Our network

In Search of Funding—East vs. West

Local entrepreneurs got the skinny on what it takes to get funded at Seed Stage Capital Outlook 2011, yesterday morning’s Potomac Techwire breakfast roundtable. Two panels—one with funders and one with entrepreneurs—generously shared their time and expertise with those of us engaged in the hunt for money.

The panels provided invaluable (and sometimes contradictory) insight. There’s too much to share in one posting, so we’ll focus on the top 10 tips from each group starting with the entrepreneurs today. They advised:

Earth Day: Safely Dispose of Techno Gadgets

Earth Day: Safely Dispose of Techno Gadgets

I am a Nerd Chick, but first and foremost I define myself by one word: Mommy. As a parent of young children, I can’t help but see the world through their eyes. My son celebrates the drive to the park, exclaiming “Look at all the TREES, Mommy! Mommy, there are TEN trees!” I love his pure joy with the world around him, and I would love to preserve that world for his generation and the generations to come. When I look around the house and see the bevy of old techno gadgets, batteries, ink cartridges and electronic toys the kids have outgrown, I wonder: is there a safe way to dispose of these things? We can all help our community by donating, recycling and/or safely disposing of old techno gadgets. Let’s help save the world this Earth Day, one monitor at a time!

Your first stop should be the EPA website  for an extensive list of companies that offer take backs, mail-in or even trade-in incentive programs for your e-waste products. For example, Office Depot applies a $2 cash award to your rewards card for each printer ink cartridge you turn in, and Sprint has a “Buy Back” program that gives Sprint customers an account credit for returning eligible Sprint or Nextel model of phones. There are also links to where to recycle any electronic device, like computers, printers, televisions and monitors.

If you’re not sure if you should sell or donate the gadget you’re ready to replace, enter the make and model number at www.ecosquid.com. After answering a few quick questions about the shape it’s in and the parts you have for it, you’ll be provided with a list of options for selling or recycling in your area. The account you create is free, and you can earn points for reselling or recycling your tech that you can use in their gadget store.

Would you like to do something for the environment AND help our servicemen and women? The “Cell Phones for Soldiers” program turns old cell phones into prepaid calling cards for U.S troops stationed overseas. Cards are given to the soldiers’ families to stay in touch with their loved-ones in the field. You can donate any cell phone by visiting http://cellphonesforsoldiers.com and clicking on “Donate a Phone” to get a pre-paid mailing label, or find local drop sites in your area. Before donating your used cell phone, just make sure that your personal data has been removed. Security experts recommend that you first log out of all internet-based remote accounts the phone is linked to, then “factory reset” your handset before passing it on. If you’re not transferring the SIM card to another handset, you’ll want to step on it, crush it or chop it up with scissors.

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop to recycle and donate to help others in your community, you can donate locally to charities like the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Many are considered e-waste certified, so they can properly dispose of any gadgets deemed un-sellable. Proceeds from working gadgets you donate help families in need in your local community, and any donations you make are tax-deductible. Go to www.salvationarmy.org and follow the locations link on the left side of the page, or http://locator.goodwill.org/ to locate a drop-off center near you.

Lastly, one of the best tech-savvy ways to help the environment is to consider waiting before you run out and buy that new gadget. I know, I know, it’s hard to pass up the shiny new toy (even harder to convince the kids to!), but holding out for the second, or even third, round of a product gives the manufacturer time to work out any development kinks. Buying later can save you money as most manufacturers will lower the price on the first generation gadget when they release a new version. The old saying, “patience is a virtue” can reduce electronic waste and save you a bit of cash too!

Do you have a tech-savvy way you’re helping to preserve the environment this Earth Day? We’d love to hear about it. Send us a note on Facebook (facebook.com/nerdsoncall) or email us at nerdchick@callnerds.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Baker Announces 2011 General Assembly Legislative Accomplishments for Prince George's County

This story comes to us from Scott L. Peterson:

Annapolis, MD: Today, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III was joined by the Prince George’s County Delegation and County Council to announce the accomplishments of the Prince George’s County legislative agenda for the 2011 Maryland General Assembly Session.  At the top of the list of achievements was a restoration of $10.3 million dollars in operating funds for the Prince George’s County Public Schools and secured $34.3 million for school construction.  

Security Advantages of Cloud Computing

Security Advantages of Cloud Computing

One of the hottest debates in the information technology community today centers around cloud computing. Proponents suggest the flexibility, scalability and economics of the cloud make it a logical choice, while opponents point to security and privacy concerns as reasons not to move to the cloud. From the perspective of a company focused on providing secure information technology solutions to large, very security-conscious customers, we believe it is possible for small to mid-sized organizations to have the best of both worlds: the benefits of the cloud can be affordably attained in a way that does not jeopardize an organization’s security.

Security is the big argument against cloud computing these days. However, one might argue that cloud computing can actually be more secure than locally managed systems, particularly for small to mid-sized companies. Here are a few specific examples:

Five Things to Tell Your First Time Startup Employees

Five Things to Tell Your First Time Startup Employees

The differences between larger companies and smaller ones are many and varied. In a large company, the fundamental truths are well known. The established company knows things like who the customers are, how much they will pay for the product, what they like about the product, etc. In a start up company, not so much. Discovery is key. Communication is vital. In a start up company, the potential customers and price are unanswered questions. And not only are things unknown, there is usually a limited time to determine the answers. All this mystery can be quite confusing to employees new to the start up environment. These formerly large company employees can enter a small business ill-prepared to succeed even though they’re fully capable of doing so. To change that, here are 5 things you should tell them.

 

Confident Kid: Build Him Up

Confident Kid: Build Him Up

Most parents want to provide the right encouragement to their children to help them succeed in all of their goals in life. Many of us don’t realize, however, just how much of an impact our words can have on our children’s self-confidence and odds of achieving their dreams. As parents, we are the biggest influence on how our children develop self-image and their outlook on life. What we say matters, and so does how and when we say it.

The Right Kind of Praise
Recent research that sent the entire parenting world into a state of disbelief has turned many of our ideas about how praise works upside down. As it turns out, simply telling a child they are smart and praising their intelligence isn’t enough to develop confidence; in fact, it has the opposite effect. So should we not praise our kids? Absolutely, we should, but the research has proven that there is a more effective method of using praise to develop self-confidence.

Day Trippin'; Where to Go, What to Do around Metro DC

Day Trippin'; Where to Go, What to Do around Metro DC

What is your idea of a perfect spring day? Sipping vino on the Potomac? Sightseeing with map in hand at historic landmarks? Riding adrenaline-pulsing roller coasters? All of these are available here in the mid-Atlantic region within an hour (or two) from home. Decide what mood you're in, fill 'er up and hit the road with a friend, alone or with the whole family in tow.

IF YOU LIKE ADVENTURE