The Sports Stadium/Arena as a Platform

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Since my SXSW trip where I saw a presentation by Populous, the company that works on new stadiums, I’ve been thinking about how the stadium should be a platform. The stadium should have tons of cameras, lights, LEDs on stairways, LEDs everywhere, sensors on field, audio sensors, seats w/vibration ability, and much much more that I can’t possibility think of.
If the stadium is the platform, then startups/companies can build “apps” (in a sense) on-top of the platform, to enrich the fan experience. Those companies would be able to do things on the platform that we couldn’t possibly fathom, to provide the best fan experience in the *world*.
That’s been on my mind for the new Buffalo Bills stadium.
I haven’t seen anyone talk about the stadium as a platform and what I’m talking about doesn’t just affect the in-game fan experience, there’d be startups innovating the at-home experience — sensors in the field, sensors in uniforms, video cameras focused on specific players, 3D stuff, AI, etc.
Buffalo would be the innovator and the rest of the league would be jealous until they got their arenas up to par. Buffalo would be an attraction/destination for those startups innovating the fan experience since they’d be working with the most state-of-the-art stadium in the world.
Talk about a future Super Bowl bid.

How Facebook is Kicking Your Ass Recruiting The Country’s Top Talent

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I went to the University at Buffalo two weeks ago to attend a CodeCon that Bloomberg was putting on. 150 computer science students attended to compete for three top prizes of smart watches. Pizza and swag was provided. After the two-hour competition, the top 30 ranked students were contacted for follow up internship interviews. The event cost Bloomberg under $2,000 without the travel and accommodations they had to also pay for their representatives.

I spoke with some students afterwards. One of them will be interning at Facebook this summer getting paid $45/hour, all meals supplied (via Facebook’s cafeteria), and housing also paid for. That’s what Buffalo is competing with. That’s what the world is competing with. Facebook isn’t just recruiting the top engineers at the University at Buffalo, they’re doing it at every college. I can’t blame these kids for going out West for that. Work at Facebook, gain experience and start paying off student loans? Hell, sign me up.

Companies that have their internship programs fully baked like Facebook does, have an advantage over every other company and get access to the best talent. Kids are influential at that age. They lack choice and opportunity. They’re broke and thirsty for experience. Facebook spends $25,000 per student intern, plus recruiting costs and ensuring a great experience for these kids. Facebook gets a 3-month trial with these students to give them some of the Facebook Kool-Aid and also to determine if the candidate would be a future fit. Facebook offers $30,000+ signing bonuses for engineering interns who convert to full-time employees and the average starting salary is $100,000 – $125,000. If Facebook hires an intern full-time and that individual stays for 4 years, the overall investment was rather cheap to have landed one of the world’s brightest from the vast global talent pool.

VC/Startups Internship: Machine Learning Engineer @Z80Labs

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Note: This position is part-time (5-10 hours/week), unpaid, provides academic credits and starts immediately in Buffalo, NY. You must be able to be onsite in our office (located in downtown in the city) at least one half-day a week.

Z80 Labs is hiring a Machine Learning Engineer Intern to build the early, key pieces of an internal tool that will uncover information to find startups we want to invest in. As a Machine Learning Engineer Intern at Z80 Labs, you will build tools to collect new data signals in order to create proprietary insights and data through statistical analysis and machine learning techniques. We want someone who loves finding patterns in past data to then predict the future based on real-time data. To be successful, you need to be great at coming up with creative ways to decipher investment patterns from structured data. As we are a small and agile team you’ll have the opportunity to wear many hats: it’s important that you are both a skilled web developer and experienced with data science and machine learning.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU

  • Your work will directly impact our investments as we prepare to engage in critical transactions.
  • Work closely with our Managing Director.
  • You think you know about startups now, just wait until you’ve spent one month with us.
  • You will play a critical role in building Z80’s core data consumption, analysis, and creation technologies. We want someone who brings a strong opinion to the table and will be proactively involved with product planning.
  • Dig deep to discover what drives the momentum of private companies and investment. Get creative — whether it’s looking at DNS record changes, crawling the web with phantomjs, or building out a call center that measures mean time for businesses to pick up the phone.
  • Design experiments that can structure insights and data from the vast amounts of information locked away in text on the internet.

