of the process of getting naked, so I’m going to share a previously friends-only Livejournal blog post that I love:

    December 26, 2006

    When I was in college (the first time) my boyfriend at that time was in a class for recording music, and one morning we were able to book the studio for an hour and mic the piano with about six mics and record this improv of a theme I’ve been toying with since I was about nine years old. I was 18 at the time this was recorded, and I am 21 years old now. I am still playing with this theme:

    Click Here to Listen to: “Soliloquy” Danielle’s Theme

    I remember I started playing but the first 30 – 60 seconds were not recorded so the beginning comes in suddenly without some of the quiet build up. This is all improv of a theme that haunts me. This theme that I would play at night when I was stressed out and happy, or overwhelmed with emotion of any kind. I would go to the piano in the foyer and turn on the lamp so that it would illuminate me like being on stage and block out everything. I would play the same thing over and over exploring it, and learning that constant style of playing that would become my own. I loved music, and as repressed as I can be verbally about how I feel, when I would play the piano it was always deeply intimate. There was an unspoken (and later, clearly spoken) rule that no one was to talk to or touch me when I played. If the rule was broken the shock of coming back to the world was often devastating.

    This theme originated from my obsession with triads and then later with chords and finding that there were many combinations of three that made incredible sounds. At first I was interested in C-E-G, then C-D-E and now I’ve started to partition my ramblings into sections with their own distinct patterns laid on top of the overall theme.

    So what is this theme about? I thought about that a lot, especially when I was faced with the challenge of giving it a name. I chose ‘Soliloquy’, and I still think that is very appropriate to this day.

    Main Entry: so·lil·o·quy
    Pronunciation: s&-‘li-l&-kwE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -quies
    Etymology: Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus alone + loqui to speak
    1 : the act of talking to oneself
    2 : a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections

    I’m sitting here listening to the recording over and over as I write this and I am thinking about all the imperfections, but also remembering so clearly where I was at. Not just sitting in the cold studio and reflecting on 10 years of playing that brought me to the recording… but of what another 10 years be like. And will I still be playing this theme? Sometimes I desperately want to give it up so that I can write something new, but everything comes back to this theme and I can’t let it go. It’s the only thing I want to play, and I can play it for hours and hours on end without boredom. And every time I go back I find more complexity and more that interests me, more to explore. It’s an obsession.

    I was at my parent’s house this weekend. They had sold my piano without asking, but they bought it back when I expressed the depth of my pain to my father. The fools at the piano place managed to tune and voice it to a point of sheer boredom in tone and my sister and I were lamenting that it will takes years of pounding to sufficiently break it in again. The action is still slow (but I like it because it is familiar) and now the E notes still are off at the octave. When you get right down to it, it’s a factory made late 80s Kawaii upright. But it was like a pet to me, it was something I cried on and poured out my heart to in the only way that I ever have been able to bare my soul, through music. I was something I would stroke when I walked by it with the same touch as a lover.

    There was a time when I thought I would be a professional musician. I thought that I wanted to make music for a living, but I am certain now that I don’t want to. I don’t give a damn about the audience – I didn’t write this for anyone but me and if people like it I want them to like it because when they hear it they understand all the makes it a part of me. Or maybe they will see themselves in it too, and I will reach some place in them that is hardening and difficult to touch and they will realize that they are getting dangerously numb. I don’t know if I’d ever know that had happened, I don’t think people tell each other when they’ve touched their soul anymore. Heartfelt expressions like that get brushed aside. But music has moved me, since I was old enough to stand I have danced and since I was old enough to sit still I have made music.  I have raised my voice in song with a choir of over one hundred voices, and I know why Christians had a choke-hold on music for thousands of years.  Reverence.  Joy.  Passion.

    In music I find exaltation, and I have experienced nothing higher.

    We write, and create, for ourselves first.  I still work on this piece of music today, it has changed a lot since this recording and so have I.  I express myself through creating music, and hope that there is someone else out there who will understand that expression and help me see myself more clearly.  Each blog post is a soliloquy, a bit of talking to oneself.  A variation on the theme that is the progression of a life.

  • Posts

    Do I Work For A Startup?

    I’ve noticed many 30-second elevator pitches indicate a company’s size and scope, such as “Expeditors International is a Fortune 500 global logistics provider” or “Pelago is an early stage company building Whrrl”.

