Startup Weekend Boulder 2010

Back in April I ventured to Boulder to participate in a event called Startup Weekend, founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde. The idea is for people with different backgrounds to gather together to form a startup company with the hope of having a working prototype to present by Sunday evening. The focus of the event is to pitch ideas, then form one or more startup groups and create a product or service based on the selected ideas. However, it also gives people an opportunity to network with other locals who share a similar interest in entrepreneurship, as well as with a few venture capitalists or other mentors and sponsors who are willing to share their expertise and experience, as well as ideas and comments on the various projects.
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Delivering Happiness with Tony Hsieh

Having been given a complementary advanced reading copy of the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, it is only fitting that I return the favor by giving an honest review of a personal, humorous, and informative narrative told by the CEO of Zappos himself, Tony Hsieh.

The book gives you an insight into the life of Tony Hsieh, whom many have only heard about through the recent acquisition of Zappos by Amazon. He discusses his adventures in entrepreneurship – from worm farms, through building a customer service enterprise – in his pursuit of delivering happiness to the world. Along the way Hsieh dabbles in the art of making and selling buttons through a mail-order catalog, running a pizza business during college, building Link Exchange and selling to Microsoft for $275 million, and finally, through the survival of Zappos during a period where they were walking within inches of financial bankruptcy.

Just the story of Tony’s life is an interesting read in and of itself. You learn of why he acquires a love for the peace-love-unity-respect (PLUR) culture after attending a rave for the first time, why he sold his million dollar loft after throwing a massive birthday bash, why he left a stable well-paying job at Oracle, and of course, the journey from an initial investment in ShoeSite.com to what we know today as Zappos.com.

Our Brand, Culture, and Pipeline are the only competitive advantages that we will have in the long run. Everything else can and will eventually be copied. – Tony Hsieh

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