WHAT YOU WILL WORK ON

  • Extract structured data from AngelList, Twitter, Crunchbase, and LinkedIn.
  • Extract structured data about funding events from the thousands of news articles about companies that are posted every day
  • Detect emerging industries by analyzing the features of newly established companies and determining if they fall into a new, previously unidentified cluster
  • Predict who will become a startup founder based on publicly available data about them
  • Predict who will become a startup founder again based on previous startup experience and fundraising.
  • Build a scalable infrastructure that can be used to experiment on new Machine Learning models and run validated models on massive amounts of streaming data

WHAT YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL

  • Software development experience
  • Machine Learning experience
  • Skilled at Python, experience with Hadoop/Spark is a plus
  • Experience (or thirst to learn) using Natural Language processing techniques.
  • Can (or have the desire to) talk about Random Forests, Naive Bayes and Support Vector Machines in your sleep
  • Passionate about startups, ideally with a background or at least some interest in finance

WHY WE LOVE IT HERE

  • Fully-stocked fridge of Red Bull and snacks.
  • Work alongside 25 other startups at the Z80 Labs and 43 North incubator.

HOW TO APPLY

  • Email steve at z80labs dot com with your resume, github link, and a brief cover letter (or email) as to why you.

ABOUT Z80 LABS

  • Z80 Labs, launched in summer 2012, is Buffalo’s first Internet­-focused technology incubator, providing entrepreneurs the ability to build new and innovative tech companies in Buffalo, New York. Startups invited to locate in Z80 Labs are given a wide array of services including office space, education programs, mentorship, amenities and infrastructure from local sponsors, as well as expert advice from renowned industry advisors. Total funds under Z80 Labs management are $6.6 million.

2014-2015 Buffalo Sabres Season +last season, +off-season, +future

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I wrote this over the off-season, before the season began. I still have tickets available for upcoming games this season for sale: http://bit.ly/1DwKaka
Here is some information on your 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres with a look back at last season and a look to the future… which is bright (that’s national media saying that).

The outlook for the future of the Buffalo Sabres is HIGH, according to NATIONAL media — not just local media. 
Here’s what national media has been saying:
Holy cow are the #Sabres loaded with brilliant prospects (not to mention the three 1st rounders coming in 2015): http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2140821-ranking-the-buffalo-sabres-top-10-prospects -Jonathan Willis, Edmonton Journal
 
The NHL’s top 5 farm systems – Buffalo Sabres: #1 http://www.si.com/nhl/2014/07/07/top-five-systems -Sports Illustrated
 
Why the Buffalo Sabres will be Stanley Cup champions in 2020: http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/why-the-buffalo-sabres-will-be-stanley-cup-champions-in-2020/ -Ken Campbell, The Hockey News
 
2014 NHL Draft Grades – Buffalo Sabres: A http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/11149133/2014-nhl-draft-grades -Corey Pronman, ESPN
 
Organizational Assessment – Buffalo Sabres: A+ http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/11149133/2014-nhl-draft-grades -ESPN
 
