This is an on-going effort to raise the $70,000 for the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis.
Purple Ant is a small company and was on the upswing of adding employees when the economy crashed almost 2 years ago. We've since closed our offices and now work out of our house, but still are working on our commercial products we eventually plan to sell, as well as supporting our consulting clients.
What I'm doing?
There are two projects which I'm running in my not-paid-for spare time: starting a Product Managers association in SA and a 'Netflix' for books.
South Africa doesn't have great access to books (expensive) and the public reading infrastructure is poor. I believe you are what you read and for our people to grow and develop, we need inexpensive access to top reading material and hence I started the John Galt Library: www.johngaltlibrary.com. One of our niches is in the collection of software books I make available. If you're serious about software development there is a 'biblical' list one should read and I'm continuously investing in adding these books to the library. Attending BoS would help me, and indirectly help others, to find the best software reads.
Product Management is not a well known discipline in South Africa (even in software circles). I've really found a calling in it as a vocation and am gathering together other Product Managers and folk who perform product management functions in order that we can all learn from each other and collectively lift our game. Attending BoS is a definite product management skill enhancer which I intend to share with Product Managers in SA.
Why I can't come?
Cost. From Johannesburg, it's a long expensive flight - 21hrs. Accommodation and conference fee are even more than the flight. The 7:1 exchange rate doesn't help either :-p
Neil, I've followed BoS for a while now. Its a great resource so thanks for the initiative.
After reading about Neil's offer, I realized that we could go a couple of steps further and actually go into their organization and give them free training and ongoing support in securing their computers.
We've attended the BoS '08 and '09 conferences and loved them, but our sales have taken a very dramatic decline in the past 14 months, and the decision was made in early spring to opt out of this years conference. It was purely economical.
I'd like to attend BoS 2010 but I've given my conference budget away to members of my development team for this year, so I won't be able to attend otherwise.
I have been able to volunteer a small amount of time to help them launch a very basic website (www.informalu.org). You can see from the website that they have put a lot of effort into recruiting people who are willing to share their knowledge on a wide variety of interesting topics. But you can also see that a lot of work needs to be done to present and convey their ideas and goals. They are a non-profit and as a matter of principle refuse to accept any taxpayer funding, so they are relying entirely on private volunteer efforts and contributions for startup.
If I were to receive a free ticket for the Business of Software 2010 conference, I would pay it forward by volunteering at least 3 full days of my time to work with Kirk and Kevin to develop a top-notch website for the Informal University.
I hate to make whiny-sounding excuses as to why I can't afford the conference, but since you asked, I'm a relatively young (27 y.o.) self-employed entrepreneur and at this time my budget just can't be stretched far enough to allow for it.
Thanks for your consideration,
Since 2006 I'm involved with a non profit organization which provide school kits to poor orphans in Morroco (North Africa)
I've used my marketing skill for coming up with the idea
of the non profit logo :
Logo : http://picasaweb.google.fr/tarek.demiati/AlhambraLogo#550632...
Proof that I did request this logo :
http://www.ikarma.com/id/9572 (check at the bottom of the pagge)
Proof of our actions :
Young kids saying thank you to Alhambra :
School kit distribution :
Inside the school bag :
I can't afford to pay, because I've had a sciatica which has disabled me to do any Freelance work for 6 months, I'm freelancing to finance the release of an upcoming product idea. I'm pretty much a bootstrapped single founder, with a stay at home mum and 3 wonderful kids ... So my budget is tight
I'm starting a new software business, but I'm not a developer. I come from a product manager background, therefore most of the capital (my personal savings from a couple successful startups in the past) I'm using to start the business is going to the developers who are actually doing the work and the rest is being saved for marketing later. The devs are a couple of amazing guys who are building an amazing product.
What I'll do if you grant me a ticket to BoS 2010:
There is a local nonprofit here in Jacksonville that tutors adults, helping them learn to read, write, and do basic math with the aim of helping them find jobs to support their families. They need a website to help raise funding, but they don't have the funds to do it properly (catch22). If you give me a ticket to BoS 2010, I'll build them the best damn website ever.
(Honestly, I'm going to build the website for them whether you give me the ticket or not, but this is supposed to look like a "pay-it-forward" scenario.)
P.S. Due to a mishap by United Airlines, I have a free ticket anywhere in the US that I would use for this trip. Also, I have a friend in Boston who is willing to let me sleep on his couch. So, the only expense left to cover is the ticket to BoS 2010.
P.P.S I want to attend BoS 2010 because our product will be launching around that time and I want to make sure I'm positioning it properly for the most potential.
Thanks for your consideration!
My commitment: For more than a year now I've been running a twitter account (innovacr) where I curate articles, books and talks about innovation and entrepreneurship with the mission to foster innovation in Costa Rica (my home country) and this week I've put the final touches to a posterous site that will be used to accommodate similar findings but in a more search and read-friendly approach along with adding comments of my own and guest leaders not only in innovation but also in how we can make a better job at changing the mindset of fellow costarricans towards bootstrapping and startup founding. You can take a look at the new website at http://www.innovatiquicia.com . Whether I get selected or not my commitment is already on the run but I assure you that if I do get selected I will do my best to bring the goddies of the conference not only in practice in my project but into the innovator community of costa rica, which btw is one of the most technology advanced in latin america.
At the moment, I am heavily committed to my current venture, but I will pledge two weekends (32 hours) to help a non-profit (preferably one on this board) that is in need of a CMS website using the WordPress platform. Just provide the hosting account, content, and existing (if available) graphic assets and I will handle the rest - including the design and skinning of the site.
In the past I have helped with numerous other non-profit sites including children.org and various youth league and team sites such as potentialplayers.com and jayhawkinvitational.com (including a registration system processing over 30K each year for the foundation).
