We posted about this a couple of times already, but keep in mind you can read the entire framework of Startup Island; what Islanders we are looking at, who we are contacting, what costs we are taking on…everything, at data.startupisland.tv. We reorganized it today, and it’s a lot easier to navigate and understand.
That being said, we have not been as honest as we should be, or as dedicated in recording conversations. From here on out every conversation that has any relevance will be availible on therecordings.tumblr.com. After the epic-fail to record a great conversation with Amir Savar we recorded the conversation with Craig on Money vs. Passion.
Keep in mind too, theemails.tumblr.com has all the emails we are sending. This is about as close as you can get to a self imposed Patriot Act.
It began while we were working on wireframes for life breath and the 99Designs campaign when Devon decided it was be the absolute-king-boss move ever to develop this awesome new service. However, conversation soon turned too Devon stating, “I want to shoot shit into space.” So we thought, “we own a wolf, why do we not have satellite time?” After some quick googling some interesting fellow posted this question to Yahoo Answers….the best place for espionage, obviously.
[Answer 2 is great]
We rallied to the defense of his curiosity, and knowing that Beidou (Chinese GPS system) has been launching space spy stuff for the past couple of years, and beginning 2012 they are launching a whole bunch more. Annnnd because the Chinese are notorious for just throwing stuff up with loopholes (ok just sometimes) we figured that if anyone would allow us to rent some satellite time they would. 2 hours later, Google Translate, and dozens of forums/ pages/ blogs/ watch dog sites we found leaked mockups of the Chinese Satelliate Xichang-LC1B, which I figured would be easier to find dirt on as it had a massive system failure in April 09. On the mockup, the designer had posted his email in the corner….ya I know we are so tech james bond….so we returned to the Yahoo Answer to help the weird bro out who wanted a spy satellite on an app and be awesome for finding secret Chinese stuff. Low and behold the question was DELETED.
So now we at Startup Island have taken matters into our own hands, and sent this email to the Chinese architect which is at theemails.tumblr.com. One Xiao (small in chinese) Step for China, one Da (big) Step for Startup Island’s death ray in space.
After 4 Years, Will I Graduate? Should I? (RECORDING)
[DON’T LISTEN TO IT YET!]
Today, I was going to post a funny conversation we had with a very nervous operator from True Religion on our new audio recorder. We felt the new recorder would help you to connect with the conversations and start to hear what we are hearing…total transparency.
Well today, those plans changed. Due to a weird computer glitch (which my university is hesitant to say is that bad) I had to have a conversation with the faculty about potentially being held back for another semester this fall. No one’s fault but the computer, but just so you understand the gravity of the situation. I am supposed to be graduating this May. I am graduating not because I necessarily believe in a degree, but because I believe you need to take life, your career, your faith, and your actions into your own hands. If college compliments that then great, but overall I feel it is inefficient. I am graduating because my parents and grandparents have sacrificed countless hours of their lives to get me here. It is important to note that, even if the degree may not matter, their love and charisma made me love doing cool stuff…just not necessarily school. (This is not a personal recommendation to your philosophy on education, make your own damn decisions!)
That being said, and for the sake of total authenticity, we recorded 15 minutes of the conversation…
[NOW LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION]
**LEGAL NOTE he was informed.**
[WHEN IT IS DONE OR WHEN YOU ARE BORED, KEEP READING]
The most incredible part, beyond the conversation, is the man with whom I was talking. Learned eyes, calm spirit, driven, and articulate. Beyond the intense, incredible content (at least for me), the story changes as soon as I asked him if he “did debate?”. He, and the rest of the conversation, did a 180 degree turn. Sadly, this all happens after I pressed the stop recording button.
His name is Hugh Jackson and as the initial tension deflated, with common ground found in a debating history, I continued the post-recording conversation with “So, what is your story?”. He paused. Now, I would argue that the right kind of authentic person will know you’re serious and when it’s casual. He paused, and that’s when the real conversation started.
He is clearly intelligent, and he will also read this post so WHATS UP BRO? SO FLATTERING. It was a long conversation, about 30 minutes post-recording.
If he had one year left, what is the coolest most bad ass thing he could possibly go do:
He wants to do something that gives him enough money to spend the rest of his life going throughout the world raising awarness for missionary programs that actually make great progress.
So what is his real dream?
Go throughout the world and raise awareness for
What could this mean for Startup Island?
Well we might have a new islander on the radar. I asked why the hell he is just there GO DO IT, and the money, people, labor etc will come. Not like he is wasting his time by working now in admissions, but money is certainly a stupid reason to keep you from your dreams because in essence if money has your dreams, that money bought your dreams. Too me, thats not dreaming.
How can thinking like Startup Island change his life?