Remembering Last Season
Remember last year — we had Darcy and Ron Rolston still! Then Pat Lafontaine came in, hired back Ted Nolan and brought in Tim Murray as our GM. Tim Murray is the opposite of Darcy in many ways — he speaks his mind no matter what, something we’re not accustomed to here. Then Pat Lafontaine mysteriously left without saying a word — rumor was he wanted to rebuild around Ryan Miller at the core, but his new GM didn’t feel that way.
Last year we had Vanek, Miller, Ott, Moulson, McCormick, Ehrhoff, Tropp, John Scott, Matt D’Agostini, Jamie McBain, Cory Conacher (Canisius College grad!), Ville Leino, Tallinder, Sulzer, Konopka, Linus Omark, and the Sabres broke NHL records by dressing 9 goaltenders over the course of one season.
Off-Season (and In-Season) Roster Moves
Well — only two of those players listed above you’ll see again in Sabres jerseys. We put Tropp to waivers to move him down to the Amerks — that didn’t work, as the Blue Jackets scooped that beast of a kid up. We used one of our two compliance buy-outs on Leino, as expected — the other was used up on Ehrhoff, which was a bit of a shock. Leino was a flop, but Ehrhoff is still a great defender. The reason Ehrhoff was let go was due to his contract — with the new CBA, the Sabres were at risk of huge cap penalties if Ehrhoff were to retire before the end of his career; it wasn’t a risk Tim Murray was going to take on as it’d effect our team around 2020 when we’re making cup runs. Also we couldn’t trade him, because if he had retired still, the Sabres would be penalized — not any future teams of his from this contract. So we bought Ehrhoff out and he immediately signed a 1-year deal with the Penguins.
Miller and Ott were traded to the St Louis Blues at the deadline — Ott re-signed with them, and Miller signed a 3-year deal with the Canucks (closer to his wife in LA; fun fact: the new GM in Vancouver originally scouted Miller when he worked for the Buffalo Sabres).
Contracts were up for a bunch of our players and we didn’t offer new ones:
Sulzer (he signed 5 yr deal for a team in his home country of Germany), McBain (still a free agent), Konopka (him and his bunny are free agents and spending the first 20 games of next season suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs), D’Agostini signed a 1-year deal in Switzerland, John Scott signed with the SJ Sharks, Linus Omark abandoned the Sabres and fled to the KHL, Cory Conacher was signed by the NY Islanders, Tallinder remains a free agent, and Vanek signed a deal with the Minnesota Sabres — er, the Minnesota Wild — joining former Sabres captain Jason Pominville. Leino remains a free agent.
Chris Stewart came to Buffalo in the trade with the St Louis Blues. This guy is a huge power forward that can put up 20-30 goals a season — that’s Stafford-like numbers, but this guy is big.
Torrey Mitchell came to Buffalo in the trade with the Wild for Matt Moulson & Cody McCormick. You’ll see him on the Sabres this year. He’s 29 and plays wing.
2014-15 New Player Signings
Which brings us to the two players we traded at the trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild — Matt Moulson (who came to the Sabres as part of that deal that Darcy pulled over earlier in the season with the NY Islanders that included NY Islanders’ 2015 1st Round pick and also gave us Matty) and Cody McCormick. The Buffalo Sabres were able to re-sign both of these players — Cody and Matt. Matt Moulson signed a 5-year deal in Buffalo, Cody signed a 3-year deal.
The Buffalo Sabres also signed center Brian Gionta to a 3-year deal. Gionta is from Rochester NY and was the Captain of the Montreal Canadians last year — he’s the real deal. He’s at the end of his career and he’s being brought in to lead and show these kids how to win. If you thought Danny Briere was short (5′ 9″), Gionta has him beat by a couple inches (5′ 7″). Dude is short, but look for him to be the Captain of the Buffalo Sabres in 2014-15. Canadians made a deep playoff-run last season.
Buffalo Sabres also signed defender Andrej Mezaros to a 1-year deal — he’s spent time in Boston, Philadelphia and Ottawa — Tim Murray believes in him and says he told Andrej, “Come here and get back to being the great defender you can be”. Tim Murray says maybe we’ll resign him come the following year, or worst-case we trade him at the deadline during this season. Can you believe a GM says that out loud?! Fantastic Tim!
