IP “Crash Course” Online

Thanks to the sponsorship of Silicon Flatirons, TechStars, the Longmont Entrepreneurial Network (or “LEN” for short), and Colorado Capital Group we were able to put on a great Intellectual Property “Crash Course” for Entrepreneurs presentation at the end of last month before a standing-room-only crowd at the University of Colorado School of Law. Thanks to all of you who attended the event (especially those who had to sit in the aisles or stand during the presentation)!

As I mentioned during the event, the presentation was recorded. While I had hoped to have had the audio portion of the presentation online by now, we are still working to have the audio synchronized with the slides before posting. Since many of you have been (patiently) waiting for the presentation to be posted online, I have gone ahead and posted a copy of the slides to this site. I am hoping that this will suffice until we can get the audio synchronized and uploaded. Please stay tuned for the audio — and thank you for your patience. ;-)


Back to IP Basics

I was fortunate enough last year to sit through a number of extremely interesting investor pitch presentations given by entrepreneurs involved with various technology start-ups. While (not surprisingly) no presentation was completely focused on intellectual property, each took the time to address the role played by IP in their overall business strategy. Some, of course, did this more competently than others — and it was definitely the case that those presenters who did not competently handle the issue of IP strategy lost some credibility with me.

Admittedly, my antennae were tuned a bit more closely to IP issues than many of the other attendees at these presentations. However, while even I would agree that IP strategy is not the only issue for a technology start-up, IP has become far too important of an issue to ignore. In fact, I think it is safe to say that most of the other investors and advisors at the presentations I attended shared an expectation that the entrepreneurs giving the presentations would have a basic understanding of the primary forms of IP protection and an appreciation of how those protections can be put to work to help add value to their businesses.

In part as a result of these experiences (and in part as a result of the continued importance of IP strategy to any technology start-up), I thought it would be worthwhile to start the year off by getting back to basics with an Intellectual Property “Crash Course” for Entrepreneurs presentation. Details on the presentation are included in the announcement below (click on image to view a full-sized copy).

Thanks to the sponsorship of Silicon Flatirons, TechStars, and the Boulder and Longmont Entrepreneurial Networks (or “BEN” and “LEN” for short) there is no admission fee for the event (as in, it’s free to attend). Space is, however, limited, so send an email to patty.shawcastilian@hro.com if you are interested in attending.

No Slinky Companies

I attended the 2007 iteration of the Esprit Entrepreneur Awards last night here in Boulder, Colorado. The Awards are held each year as the culmination of a nearly week long series of events honoring the local entrepreneurial community in Boulder. Organized by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and run largely by volunteers from the entrepreneurial community, the Esprit events have really grown organically over the years to reflect and embody the community they seek to honor.

Among the notable winners, local VC, angel investor, entrepreneur and blogger Brad Feld was honored with the Rob Planchard Award. Named in honor of the late Rob Planchard, the award goes each year to an individual who has brought exceptional energy and support to the entrepreneurial community. As Brad noted in accepting the award, when he moved here in 1995 he knew only one person (who moved away 3 months later) and had few expectations of doing any meaningful business in Boulder. What Brad and others (including yours truly) have found is that Boulder is home to an outstanding entrepreneurial community and is a truly inspiring place to live. The rest as they say is history and Brad’s track record with Intensity Ventures, Softbank, Mobius, the Foundry Group, TechStars and other endeavors speaks for itself.

Capping off the night, Bill Perry of Softbridge Advisors won the Lifetime Achievement Award. I do not know Bill very well (yet), but really appreciate and admire the work he has put in helping Boulder become the hub for technology entrepreneurism that it is today. As Bill noted in his acceptance speech, it wasn’t always this way and there have certainly been low points. In Bill’s words, times when there were far too many “Slinky Companies” — those that “aren’t very useful but are fun to watch as they tumble down the stairs.” A line to remember — in large part because of its truth.

It really is true that behind any successful entrepreneur is a strong community — and Boulder is no exception. As this year’s master of ceremonies Mark Weakley noted during the event, while this year’s award winners are all in the audience tonight, what we should all remember is that next year’s award winners (and the winners for the year after that) are also all in the audience — we just don’t know who they are yet. Kudos to Brad, Bill and the other winners, and thanks to all those who have helped build our entrepreneurial community here in Boulder.