Water leaks suck (and how to save yourself with Notion)…

When the floods came through Boulder in 2013, we were incredibly lucky to have avoided any major flooding.  We had some water seeping in through the foundation and some panic set in as it filled the mechanical room, but we pretty much dodged the bullet compared to the major issues so many of our friends experienced.

Our “flood” happened almost a year later, and sadly could have been avoided if we had a water detection system in place. We were in the mountains for the 4th of July and came back to find our dining room chandelier dripping water like a hose that wasn’t fully turned off. Turns out we had a toilet tank on the 2nd floor crack while we were away and it had spent the better part of the week leaking water. The leak managed to get through the bathroom floor, to the dining room ceiling, and then through the hardwood floors below.

So, in came ServPro with their huge fans and dehumidifiers (note: the house was now a balmy 90 degrees inside) to dry us out. We just, (yes…just in the two weeks) had the floors redone, but there is still painting and woodwork to be completed. Pretty sure it will be October before we’ve fully recovered.

What really frustrated me was knowing that the damage could have been caught much earlier and probably avoided if we had a good detection system in place. Turns out, there is a Techstars Boulder company called Notion working on this very problem. Too bad I didn’t have one of their prototype systems running. They are just about to bring their home intelligence system to market, which, of course can detect water leaks and send you real-time notifications. It also can detect movement, smoke, heat, and noise. Thus, I’m pretty anxious to get my hands on a Notion bundle and deploy these little sentinels.  I just backed their Kickstarter campaign so I could get the system a bit early.

FWIW, I had looked at some of the other systems out there but never pulled the trigger. The cost or the size of the sensors was a huge turnoff in this category.  I’ve got Nest, Protect, Revolv, Hue, and Dropcam so I’m loving all of the automation and convenience coming with these IoT devices.  However, one thing I’ve really noticed is that UI/UX really matter and that the system has to be truly smart. The Notion system will not just say “alert” in some room, but actually tell you what is going on (movement, water, temp, etc) so you know what you are dealing with. I think installing something like is going to be come pretty standard. Would be smart for insurance companies to offer discounts if you’ve got an early detection system in place like this, similar to what the do for home alarms.

So Notion, I’m a backer – now HURRY UP AND SHIP!

 

FG Press & Uncommon Stock – a new Startup Thriller!

Sometimes 140 characters just doesn’t do it. (still love you @twitter!) so its time to dust off this blog and offer up a few more words. I haven’t posted here since the back surgery. I’m mostly better, more on that soon.

I just read  an advance copy of Uncommon Stock, a new novel by Eliot Peper, published on FG Press. (Full disclosure, I’m also an author on FG Press). I’m not going lie, its hard to put down! Its a fun and all-too-real fictional journey through the dynamics that are building a tech business.

I won’t spoil it all here, but you can grab an excerpt on the FG press page or go directly over to Amazon and get your own copy today! Eliot does a great job with this book. It’s really fun to read if you are curious about the 1st person experience in startups, have lived it yourself, or want to escape for a little while. I’m sure its enjoyable for 100 other reasons as well, but that’s my short list. Pro Tip: Follow Mara, the protagonist, on Twitter!

Related: I’m really excited about what the Foundry team is doing with FG Press. I’m honored to be on the platform as a first time author, and can’t wait to see more books launch this way. It does feels like this is the future, jetpacks and all!

Ouch goes the Back

Since I’m up at 5am and lying on the floor due to the throbbing in my back and leg I might as well complain a little about it. About two weeks ago a progressively worsening disc in my lower back (L5 for those that care) finally ruptured and I’ve been a hot mess since then.

The good news is that I know I’m not alone. I’ve already talked to at least a dozen people who have had variations of this same issue and have made recoveries via both surgical and non-surgical paths. Thank you to those of you that have already made recommendations, shared your stories, sympathized and told me what to do.

I’ve now had a good year of progressively worse “episodes” where the herniation caused pain and back problems, but this is by far the worst I’ve had so far. I was already doing all of the right things…or so I thought.

I’ve had to shelve any riding, lifting, skiing, etc – no exercise for the last two weeks. Incredibly foreign concept for me. What I feel the worst about is letting other people down. I have had to cancel work trips, events, DJ gigs, meetings, etc. It’s very true that you we often take our health for granted and you don’t fully appreciate it until its gone.

I’m really looking forward to entering the next phase  – recovery and strengthening. There will be a new normal, but I’m ready for it.

I’m a Techstar (again!)

Exciting News – I’ve just joined the super awesome Techstars team!  I’ll be focusing on alumni and acting as conduit and enabler for the incredible network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors the platform has grown to encompass. Check out the cool infographic we posted yesterday to see what I mean. My company, Filtrbox, went through Techstars Boulder in 2007 – the inaugural class! Since that time I’ve stayed close to Techstars and acted as a mentor, investor and supporter over the years.

I took a partial sebbatical over the summer after leaving Jive (more on that in another post) and am super psyched to jump into this role. I’m joining Techstars at a really exciting time –  David and team have truly stacked the deck with some great people who share the vision and passion for helping entrepreneurs get off the ground.

I’m posting this from Techstars #foundercon – our annual founders meeting. It feels great to have come “full circle” and now be part of the organization that helped launch Filtrbox a good 5 years ago!

In other news, this also means I’m going to start blogging (here) again and be in regular communication on all my favorite topics. Switching on Creator mode again!