Sabres made a trade with the Canadians giving up basically nothing to acquire Josh Gorges, whom was an assistant captain in Montreal — with Gionta. Funny thing — Gorges had a limited no-trade clause, so he was able to specify teams he wouldn’t accept trades to. Montreal had a deal in place with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he wouldn’t go there and blocked the trade. He eventually adds the Sabres to his list and we get him — he then says, “I’ve grown to hate the Leafs after Habs rivalry”. Hello spark to the Sabres / Maple Leafs rivalry again. I love this move to get Gorges — I had him fantasy hockey this past year a few times — he’s a “stay at home” defender and he blocks shots like a mofo — he was tied for 4th in the league with most blocked shots. He was paired with PK Subban the majority of his time — he’d stay back and defend, and let offensive-minded defender PK Subban go roam the ice. PK Subban and Tyler Myers are similar defenders — Myers needs someone to stay back and protect, so he can go do his offensive-thing. This is a stretch as anyone in hockey would say, but I don’t see why — I truly believe Gorges is going to help Myers get back to what Myers was in his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season. Turns out Myers and Gorges are also from the same town — they’re just like 6 years apart in age; they already knew each other. Fantastic, go Tim Murray!
Buffalo Sabres signed another defender Andre Benoit that just played last season with the Colorado Avalanche on that young, stocked team that made a playoff run. He’s 31 and I don’t know much more, but Tim Murray has some history with him from his Ottawa days.
Buffalo Sabres signed Tyler Ennis to a 5-year deal, so he’s staying put. Tim Murray has often said how much he likes Tyler’s game.
Random note about a former Sabres prospect: David Leggio of WNY was signed by NY Islanders. Oh, and Danny Briere was traded from the Canadians to the Colorado Avalanche. And Darcy Regier became Assistant GM in Phoenix.
Oh yeah, and look for Patrick Kaleta to be back as a Sabre this year. Last year he tore his ACL.
Tim Murray’s other moves over the season and off-season included trading some draft picks and prospect defender McNabb to the LA Kings for a stud prospect named Hudson Fasching (plays college hockey for the Minnesota Gophers where he just won the rookie-of-the-year award given out by the team — prior recipients include Thomas Vanek, Jordan Leopold, Kyle Okposo, Phil Kessel, etc), as well as Nicolas Deslauriers (whom is a gritty young guy that should start on the Amerks this year, unless he breaks out and makes Sabres roster). An article about Hudson Fasching and his two siblings whom can’t talk and have a very rare disease — Hudson cuddles with them http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?id=6145415
2014 NHL Draft: Sam Reinhart and more
Despite finishing last overall in the entire NHL, the Buffalo Sabres selected 2nd overall at the draft. The Sabres haven’t drafted this high since 1987 when they drafted Pierre Turgeon 1st overall. Since then, the only other top 5 pick they’ve had was Thomas Vanek in 2003. Drafting 2nd overall this year — this is a huge deal.
As you may or may not know, the NHL doesn’t operate like the NFL. If you’re the 30th place team in the NHL, you don’t automatically get the 1st overall pick in the upcoming draft — as witnessed by the Buffalo Sabres this past draft.
We were the last team in the league, but at the draft lotto — the Florida Panthers “won” and selected 1st overall, while we fell to 2nd place overall. Basically all teams that don’t make the playoffs are eligible to ‘win’ the 1st overall selection, with all other teams only moving down 1 position. The Buffalo Sabres had the highest odds with 25% chance of winning the draft lotto, and the 2nd-last place Florida Panthers had the 2nd highest odds (18.8% chance) and the remaining teams’ chances dwindle from there.
It didn’t matter for the Buffalo Sabres, as the Sabres are stocked with young defencemen and the #1 overall pick was stud defender Aaron Ekblad, whom will be a superstar in this league, but the Sabres were able to select the top-rated offensive player in the draft with Sam Reinhart, er rather, Samson Reinhart. He prefers Samson.
Reinhart’s father (Paul) was a hockey player for many many years in the league, and Samson’s two brothers are prospects with the NY Islanders (Griffin, 4th overall 2012 draft) and Calgary Flames (Max, 64th overall 2010 draft).
Kevin Devine, Chief of Amateur Scouting for the Buffalo Sabres, months prior to this year’s draft said that Samson Reinhart was “the best playmaker I’ve seen in 10-15 years”. Hell of a statement. Craig Button of ESPN made a couple comparisons over the year leading up to the draft of Reinhart using Quebec/Colorado great, Hall of Famer, Joe Sakic as a comparable: “Reinhart might not have the same physical edge as Bennett (another prospect from the draft),” said Button, “but he beats up opponents with his mind. If you look at players like Joe Sakic over the years, Sakic didn’t have an edge. All he did was, he had a surgeon’s scalpel. He’d cut your heart out.”
“Star-wise I hear people say David Krejci, I guess I can see some of the similarities. But the guy he reminds me of is Hall of Famer, former Montreal great Jacques Lemaire. Jacques Lemaire didn’t have a lot of flash to him. [He] won eight Stanley Cups. [He] understood where everybody was on the ice. He understood what a player needed, understood when a player needed the puck. He understood how to get the most out of his linemates. He understood what plays needed to be made–offensively, defensively. [There were] so many different things that made Jacques Lemaire an exceptional player. Those are the same things that Sam Reinhart possesses.”
 
