Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Intel Proactive Health

The best seminar since arrived was tonight. Digital Health Care direct to the home was the theme for the evening.

As I arrived I met the speaker from Intel and I said how good it was to have a company like Intel championing the disease prevention message. I explained I was just a little start up but the speaker replied that he was "delighted" to hear about a young start up in this area as that gives Intel validation to their strategy too. It was a feel good moment.

The whole event was invaluable. Met some great people and I identified future sources of investment that have a bias towards Health and Disease prevention, ie. Prevention is better than cure.

It does rain for a whole day

It has rained for the whole day and proper rain at that. The saving grace was that the wind is warm, much warmer than it is on a clear. The forecast ahead is for a rainy week and the chance to get cool or colder with snow levels down to 1000ft.

Good to see the ski resort are getting going in Scotland.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SF again

Double decker bridge
Double decker bridge,
originally uploaded by ecotorch.
I was back up in San Francisco on Friday for a couple of meetings and a chat with a fellow entrepreneur.

See more photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aboynejames

Washing in public

I am talking about clothes washing. You take having a washing machine at your home for granted but for now I have to visit the local coin driven laundrette. I have used these machine before and there is nothing particularly interesting in the act of switching the machine on etc. However, it interesting observing my fellow 'washers in public'. Mainly Mexican, I don't here any one else speaking English, but Spanish flies through the air. Reminds you of the day to day realities of life.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

US Public Transport

Cal Train at Mountain View
Cal Train at Mountain View,
originally uploaded by ecotorch.
For the first 10 ten days I rented a car but ever since I have been able to get around with a combination of Cal train, light rail and bus services.

You tend to forget about these options but from my expereince they are reliable and reasonably priced. You just have to watch, some bus services stop fairly early so you can get stranded. Then it is time to call a cab!

Afternoon off

originally uploaded by ecotorch.
Such has been the intensity of the last three weeks I needed a time out to reflect. So, I walked to Rengstorff Park about mile from downtown Mountain View to get some fresh air.

By lunch time the temperatures are on the rise again so time for the sunblock again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SD Forum Start up Pitch

This is my new pals at www.chatany.com giving a demo of their new website.

I also got a 10 minute slot to present my business venture. I received good feedback gain and leads to potential sources of funding. Thank you to all of you who attended.


originally uploaded by ecotorch.
This is the first white frost I've seen since arriving.

The walk to the swimming pool from the changing area was cold enough but returning to the changing rooms after being wet, well that was like baltic. You had to keep moving in the pool too, your head would get cold just doing a length of kick for example.

And the steam was rising so thick that you could not see the clock at the side of the pool. It's a bit of a thought about going through that all again later in the week. I miss my indoor pool!

Frost & Swimming

As I walked along the road towards the swimming pool I could see a huge amount of steam in the air. I thought, it must be cold and it was indeed freezing as the next photo illustrates.

Monday, February 20, 2006

California Construction

Building a house
Building a house,
originally uploaded by ecotorch.
This is a posting for my dad.

There are two developing going on in our street. This is the earlier stage one. Apart from the foundations all construction in timber. Framing post and stirling board. The stirling board is then skimmed on the outside with plaster. In the near completed house, see next flickr image, they have created massive pillar at the front of the house and covered them to look like brick. But it's just illution of strength as it is just a few 2*2 post taking the weight.

We also got our felt roof tiles, much the same as Mortlich Gardens replaced last week.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pitch feedback

I was fortunate enough to be given a 30 minute window of opportunity to present at an investor/business focused conference today. The topic for the day was Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). I didn't think I had much experience in that area until I released that most of my ventures have come to an end at or around an acquisition event or be it non-event. It was good to know I am not the first and certainly not the last to have encountered fail acquisitions.

Then I focused on my Pitch for www.infobiotech.co.uk and it's 'lifestyle linking' vision. I received excellent feedback from the floor. I'm by no way the finished article but their feedback has given me the knowledge to find answers to questions I hadn't quite resolved pre the pitch. Thank you all for the feedback.

I also got a host of leads to follow up.

Cloudy and cold

Some places are getting frost in the bay and even the lower hills, some snow.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Palm Tree

Palm Tree
Palm Tree,
originally uploaded by ecotorch.
Look, 100% cloudy sky, just like home.

Palm Tree Down Town Mountain View

Down town Mountain View

Down town Mountain View
Down town Mountain View,
originally uploaded by ecotorch.
The valley floor of Silicon Valley is flat.

It does rain

Yes, we had a couple of showers of rain yesterday. Temperatures over night are getting as low as 1c. The high's during the day are topping out at 10c.

I see from the webcam of Nevis Range that the hills are white and that the ski resorts in the west of Scotland are opening for the first time this season. About time too.