He gets “it”, whatever “it” is. I am Christian, he is Christian. That does not mean that I am marginalizing anyone reading this post who is not of that belief system, but the point is to say that he is very grounded in his spirituality. I think he is intrigued, but I will keep you posted if he decides to accept my invitation to come to a introductory meeting this Sunday night.
What story is he bringing?
If he is willing to start, just start, his concept of missionary illumination I think that it would give a great faith based story for Christians and a great way to keep a pulse of spiritual innovation for anyone not Christian. There is Kiva for micro-finance ideas, Kickstarter for entrepreneurship ideas, why is there not a service to help crowd fund spiritual ideas? He could, and totally should do it. He is young, articulate, obviously a great sales guy, smart, and for heaven’s sake he is in a cubicle (No offense to you dude, all jobs have sacrifices and maybe the one you want requires it). Keep in mind, all of the future islanders we are looking at is broken down in our islanders section at data.startupisland.tv
All this too say, who would have known the same guy telling you “you can’t graduate” would turn out to be a part of Startup Island.
PS: MONEY SHOULDN’T OWN YOUR DREAMS. If you agree, post that on your FB status. Because WTF, those are the last things money should have a hold on. And just to lighten the mood, here is a sick song that I am raging to
We will have the 3D development frames up tonightish so you can see what it looks like, but for those of you who we have not told yet, every islander wears a unique Dogtag with two red LED countdown timers encased in matte black steel. The top countdown is the user-determined time till you achieve your next big goal; winning a challenge, launching a concept, etc. The bottom one is only set once and estimates the remaining time you have in life—the calculations will be another post.
The goal of the LifeBreath DogTag is to remind you to live life to the fullest, and invest wisely every moment you have. It’s stylish yet attention getting presence gives opportunity to introduce the authenticity of Startup Island and your involved in it.
All that too say, we googled how to use Alibaba (a potential option for connecting with foreign outsourcing firms) and discovered the high risk of fraud. So we traveled around the web for a while reading prototyping how-to documents when I finally remembered Apple released a document describing all of the technology component companies they use. WA LA! We will go down that list with the developed wireframe and get price quotes.
These things are going to be so bad ass, ceramic fused steel so they are heavy and tangible. A special weighted battery, which will power the small displays for 40+ years, and a waterproof casing will make this so cool.
**To premise this whole post this is not legal advice, and most lawyers reading this are likely just shaking their heads right now. CALM DOWN CHRIS RHYME. :)**
Today was getting-legal day, mostly because we are trying to factor in how we would take in money from supporters and sponsors. I first went to Trademarkia.com and did a quick scope for “Startup Island.” Nothing was registered so I feel comfortable requesting a Trademark from the USPTO. Normally I would do some in depth research in any conflicts came up, which would mean we need to make sure that our class of trademark was open.
Once that was said I jumped over to LegalZoom.com. There are other, albeit cheaper alternatives but I use these guys out of habit (not a rat on you them at all).
The trademark registration process is very simple, and took about 15 minutes to file the use of the name so we can pair it to a bank account.
Now for the best part, I went back to Trademarkia and looked for example trademarks. I found an ideal framework in Jersey Shore®… Gym Tan Entrepreneurship.
To sum up:
1. Scan Trademarkia for the name your interested in. Do more in depth stuff if there are potential conflicts.
2. File on LegalZoom.com
3. Receive Trademark.
Be authentic, love,
UPDATE: Just got a email back from LegalZoom saying I had way to many “classes” included in the trademark filling. They were helpful and offered some options to focus the description. Either way, PARTY ROCK!
It’s so often in movies that you see an idea or a plan spring into the protagonist’s head, only to be followed by a musical montage of that character completing the hours of what would normally be considered as dry/boring/dirty work, which then transitions the story into the emotionally charged climax. I think that to be a mistake, at least from my point of view. Only portraying the emotional highs and lows of any given story (the need to solve a problem before and the rewards received after its resolution) fails to take into account that without troughs you have no roller coaster and without hard work your resolution will not exist. Yet we are either told, believe hard enough that things will work out, or believe in chance, because you don’t control your destiny.
Here you and I are, sitting at our respective computer screens, collectively zoning in on some island out in Thailand (a rhyme which I’m sure we’ll be using later) that neither of us have been to before. At this situation, you think, “How the hell will they get there?”. At this situation, I think “How the hell will we get there?” followed closely by a “What the hell are we doing?”
The temptation here, for me at least, is not to focus on how cool the idea is or the various encouraging words from both friends and industry leaders. The temptation is to simply stare at the upcoming musical montage and know that we will be the unedited and uncut version of that work and that “Gonna Fly Now” and “Till I Collapse” aren’t gonna start bumping 24/7. Doing things is hard and I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t intimidated by the logistics of this whole project.