There are a lot of hockey fans here who weren’t born, or were too young to remember just what Lemaire brought to the table (although they’re familiar with Krejci.) Button certainly did, as did those who were around the game back then like legendary hockey writer, Red Fisher.
 
Here’s an excerpt from a piece by Fisher, posted in The Gazette, October 9, 2009. He was doing the top-20 players he had covered during a long, distinguished career that began in 1954. 
 
Lemaire came in at #12.
 
“[Lemaire] was the complete package,” wrote Fisher. “always in control of his game, scoring the big goals, making the big pass, always doing the right thing, killing penalties. No player I have known studied the game harder.”
With the Sabres next pick, which was the first pick of the second-round of the draft, they selected Brendan Lemieux. This kid is the son of former NHL’r Claude Lemieux — and he’s just as nasty. Opponents are going to hate this kid — and Sabres fans will be flocking to buy his jersey.
I don’t want to bore you with the rest of the draft, but we’ll know in years to come how many of these other picks turn into NHL players.
Will Samson being playing for the Buffalo Sabres this season? Originally I had high hopes of yes. Tim Murray feels he’s done all he can do in the junior league. And we all know there’s room for a kid on this team. However, I’d love to see us do what the Chicago Blackhawks did with their rebuild — they drafted Jonathan Toews 3rd overall, sent him back to juniors, then the following year drafted Patrick Kane and then brought them both into the NHL that year. Together they came into the league.
Next year we’re going to get a very high draft pick — the hope is we get the 1st overall. Regardless, I’d love to bring Reinhart and our 2015 pick into the league at the same time.
Obviously we’ll see what Tim Murray’s plans are soon enough. Sabres fans do need some players to want to watch on this team, as most fans won’t have a clue of anyone on this team — except for Stafford.
This Coming 2014-15 Season: Connor McDavid watch
So this season coming up has a big focus on the forthcoming draft, which will happen June 26-27, 2015 in Florida. Two “generational” players will be drafted first and second overall in that draft — the canadian Connor McDavid and the american Jack Eichel. Scouts have been watching McDavid since he was like 10 years old and awaiting his arrival to the ‘big show’. Connor McDavid is talked about by national media along the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, and Mario Lemieux. A bit unfair to be saying that already, but that’s what we’re talking about here to give you some perspective.
So how does one get Connor McDavid? You have to “win” the draft lottery.
http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/did-buffalo-kill-its-chances-of-winning-the-connor-mccavid-sweepstakes-does-it-matter/
The Sabres are going to be competing hard this year — you could see it at the end of last season. Ted Nolan has really connected with the players and is making them all earn their roster spots. We’re not going to be great this year, but we’re on a great path for the coming years.
Let’s Go Sabres!
Here are my tickets for sale: http://bit.ly/1DwKaka

Sabres Suggestion: visiting teams driving into Buffalo from airport

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A letter to Ted Black:

Ted,

4-ticket season ticket holder and downtown advocate here.

I was watching the first episode of the HBO 24/7 Winter Classic for Penguins vs Capitals. In this episode, the Penguins come visit Buffalo to play the Sabres. I saw that their bus went from the Buffalo airport down the ugly 33 to the Embassy Suites downtown where they stayed. The players then ate at the Buffalo Chophouse. (I really wish they’d eat at Tempo, Mother’s or Mike A’s, as the food quality is much better in my opinion, but I digress)

Companies that are recruiting out-of-town employees to come work/live in Buffalo have the same problems that the Sabres and Bills have when recruiting talent to Buffalo — a stigma is attached in people’s minds. They have seen our city in superbowl losses playing in snow and they’ve seen us make national headlines with our blizzards over the years.

The “33” is the ugliest transportation roadway possibly in all of America — right next to Detroit’s. I really wish we could throw some paint on the walls of the 33, or make it an art insulation that is designed by the many artists in our city, or possibly commission Christo to wrap the 33 in fabric — see attached image…. but that’s years away, so in the meantime, the 33 is dreary and ugly. Not a good first impression of our city, with the abandoned projects and such that litter the 33.

I have this thought that you might have some “pull” on influencing where those buses drive when they take the team downtown. They must all use the same local bus company and it seems you could meet with a high-up manager there to explain this.

If the bus took the 33 to the 198 and then the Delaware South exit, taking Delaware into downtown….. it would add only 4 minutes to the overall drive time, and the players/guests would see: Delaware Park (at Parkside corner), lovely homes there, the beautiful Forest Lawn Cemetery as they drove through the S-curves, the mansions along Delaware, and more of the unique architecture from Allen St through downtown.

It would help make a better impression on players that are visiting.

I really believe we should roll out the red carpet for visiting teams. Honestly, I think their locker room should be as good as the Sabres locker room. Every impressionable moment that we have with those players is a moment that our city’s perception to the rest of the world can be helped or hindered when those players leave and tell the people they influence about Buffalo, NY.

Thanks for listening,

Steve Poland

Startup Idea #137: Buy Local

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Imagine a search engine like Amazon.com, but all the products are sold by all the local retailers. So instead of having something shipped from Amazon.com, it gets shipped or picked up or dropped off by a local retailer — maybe they’d even price match if purchased through this site only, and not via the own local retailer’s site or in-location.

