Mike's Media Warehouse
Welcome!

Well it was only a matter of time. After launching the more theme-driven blogs of (100) Days of Summer and (31) Days of Berlin over the last six months (links also below), I’ve decided to create a more sustainable and ongoing one. It has been a long time coming…

Although I’m leaving the option to deviate, much of what I will focus on will be around innovation and entrepreneurship as I encounter, see and interpret it. It should hopefully be broadly focused from a geographical standpoint as a result of my travels and experience. I also expect it to possess a heavy dose of content around innovation and talent emerging out of universities, a particular area of interest to me.

So here we go and I hope there will be at least occasional value to you as a reader.

Test

Test

Back in April, I walked in to a meeting at Highland after watching about 100 video submissions for our Summer@Highland program. With close to 300 applicants in total, we needed to split up the batch and start narrowing down the list to a handful of teams that are going to become our office mates for Summer. Having virtually met each team for only 3 or 4 minutes in a video, I had no idea what to expect when the summer actually started. Every summer has its surprises (like last summer when I got 11 people stuck in an elevator in NYC for over an hour), highs, lows, and most of all, an amazing amount of energy injected into Highland’s offices. While we had moved into our new Cambridge office last October, this summer was our first program in the new space. And at least for me, it was an amazing one!

From Day 1, Highland was transformed by the new members of our family. Our relatively quiet office in Kendall Square was turned into a co-working space with some incredibly bright new minds. The lights of the 16th floor stayed on much later into the night than usual…  For me, I got the chance to work with almost all of the teams here in Cambridge (those Handybook guys were always on the phone when I tried to stop by). And it has been one of the best experiences I have had so far at Highland.

I would usually take a stroll to see the teams a few times a week to see how everyone was doing. Here is the usual landscape: Our London Conference room was home to three teams. From team Webcred, Nam would usually be asleep on the air mattress (with JetBlue eye mask on), Connor in a daze because he was up all night teaching his college classmates how to code so they could come work for him.  Arye and Laura would be packing up their silver briefcase with Axio headbands to go demo their concentration monitoring device, all garbed out in Axio t-shirts and hoodies. Ilya would always be stressing that the Home Care space has way too much regulation in place, and Faheem, well, who knew where the hell Faheem was!  

Walking down the hall, we would get to the usually dark office of Team Wellframe. However, the darkness was not for lack of people in the office. These guys get the award for most all-nighters. And I am sure that will not be the only award these guys ever get as Jake, Trishan, Vinnie and Archit are about to hit the hospital market by storm with their new Cardiac rehab app. 

Stepping out of the darkness and walking a little further down hall we would get to MyBetterFit. Ahh MyBetterFit. These guys really liked to redecorate their office. One day, a new couch appeared! Then, a second bean bag chair! And while there was sometimes the misunderstanding of what “This food is for Highland Partners Only” signs meant, MBF was hard at work building a next gen application for women choosing birth control (and if you ever need to find the good kind of Pop Chips or Pirates Booty, they would be hidden somewhere in their office). 

Finally, we get to Handybook. As I said before, they were always on the phone! So, I never got to say hi. But they have an impressive amount of sticky notes on the glass door. So they got that going for them, which is nice. 

The Summer@Highland teams turned our office into a bee hive of activity. With speakers in throughout the summer, trips to Martha’s Vineyard, late night games of Monopoly (Arye, don’t forget that I have future monopoly deals with you), and a lot of laughs, it was an amazing experience for me. It has truly been a pleasure to meet and work with every one of these teams. They are all an impressive group of entrepreneurs, and I only hope that our paths continue to cross. For me, the 100 days of summer flew by way too fast. I wish we could start all over again!

Hi this is a test of the captioning capabilities. Please take a look and let me know what you think and if it will work.

The Week Ahead

In terms of group activities this week, the Menlo Park teams will kick off the week with a group gathering (+ ice cream) to discuss areas of need with Highland staff and each other.  Like we did in Palo Alto earlier in June, on Tuesday east coast teams head over to IDEO in Cambridge to discuss “Design Thinking for Startups” with Colin Raney. As PR continues to become more important for teams, Mike Farber of LaunchSquad will be coming in on Thursday to discuss that topic and offer advice on how to approach given the resource constrained nature of teams at this stage.  Wrapping up the week, Karen Donoghue of Human Logic will be holding her second “User Experience Office Hours” for teams.

We mixed things up for our first East Coast Speaker Series and excused Highland folks from the room for the session on “Maximizing Your Summer@HIGHLAND Experience.” Speakers were founders from the S@HCP Class of 2011 and everyone was encouraged to be as candid as possible on how to make the most of the summer. A HUGE thanks to Aaron Ganick & Dan Ryan of ByteLight, Tuan Ho of Tivli, Shannon Varney of lemonwise, Tom Coburn of Jebbit, and Mike Norwood of Type-U for taking the time to come by and share their perspectives with the teams.

We mixed things up for our first East Coast Speaker Series and excused Highland folks from the room for the session on “Maximizing Your Summer@HIGHLAND Experience.” Speakers were founders from the S@HCP Class of 2011 and everyone was encouraged to be as candid as possible on how to make the most of the summer. A HUGE thanks to Aaron Ganick & Dan Ryan of ByteLight, Tuan Ho of Tivli, Shannon Varney of lemonwise, Tom Coburn of Jebbit, and Mike Norwood of Type-U for taking the time to come by and share their perspectives with the teams.

On the sidelines

This is amazing stuff!
Thomas Edison