However, I think that what is most interesting about this island, this idea, is that it transcends where we are going. Some of you run multi-million dollar corporations and others are just curious about what an entrepreneur looks like in the wild. But I think regardless of where we come from or what confidence we place in ourselves, there is something to us trying hard in spite of us. We are going to the island to say “Look, we don’t have much, but we have an idea and we have a passion for that dream. So who said we needed much?”
I love that I can be real with you and tell you that it is scary to be a founding member of this project, mostly because the “How?” for Startup Island is still up in the air. But that’s the point. If I’m feeling anxious, I’m sure some of you would too. If I’m concerned about sponsors, plagued with personal problems, or feel unprepared for a given situation, I’m confident those feelings exert themselves in you somehow as well. Our goal here is to break down the barriers of “behind closed doors” so that the mental disconnect between our education of what it means to be successful and achieving actual success is bridged.
One of my favorite written works is from Marianne Williamson. She said:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
We want to show you what it is that eats at us and thereby free you from what eats at you. Transparency gives way to better decisions and greater impact. As for Startup Island, so what if we don’t how the hell we’re getting there? The point is that we know we will get there, not because we’re confident in connections or business knowledge or Thai weather patterns, but because we know what we’re capable of and we know that the world is ours for the taking.
I’m both excited and tired at the moment, but I can speak for myself and the rest of the Island Team that we are stoked for what is to come, whatever that may be. You can be sure to catch those highs and lows of our journey, but know that as we post photos, videos, and blog entries we are inviting you into our story. And whether you want to continue to watch from your computer screen or to get off the bench, please remember that you and I are equally capable.
We are crazy. We are vulnerable. We are young.
But let’s not kid ourselves…when has that ever stopped us?
I have not been as transparent as I should, I need to get better at this openness thing. We received a follow up email from GoPro which offered 40% off any GoPro Camera. After talking with Craig several times, and leaving a voicemail with the guy at GoPro we think there are two problems:
1- Even though we could just buy the cameras and go for it, the point is that we started with a domain, phone line, and some great conversation. Using our own money for these cameras differentiates us from this beginning because that money (albeit a huge blessing) is from other beginnings (other projects).
2- We want to work with people who believe in the higher values of transparency in business and authenticity in early Startups. We see this as a practice that should be adopted by the whole world. It is more than cubicle hatred in an office, it’s hating the fact that once you become successful your job is to defend the legitmacy of your title and in doing so continuously isolate yourself. GoPro makes a camera that can keep up with you when you are at your best, in the water, snow, and sand and they do a kick ass job at this because they believe in the higher value that you should be able to share and capture your most amazing moments.
At Startup Island we believe that amazing moments are both physical and intellectual therefore we want cameras that can be there in both which is why we approached GoPro. Clearly this is great branding for GoPro but that’s not the point, the point is that if they believe in capturing all of the extremes in your life they are the brand for us. We see for GoPro the same transparency as you see in us. We want you to know the GoPro guys personally, to know the intricacies that go into their cameras, and understand that they are real people building a kick ass product to share your life while investing the remaining time of theirs. The first step from them is a nod, not to us, but to entrepreneurs who work transparently and openly.
In order for us to keep our vision and to truly start from the beginning we want a real face to face hangout with them not discounts.
It looks like this:
1. hang out with the sponsor team at GoPro.
2. We all become friends (who will work together in the future on all sorts of stuff).
3. Of course they give us cameras, but that is not the point. We could just take the discount and go, but then we lost touch with a bunch of cool guys who clearly “get it” for heaven sakes they called a voicemail back from what must have sounded like a crazy man, “Hi, blah blah we have this island, and we need some sweet cameras from an extreme camera company.”
4. You realize “holy sh$/*t that is awesome, I want to make something really cool now.”
5. You realize that being honest, dropping titles, and working hard leads to kick ass stuff.
6. Above all, you think different, and the farther you go down that path the greater a gift you make to the world.
7. You solve cancer. (Or do some other bad ass thing)
Therefore the world was informed that extreme is captured by GoPro cameras, but more importantly that relationships and openness leads to the best work environment. And of course some awesome GoPro staff come check out the island, because they are our friends and fellow believers in openness. Also, GoPro rocks, as soon as they know us, GoPro will be on the island. I will keep you all posted on what they decide…I know we need cameras so you can start seeing this happen. I am at Kairos Society For the next two days hit me up if you want to learn more about the island and you live in NYC.
Be authentic, love,
UPDATE 1: Left a Vmail right before leaving for Kairos on Thursday.
UPDATE 2: Just emailed our guy in the GoPro office this post…will keep you posted.