Keep the money local!

If Buffalo had all products indexed, this could happen.

Dear Buffalo Entrepreneurs & Geeks, 2013 is Our Year: Events Schedule and Call for Volunteers

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Buffalo,

In 2006 I moved back to Buffalo after living across the US in Austin, Denver, Houston, Manchester, Boston and more. I was running a 40-client SEO/SEM firm and writing for a relatively unknown publication called TechCrunch. Moving home I made three commitments to myself:
  1. This was it, I’m home for good. I want to be apart of the growth/change in this great city for the next 20+ years.
  2. I’m going to connect the techies in this area, so we know who we all are.
  3. I want tech startups in this city. It’s the now. It’s the future. Job creation will come from these new opportunities.

I set out and created this email list. We grew from 1 to over 300 now. I started Open Coffee Club in the area, a Tuesday morning meetup. I started BarCamp Buffalo in the area, which with help of others stepping up and volunteering to organize, we’ve pulled off 5 of them with 75-125 in attendance at each. Meetups have sprung out of this list. Connections have occurred. Collaboration on client projects has occurred.

I don’t want to start naming the names of the other leaders in our tech community with fear of missing someones, but if you’ve attended any of the events or meetups in this area, then you’re fully aware of these leaders that step up, encourage others to step up, and they “give before they get”, because they want to see all of this stuff for Buffalo happen. None of those things I listed above would have gone anywhere without their initial support — they showed me they wanted this stuff.

This past November eight of us pulled off Buffalo’s first ever Startup Weekend. And that’s when it hit me. Startup Weekend had the most unbelievable energy I’ve ever seen at a tech event in Buffalo. About 75 people got up in front of the crowd and pitched their own business idea for a minute. 16 teams formed and nose-dived into building a startup over the next 54 hours. Despite the long hours of preparation by all the co-organizers, we were super proud and super excited. Excited for the next one. We immediately started planning the second Startup Weekend, which is happening March 1-3, save the date!

I want to see startups in Buffalo. And I have rededicated myself to getting more events to happen in Buffalo that focus on the cool stuff being built and hacked on. This is when I picked up “Startup Communities” by Brad Feld, in which he lays out the path that Boulder has taken over the years to become an amazing startup/tech community. If you have an interest in being apart of changing our fine city of Buffalo into a state of startup/tech awesomeness, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s a rolling 20-year outlook. It’s a “give before you get” outlook of helping others. It’s a celebration of startup failures by having a “funeral” happy hour to encourage the entrepreneurs that fails are apart of the business and to get back up and try again.

Because of the smaller size of Buffalo, you can do something and have an impact. The time is NOW with all the success that is going on in Buffalo — Synacor’s IPO over the summer, CampusLabs acquired, the creation of Z80 Labs w/$5.3mm fund for investing in tech startups, the success of TEDxBuffalo, the success of Startup Weekend, the launch/success of CoWorkBuffalo, Buffalo Billion, and much much more!

On the heels of this excitement, maintaining that energy and complementing that focus… I have setup a schedule of Tech Events in Buffalo for all of 2013. It’s an introduction of 5 brand new tech events to the area, a reboot of BarCamp (to its’ proper format as used by other cities), and more Startup Weekends.  I have laid the groundwork below of a schedule. I have lined up the venues. I am working with local sponsors that we’ve worked with in the past. But I can’t lead or organize all of these events on my own. Other people have committed to stepping up, as they have in the past — Dan Magnuszewski, Dan Gigante, Mark Branden, Nicholas Barone, Jon Spitz, Eric Reich, etc. But we’re looking for more people that are interested in giving back and making this community awesome for years to come, by stepping up and participating as a leader or helper to an event.

What follows is a brief introduction to these events. We are seeking a couple dozen leaders, co-organizers, and volunteers for: Buffalo New Tech Meetup, Geek Givings Night, Buffalo Beta, BarCamp Buffalo (rebooted!), Ignite! Buffalo, and Buffalo Startup Weekend.

We need a dedicated individual (or two) driving the bus for each of these, or stuff won’t get done. A team leader should be committed in some capacity to attending each of their events throughout the year. We also need people (co-organizers) willing to support the leaders for each event.