What I will know

Just to let you know. Businesses like measuremap.com or feedburner.com provide me with statistics on how many people view/read my blogs. Which posting are most popular etc. But I can assure you I have know idea who the readers are.

Consumer control example

Those of you who chose to read this blog have to actively or proactive choose to view and read it. To ease the convenience of this many of us blogger will choose to view other bloggers postings via a RSS reader. That is a tool that will inform you of up dates to blogs you are interested. I use MyYahoo! to keep track of the bloggers I get value from.

You will notice I have a MyYahoo button to the right of this blog. If you are a member of yahoo click on this button to sign up to my blog feed. That is if you want to?

If you are familiar with RSS feeds then you can also use your mouse to copy the FEED link to acquire my XML URL. Cut and paste it into reader.

This concept is so important. Us, we the consumers can now dictate what content or news reaches us. If we don't want it we can switch the feeds off. We can cluster together new stories from multiple sources that we trust rather than some web designer or business limits us to view or read.

Web 2.0 event

At last a day where I was focused on staying at home to catch up with emails, send emails and prepare presentations. I have been asked to fill in a half hour spot at a conference on Saturday. I was originally only attending as a paying guest, then my Scottish network asked if I would like to present. I grasped the opportunity. So, now I get to attend for free and will get exposure via my talk. Just need to prepare one in 48 hours.

Jon and Sarah took me out for lunch before it was back to the laptop. We now have wireless DSL, broadband in the house. So, it is all systems go. I've been running operations from various cafe's. It's good to get out but maybe not so good for the diet!

Again out this evening networking at web 2.0 focused event. Some call it the next Internet bubble but there is real substance to this new wave of innovation. Its not about technology, is about how social interactions are evolving online. I've seen and be innovating around this concept since 2001 with the ecotorch toolbar etc. I been watching this trend emerge from Scotland via my co bloggers and it the reason with I have upped sticks to be here in Silicon Valley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Palo Alto Day - Stanford University

Cold, Ok just much cooler air had arrived by morning and I set out for a lunch meeting in Down Town Palo Alto. This is the City a few miles north of Mountain View. It's also the location of Stanford University. I was there for lunch initially. You walk for about 20 minutes along Palm Avenue, aptly named before you are greeted by a welcoming cirlce at the University campus. Walking up to the University was the first time I felt the pace of life slow down since my arrival in the Bay area. Grass land and tree grace the land with only the veins of roads to interrupt. The sun was shining, making a perfect spring day. I found a map and got my bearings before checking out the department of computer science. I did encounter one unexpected problem. I was surrounded by scores of WI FI (wireless internet) signals but all required a password to access. So, I used the rest of my time to soak in the rest of the campus including the Aquatic arena where the world master swimming championships will be held in August. An impressive complex. Swimmers were training under the coach's watchful eye.

Time to eat or to be more exact time to eat and surf the web as all cafe/restaurants provide free WI FI. I had a 30 minute walk to my next Investor focused seminar. I was first to turn up so when the chairman for the evening arrived I got a good lot of valuable info. out of him. The discussion was on start up issues, finding a team, how to fund and structure the funding etc. The panel included VC's and business angels, ie sources of cash along with entrepreneurs. A very valuable event in terms of content and contacts for me. More on those later I hope.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Marketing Plan

Luckily todays seminar on the Market Plan was located in Downtown Mountain View, just a 10 minute walk from the house. The speakers were excellent. And they re enforced the almost scientific nature of preparing a pitch to a potential investor i.e. this is what the investor wants to hear from the entrepreneur.

Two entrepreneurs also spoke on their start up successes and experiences. These talks really bring to life the issues as you feel a synergy with the entrepreneur. I also asked a question to the VC in open format, there was about 80 people in the audience. The logic behind the question was to broadcast my name and website to the room and to provide a memory point to the VC on the panel so that when I come knocking on her door in 6 months+ time she will remember me? Because, I mentioned I was from Scotland people at the end came up to me to provide guidance and contacts. It's a great feeling when you feel others are championing you on your way.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sunny San Jose

After spending the morning is Tuffy Cafe sending and replying to emails I headed down to San Jose for the first time on this trip. SVASE (silicon valley association of start up entrepreneurs) hosted a seminar on how to prepare a 10 side power point presentation that investors want to hear. And that was the key, as an entrepreneur you blast out how you will change the world with your vision but a potential investor wants to hear about a current market pain a potential customer has and how they will pay your business given you deliver a service that adds value to the customer i.e. they want a return on their money. Fair enough, really. A very valuable session.