    When does a company go from being a startup to being “early stage”, or a “small business”?  Milestones for making the jump could be:

    • X number of employees (30? 50?) and/or someone dedicated to HR full time
    • Heavy funding, or no expectation of taking additional funding
    • Existed longer than X period of time (4 years? 7 years?)
    • Enough revenue to keep your business alive, or profitable (now or in the past)
    • Publicly traded, or are part of a merger or acquisition

    Keeping the “Feel” of a Startup

    I can understand the desire to identify your business as a startup, even when you’re technically not one anymore.  Maybe some companies call themselves startups for longer than they should because they want to project a particular company culture:

    • Fast moving (running 100mph every day), with a sense of racing the clock
    • Scrappy and frugal when it comes to spending money
    • Open to new ideas, new directions, and able to seize opportunity quickly
    • Innovative and inventive, nothing is set in stone yet, no bureaucracy

    You Can’t Deny Reality

    So why does this matter? It matters because saying, “It’s okay, we’re a startup” becomes a cop-out eventually. Saying this to potential employees, investors, or customers when it isn’t true comes off as disingenuous and smacks of enormous denial of reality. Denial of reality (think ostrich with its head in the sand) is my number one red flag when dealing with other people.  I find the inability to see the world as it truly is, is rarely a one-time error.  Usually, it can be found to be a systemic flaw in thinking that rarely results in success.

    Some companies cling to the title of startup even when they are heavily funded businesses, hiding behind the label as an excuse for not having reached profitability.  Being a startup is like being an entrepreneur, it’s a temporary state.  You can be entrepreneurial but not an entrepreneur just as you can be scrappy and innovative without being a startup.  In the best case scenario the entrepreneur becomes a successful businessman and the startup becomes a successful business.

    Breakdown of Business Types

    Startup:  a new company, working on building proof of concept

    Early Stage:  has achieved proof of concept, working on building revenues

    Business:  a company with revenues, working on achieving profitability

    Successful Business: a profitable company

  • Posts

    Am I an Entrepreneur?

    In the upper left-hand corner there’s a text blurb where I describe myself, and it says, “23 year old entrepreneur…”.  Well, actually it said ‘entreprenuer’ until an anonymous commenter was nice enough to point out my spelling mistake on my bio page.  This same commenter asked what makes me an entrepreneur, and my first reaction was to jump to the defense of all my projects and work; instead I looked up the definition of ‘entrepreneur’.  The Wikipedia entry is probably the most useful for getting a good definition, as well as some interesting references:

    An entrepreneur is a person who has possession over a company, enterprise, or venture, and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome. The term is a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome. In common understanding it is taken as describing a dynamic personality.

    As I wandered to the shower (where I do my best thinking) I asked my husband, “am I an entrepreneur?” and he responded, “Well, life has a lot of risk”.  After my shower I asked him again and he said, “no, you’re not right now”.  He’s right.

    Although I generate content and work on various projects beyond my day job, it isn’t part of any system that forms an enterprise.  I’ve been an entrepreneur on a very small scale in the past, when I ran little businesses like web design or teaching people how to use their computers.  However, right now I’m more of wantreprenuer with many ideas and a continuously growing stockpile of knowledge and understanding of what people want, but no business to show for it yet. 

    Right now, I’m finding people I can learn from about pitching, financing, filtering through good ideas and bad.  I’m also building a network that I hope will someday consist of potential customers, partners, advisors, employees and investors.  The tech community in Seattle is a big change from the networking I’ve done in the past, in finance and in international trade.  It’s refreshing; people tell you what they really think of your ideas and they’re excited about seeing you make them a reality.  Being involved in the community helps me meet people who can give me a sanity check, or suggest problems that need solving.  I’m still learning more about myself, and what kind of business I want to work on and live with for several years.

    In the meantime, I’m working for a Web 2.0 (or 3.0, whatever that means) company learning all sorts of different things.  In the past year I’ve learned how to use Linux, mySQL, manage bloggy goodness with WordPress like a champ, and furthered my MS Excel guru status through even greater utilization of Visual Basic.  I’m also learning to give interviews and speak publicly, which I’ve discovered I enjoy and hope to someday be truly good at.  Most recently, I’ve been learning to blog to a public audience about more than just my day-to-day life.

    So, am I an entrepreneur?  No, not right now.  If it didn’t have such a negative connotation, I’d call myself a wantrepreneur.  Instead, I’ll go with ‘entrepreneur in training’ – I’ll fix my tagline.


    Who’s Weighing In?

    Seattle entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci says:

    “The Wikipedia definition of entrepreneur is wrong, IMHO. Here is my definition: An entrepreneur must start something from nothing. Must create value out of thin air, either by creating a product or service, directly by his handy work or by aligning the right people to do so.  Risk is just a consequence and not “causation”.” 

  • Posts

    Kevin is Headed to China – for 4 months!

    Kevin and I just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and now it sounds like he’s planning to head to China for four months on an assignment from Microsoft to work with the Chinese arm of the Sharepoint team just outside of Beijing. So clearly I’m not going to be able to take four months and go with him, although I’m going to try to visit at least twice while he’s gone.

    So last night over a glass of wine with Raviv and Andrew we talked about how I was going to deal with being alone without male companionship for such an extended period of time. I have this crazy idea, which I might try to act on if I can find any interest at all, to have some fabulous women come live with me and attempt to start a blog about our adventures. Good idea? Bad idea?