Buffalo New Tech Meetup is a night the local community gets together to network, socialize and show-and-tell new technology. Five preselected presenters are given five minutes each with five minutes of Q&A from the crowd. The focus is to spread the word about what is going on in town and to provide a place to break bread and have beer with friends. Monthly, 6-9pm, 1st Wed of every month @ Pearl St Brewery. Dan Magnuszewski is seeking co-organizers.

Geek Givings Night is a night of multiple local for- & non-profit organizations presenting New Tech style, but with a twist. Once all of the groups are finished on the podium (they each get two minutes instead of the typical five minutes to present) they split up into tables at Z80 Labs and start hacking. The tech community helps the local businesses on tech issues ranging from web design to social media help, database support to graphic design, and everything in-between. Quarterly, 6-9pm, 3rd Wed of Feb/May/Aug/Nov @ Z80 Labs. Seeking a leader and co-organizers. Count on Steve Poland and Dan Magnuszewski as co-organizers.

Buffalo Beta is Buffalo’s Premier Startup Mixer. Buffalo Beta is a quarterly get-together for founders, hackers, students, investors, designers, visionaries, media professionals, and more.  You can expect socializing with friends and colleagues and meeting new people from throughout the entrepreneurial community. No formal presentations – just informal, ongoing demos from awesome young companies and lots of time to enjoy each other’s company. Startups each get a table to demo their goods. Quarterly, 6-9pm, 2nd Wed of Jan/Apr/July/Oct @ Pearl St Brewery. Seeking a leader and co-organizers. Count on Steve Poland and Dan Magnuszewski as co-organizers.

BarCamp Buffalo (rebooted!) is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. BarCamp Buffalo is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. No spectators, only participants. All attendees should give a demo, a session, or help with one.  Thus, the content is provided by participants. This is called sharing and we like it. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join. Note: If you attended a prior BarCamp Buffalo, we lacked space and had altered the format — expect the real deal now that we have lots of space (30-min presentations, multiple presentations in different rooms at every moment to give you greater choices). Quarterly, 8am-5pm, 1st Sat of Feb/May/Aug/Nov @ Medaille College Buffalo Campus. Interim leader Steve Poland. Seeking a leader and co-organizers. Count on Steve Poland, Dan Magnuszewski, Charles Wertz, Nick Quaranto, and Sean Zawicki as co-organizers.

Ignite Buffalo is a night of presentations with a twist. Presenting on a subject of their choice, speakers have exactly 5 minutes to teach something, enlighten us, or simply inspire — backed by 20 slides auto-advancing every 15 seconds. Quick, fun, and smart. Quarterly, 6-9pm, 2nd Wed of Mar/June/Sept/Dec @ Pearl St Brewery. Seeking a leader and co-organizers. Count on Steve Poland and Dan Magnuszewski as co-organizers. Mike Canzoneri very interested in leading or co-leading.

Buffalo Startup Weekend is a weekend dive into starting a business. Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers on Friday night. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations on Sunday evening in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups! If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, get ready for the best weekend of your life! Quarterly, 1st weekend of Mar/June/Sept/Dec @ Medaille College Buffalo Campus. Jon Spitz leading, co-organizers of Steve Poland, Dan Magnuszewski, Charles Wertz, Dan Gigante, Lisa Primerano, and Mark Branden. Seeking 8-10 volunteers and co-organizers.

7-Week Startup Buffalo is a community accelerator where teams collaborate to launch a startup over the course of seven Saturdays. The program welcomes individuals or established teams at the idea/prototype stage to pitch their business goals and form teams at the start of each 7-week session. Brunch is provided every Saturday as a speaker presents a topic on startup building and mentors the teams. Feedback is also provided every week by peers. The seventh Saturday culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Quarterly, 2nd Sat (& six subsequent Saturdays) of Mar/June/Sept/Dec @ Z80 Labs. Co-leaders Dan Gigante and Chris Castleman. Seeking co-organizers.

Already Planned 2013 Events:
  • Jan 11, 2013 (tonight! 4:30pm-7pm) – 7 Week Startup @ Z80 Labs
  • Feb 1, 2013 (Fri 6pm-9pm) – BarCamp Buffalo Kick-Off Happy Hour @ Z80 Labs
  • Feb 2, 2013 (Sat 8am doors, 9am-5pm) – BarCamp Buffalo @ Medaille College
  • Feb 2, 2013 (Sat 5pm-?) – BarCamp Buffalo After-Party @ Cole’s
  • Feb 28, 2013 (Thurs 6pm-9pm) – Buffalo Startup Weekend Kick-Off Happy Hour @ Z80 Labs
  • March 1-3, 2013 (Fri 5pm doors, 7pm-2am) – Buffalo Startup Weekend @ Medaille College
  • March 3, 2013 (Sun 8:30pm-?) – Buffalo Startup Weekend After-Party @ Founding Father’s

More events are in the works: Buffalo I/O (led by Dan Magnuszewski, he’s seeking co-organizers — reach out to him), Creative Mornings (led by Nicholas Barone), a Ruby conf (led by Nick Quaranto), and please let me know of any other event initiatives.