Also met a software engineer to enthuse with my 'lifestyle linking' vision for www.infobiotech.co.uk

Sunday, February 12, 2006

13 Feb Week Ahead

Networking and start up seminars are already booked. I’ve emailed the people last week I met so I will be following up these to arrange meetings

Sunday's duties

Out to the laundry to do the washing. I get out early to avoid any queues. Then it is back to the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday night out

My first Saturday night out in Downtown mountain view. My house mates had other plans so I ventured out solo. Food first and then for some reason the happening places are Irish Bars. Much as they would be like in Aberdeen but a bit smaller as Mountain View ain't as big as Aberdeen. The Olympics were on the tele so I watch that for an hour or so. Well, I watch commercials for at least half the time. Place was pretty quiet but filling up as I left. I got asked for ID, over 21 only!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

San Francisco Day

I made my first trip to San Francisco today. I took the CalTrain from Mountain View to SF. Takes around 1 hr for a 30 mile journey. $10 for a day fare. I attended a seminar on marking a start up and made contacts. Then I hunted for Wi-Fi to keep up todate with my mail but with no success. So, then I hung out in the pub at 1 Market Street where I some local and order tea their too. The guys were from the area and we had a good chat. Then one of the guys from the lunch time meeting turned up. A small world. SDForum then hosted a open evening for new members. Picked up a few contact with IBM.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Santa Cruz 11 years on

Today, I visited Santa Cruz, 11 year after visiting Craig Watson and Glyn Taylor there when we had just graduated from University. I made a nostalgic visit to the beach front door where the lived. The place is still standing but the building is flaking. The local were on the beach, athletically playing volleyball and the surfers were out in half moon bay. 40 ft waves were streaming in. They looked like they were having fun. Brave guys.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Weather

The weather has settled into a predictable pattern, sun and blue skies. I need sun block as I feel the tops of my ears starting to burn. The only down side is that my hay fever is kicking in. Time to reach for the drugs cabinet again.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

First full week ahead

I've got a series of networking events to attend from Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz at the sea and my first trip to San Francisco.

Mountain View Home

My home for the next three months is 918 Washington Street, Mountain View, CA, 94043, USA. My contact no’s are +1 650 557 2051 Cell +1 650 714 9487

The local supermarket is just along the road, the Caltrain, 3 minutes and downtown Mountain view 4 minutes. What a great location. I’m lucky.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Swimming in the sun

Training starts later on a Saturday 7.45am so the sun is on the scene. I’ve never been dazzled swimming before but I was today. The sun is not too strong at present early on so no sun cream required. But I am told that will change.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Room Hunting

I chase up a few rooms that I had been interview for online before heading to the US. One is still not take so I arrange to meet up to review it. We get on well but since I am staying for three months, they decide not to take me. So, the search starts all over again and by tea time on Saturday I have found a place. What is even better, my house mate is cool guy and I move in on Sunday.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Buck's bar

There is restaurant called Buck’s bar that is legendary in the Internet industry. I visited it today. It out west, on Woodside. Mush like wood land in Scotland. Sandhill road is where there is more venture capital per square mile than probably any where in the world. Buck’s bar is where they go for break fast and where entrepreneur hang out for the opportunity to pitch their start up ideas for funding. I get told 7am on Wednesday are the best time to turn up. I’ll be back then.

First networking event

From my research I had identified the entrepreneurial associations that would best match my networking needs. The first was the Thursday evening. A panel of VC (venture capitalist, that people that invest in start up businesses) specializing in Life Science companies. The whole theme being that when people get disease or are ill they will invest in new technology to make them better, drugs, devices etc. However, won’t it be better if less people got ill or develop disease in the first place? I met the founder of www.nutrihand.com she thinks so. And luckily I was sitting next to her. Two entrepreneurs following a disease ‘prevention’ vision.

5AM Swimming

With the body clock all at sixes and sevens I was ready to get up at 2am Pacific time so getting up for my first training session with Mountain View Masters Swim Club www.mvm.org was no problem. I met coach Marcelo. It’s pitch black at 5am and not the warmest or coldest. But you don’t want to hang around getting from the changing rooms to the open air pool. I chose the second top lane, just where I was at SilverCity. The pool is set up for yards at present. You get 15 minutes for a warm up then the coach sets out a drill set and then talks us through the main set. It’s tough going.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

California Kid

I get the hire car and head south from the Airport to Mountain View where my motel is located. Chosen on price and it’s closeness to the swimming pool. Turns out a 2 minute walk. Totally bushed I last to 6pm USA time, 8 hour behind the UK and I don’t waken until 6am the next day.

Driving on the right
The basics first, find the supermarket, a US mobile, that is Cell phone to purchase. I drive up W El Camino Real to San Antonio retail park. Sear and Wallmart are there but I find a net store called, Trader Joe’s. A produce range familiar to my FairStory.co.uk shopping business. Radio shack for mobile phone.