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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Jason Washo interviewed on tecBRIDGE Radio

Jason Washo, owner of Sho Technology Solutions in downtown Scranton and someone who I’ve worked with on multiple client projects and who has become a friend over the last year, was recently interviewed on tecBRIDGE Radio.

Here’s just one bit:

I work hard, and I will work to bring things to close and I think a lot of people won’t do that. Getting something 80% of the way there is easy but bringing it to 100% I think is one the hardest parts. That is something I’m committed to.

Jason’s interview exudes positivity about our area, good work ethic, and a drive to do a good job. We can all learn from Jason.

Interviewed on tecBRIDGE Radio Episode 5

Phil Condron and I were recently interviewed on tecBRIDGE Radio – a radio show cum podcast about business, entrepreneurship and the knowledge economy in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Topics included marketing for small businesses, who should learn to code, and the history of Condron Media.

Full disclosure: Condron Media is a reoccurring sponsor of tecBRIDGE Radio as we, like tecBRIDGE, believe that right now and right here in NEPA it is the best time and place to start and grow a business.

You can subscribe to tecBRIDGE Radio on iTunes, Google Play.

You can also listen to this episode right here:

Attending January’s NEPA.js meet up

Aaron Rosenberg NEPA.js

Photo: Aaron Rosenberg presenting an intro to Node.js.

January’s NEPA.js meet up, the second monthly meet up for this group, was held on Tuesday evening at the Scranton Enterprise Center. This group, though only a few months old, is starting to get its legs underneath it and it is really great to see the community building.

The meet up’s discussion was centered around an introduction to Node.js and it was extremely well presented by Aaron Rosenberg. Aaron did an excellent job explaining the project’s raison d’être, history, and growth. One bit I especially liked was him showing how the browser’s JavaScript engine processed requests using Loupe. All-in-all an excellent introduction. (Link to presentation slides forthcoming. Check back here.)

Following Aaron’s presentation was Mark Keith showing some real live coding of a simple Node app using Express, a framework for building Node web apps, which quickly devolved slightly into discussions on scope, globals, “this“, etc. which was all good because the attendees were steering the conversation.

After the two hour meet up we made our way through the parking lot to Ale Mary’s for a beer or two. I’m looking forward to February’s meet up.

Thanks goes to Aaron and Mark for putting together the presentations and to tecBRIDGE for the pizza.

Attending the Inventor’s Guild at TekRidge

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Last night in Jessup at TekRidge, I attended the Inventor’s Guild – another meet up orchestrated by the folks at TecBridge – to meet inventors from the area. The turnout was very good (about 25 or so I’d say) and I’m hoping this event happens again.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that there were three presenters that had just a short presentation each. First was Jim Babinski who gave an inspiring short presentation about the state of crowdfunding using online services like Kickstarter and Indie GoGo. It is an amazing time where an inventor can find customers for their product even before she manufactures it.

Second was the founders of Kraken Board Sports talking about their start in manufacturing their products. They assured aspiring inventors that it is important to learn as you build, to iterate your product, and to pay close attention to what your market can bear.

Third was Bob Cohn who invented a safe needle that would protect the doctors and nurses who used it from accidentally sticking themselves with the needle after treating an infected patient. The licensing deals from this needle has earned him and his company millions of dollars and so Cohn had many lessons to share with the group regarding patents and licensing. Cohn is currently working on the Deep Grill.

After the presentations I was able to catch up with the folks at Site2, which is an excellent company here in Scranton that I recommend you check out, Fader Plugs, and Kids Ride Safe. All excellent things happening in our area.

Attending the NEPA.js meetup

NEPA.js

On Tuesday I attended the first monthly NEPA.js meetup at the Scranton Enterprise Center. Mark Keith, a JavaScript developer who somewhat recently moved into the area, was the organizer and TecBridge – who organizes the NEPA Tech meetup group – helped to coordinate, host, organize and provide pizza for this brand-new group.

The common refrain in our area is that those of us who build software products, enjoy a good bit of nerdery, or want to reach out and socialize with people who know what a npm package is… are somehow alone. That simply isn’t true and the first NEPA.js meetup proved that. Twenty-five or so people made it out to this first meetup even with the snow. There were young and not-so-young, men, women, and even those that didn’t know what JavaScript was but knew it was important for them to understand it.

After some introductions Mark did a great job of giving an overview of what JavaScript the language was and how it can be used. He kept it high-level and, though I’m sure some didn’t understand everything he said, surely they left knowing more about what JavaScript is then when they walked in. We also had those in the room that have been developing with JavaScript for years and years – and even one Mozilla team member.

The group meets again next month and will continue to do so the second Tuesday of each month. The group also has a Slack channel so if it you want in just ping me on Twitter.

Attending TecBridge’s Entrepreneurship Institute

On Friday I was able to pop into TecBridge’s Entrepreneurship Institute at Marywood University. It is an event designed to pull back the veil of starting, funding, branding, and generally running a company.

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When I arrived the panel for early stage funding was going on and the questions and answers seemed to be going pretty well. If you’ve ever been to an event like this the questions were the usual – “how are valuations created?”, “how can I sell my product overseas?”, etc. I believe in our area there isn’t as much awareness of how early stage startups are founded, teams built, and funded and so events like this one are sorely needed. Entrepreneurship isn’t part of the lexicon here in northeastern Pennsylvania. There are some people that have that spirit and have aspirations of building great products or companies. But not nearly enough.  Go to New York or the Bay Area and you’ll see events like this happening every week. If we want to see this sort of spirit happening here we need to continue to beat the drum. Tweet. Write blog posts. Start meetups. Have chats over beers. Continue to let people know that we can build great products and companies here and that there are tons of resources to help them do so.

The breakout sessions, or workshops, were where most of the practical value of this event was likely received by the attendees. Rather than a panel simply answering questions broadly, the workshops helped the attendees to work through a problem and see the processes work step-by-step. I was able to pop into a few of them – notably Kathryn Bondi’s workshop and Mandy Pennington’s workshop. Both would add extremely practical processes and workflows to any entrepreneur’s bag of tricks. Essential tools to help any one starting a business.

Here are a few more poorly shot photos:

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More of these types of events are needed for our area. In fact, they don’t even need to be as well resourced or supported as this one was to be successful. Marywood’s campus is a gorgeous venue but these sorts of discussions can just as easily be held in the conference rooms, lunch rooms, pubs, or high school gymnasiums of our area. I’m glad we have TecBridge to continue to create and help promote these sorts of things. Even you do not follow TecBridge on Twitter do so.

I look forward to popping into as many as I can.