We have an ambitious plan that cannot be accomplished without dedicated volunteers to lead the effort. You will be responsible for the success of the event and showcasing what our community has to offer. You will be looked upon as a leader in the tech community — a representative to our officials and media to let them know what is being accomplished — and, therefore, I am asking for those willing to be the drivers behind the growth of the Western NY entrepreneurial scene to contact me for further information on how you can contribute.

For the rest of you, we’re going to need you to be cheerleaders, egging these leaders, co-organizers and local financial supporters on so you can enjoy these events!

Please take 2 minutes and answer the questions in this form if you’d like to help see any of the events happen: http://bit.ly/UHjlmd

Cheers!

Steve Poland

P.S. Please share this post with any Buffalo friends that you think these initiatives would be of interest to — whether it be a non-profit for Geek Givings Night, a techie, an entrepreneur, or an ex-pat. Thank you.

What it takes to become Mayor of the City of Buffalo

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This is by no means a comprehensive post, but rather some info I found on the Internet after researching the mayor position in the City of Buffalo, and what it would take to win. Pretty interesting stuff.

“This city needs someone with passion for Buffalo and WNY.. Not a career politician..”

I found the 2009 election results for Buffalo Mayor. A total of a mere 26,464 voters determined this city’s fate — of 500,000 eligible voters. 77,000 voters are between the ages of 21-29, and 252,000 are between 30-55 (I wish this was broken down better).

Of the 26,464, Mickey Kearns wasn’t even on the ballot — he was a write-in, thus only got 158 votes. There were 8,578 votes that were ‘blank, void or scattering’ (blows my mind that 1/3 of the voters’ votes weren’t even counted!), and the remaining ~16,000 votes went to Byron Brown. [source]

In 2007 Pittsburgh, 67,000 total votes cast with 43,000 went to Luke, the kid. [source]

Some good questions by citizens of Buffalo for the mayor during last election are here (aside from the MLB/NBA tangent).

Someone that was attempting to run in 2009 and their message: http://www.changebuffalo.org/

What powers does the Mayor have?

How do you run for an elective office in Buffalo?  and the official “book“.

There is also the thought that Buffalo should reform to a ‘City Manager’ system instead.

 

Austin Texas Recommendations

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East Side Showroom for drinks or a meal (delicious and serves old fashioned drinks that take like 5 minutes to make). If in North Austin, the tres leches cake at Chuy’s. “Frank” for brunch. Magnolia for breakfast. South Congress Cafe for any meal, cool spot that is delicious. Music: La Zona Rosa, Antones, The Parish.. Typically shows are at those places. I love Austin, simply the greatest city in the world. Oh yeah, Oasis requires a car but well worth it for the sunset view, go for dinner but have enough time as a wait occurs for tables (but there are hundreds of tables literally). Salt Lick needs a car but is some amazing BBQ, it’s in a dry county so you can’t buy beer/etc there but people pack their own cooler of beer and roll it up next to their table. ‘The purple’ at Baby Acapulco if you’re feeling rowdy (they’ll only serve you two, that’s how strong they are!).

Bats at dusk under the South Congress Bridge. Go on the bridge and see the stream of black pour out from underneath — 1.5 million bats! Largest population in USA.

SXSW in March for the greatest music festival in the world, nearly 2000 bands playing over 4 days.

Some Startup Writings by me on my blog & on TechCrunch

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If you’re looking for some reading on startups, here’s some of my last guest posts on TechCrunch and some other applicable posts on my own blog:
http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/25/what-startup-to-build/
http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/27/will-it-end-very-badly-probably-not/
http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/08/turntable-addiction/
http://www.stevepoland.com/the-little-startup-that-couldnt-a-postmortem-of-myfavorites/
http://www.stevepoland.com/startup-homeruns/
http://www.stevepoland.com/repeat-after-me-i-will-not-do-another-startup-as-a-non-technical-founder-unless/