I would really appreciate the opportunity to attend this year's BOS conference. My partner and I have been neck deep in development of our current app since February, while at the same time juggling full-time jobs and families. We have been saving every penny to bootstrap our company and do not have the extra capital to send me on our dime this year. We can afford to spend the travel and hotel expenses and if chosen, will gladly send verification of my airline ticket.
We have a launch date of February 2011 and feel this conference could help us with many of the marketing/pricing/capital/going out on your own types of questions we are facing.
Thank you for giving all of us this opportunity to attend!
The reason I can't buy my own ticket is, well, I'm unemployed at the moment. It's good in that I have time to go to the conference in the first place but bad in that I'll have to stay in a cheap hotel (and the flight is free thanks to my wife who works for an airline).
In essence you buy a book and give it to someone else on the promise that they will give it another person and so-forth. Each person can input the email address of the person they gave it to. A Google map would track the book, thus allowing the person to visualize their impact.
I wrote about it here:
Why a person would use it:
It would be 100% open-source and community driven. However, I think it's a great idea, but I'm not sure that others do because I have solicited for feedback and have received little.
I can't afford the conference because I'm trying to save every penny in attempt to someday bootstrap my company.
Thanks for your consideration. Also, I would love it if anyone else had feedback on MindSpread.
Recently a fellow entrepreneur (non-tech) asked me for some advice about how to get his website off of the ground. He has one particularly complex requirement - a configuration tool for his product. Previously I told him how to find the resources he would need to get it built. While I can visualize exactly how his tool needs to be programmed, it would be difficult for me to find the time to help him myself.
If it will help me get to BoS this year I will make the time and offer to build the app for him myself, for free (hoping my wife will forgive me). The cost of developing this app would easily be greater than the conference cost. Having known this guy for a few years I will take it one step further and ask that he pay it forward too, I know he will. Trying to keep the positive energy flowing.
Having watched a lot of the videos from the previous BoS conferences I know attending in person would be invaluable.
Good luck to all, thanks for the opportunity.
The group project never happened, but I think it has some real possibilities. I started to approach the local blood banks and their social media advocates, but then I realized the idea is too hard to visualize for non-developers, and the protocol is just complicated enough that a prototype was needed. I am working on a demo, and I'm learning about the simplest (hah!) Facebook app.
The basic idea is that when A holds secret information about B, and A cannot release it, there should be a protocol for B to use a secure token presentable to A to confirm that claim. Thus, A is maintaining data security by not actively releasing the information, but B cannot lie about the information because the claim is verifiable.
My ulterior motive is by posting in this thread, I might recruit someone else that finds this project interesting, or knows details about protocols as described above.
At BoS, I'm sure I would absorb a lot of new details about marketing social software and what techniques work to help spread apps among friends.
My consulting business is slow and I'm in a pre-startup phase on a bigger project, nailing down the IP, so BoS is way out of my price range. In fact, if I got a free ticket, I'd get there but I'd also be immediately googling for a cheap couch in the area.
I will put up a wordpress website that advertises giving 10 non-profit organizations a free website. They will need to explain why a website would help and expand their initiatives. We will post the organizations and allow the public to vote on the orgs. The top 10 voted for after 1 month will receive the free websites. :-) I love helping and giving. Sometimes when the load is too heavy, sometimes you have to give a little to lighten it up and move forward. :-)
Tom Vellaringattu, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am from Mongolia and am working in South Korea in software company, precisely web solution developing company. I am working here as a marketer after fininshing my MBA here in Korea. However, Software industry is totally new to me and I am having really difficult time to sell and market the software. I believe I can gain practices and know-hows of business of software if i attend the conference. Also, i will be able to build networks in this industry. It will be whole new opportunity for my career as a software marketer.
Our company is small company and i really want to help the company to get bigger and expand its market into foreign markets. because of lack of know-hows and knowledge of software business I could not do it right and well.
Since company is small, they are not willing to finance me to attend the conference. i have to finance myself on own. Therefore, i need the free ticket for Business of Software 2010.
Looking forward your great support!
I harbor a desire to lean boostrap my own entrepreneurial venture and become profitable with no resources other than my own sweat equity. After getting customers and becoming cash flow positive I want to grow the startup and exit in a meaningful way.
I need help in understanding how to do market research, how to identify a target market, if a problem is important to solve and whether it is worth solving. I need a reality check to see how I measure up with other entrepreneurs.
The BOS conference will be an ideal avenue to learn from illustrious programmers and techies who have already overcome these challenges and self-doubts. BOS will show me the way and put me on the path to eternal enlightenment.
Why I cant afford it.
Monetary situation + principles. Rule #1 of lean startup is to "Not spend money you don't have".
If I win this conference pass, I will pay the good deed forward by continuing to provide free technical and online marketing consulting assistance to non-profit organizations, which I currently do thanks to the NPower program (which matches IT volunteers with non-profit organizations).
I'm currently a M.Sc. student in Computer Science, with a huge backlog of startup/project ideas that I've been keeping on the back burner while I work on my thesis. I've got good technical skills, but would love to learn more about the business side.
Restaurants are one of the largest employers in the country (behind the US Gov't) but in the last 2 years they have hit hard times with the economy. Every restaurant that closes effects everyone from the employees to the local farmer.
Our goal at Tripleseat is to make sure restaurants not only stay in business but make a profit so they can grow. With a free ticket to your event we will provide a independent restaurant in the Boston area a free one year subscription to Tripleseat and our lead gen product PrivateDining.in
This free subscription will enable a restaurant to grow, become a viable contributor to the community and in turn they will be able to pay it forward in countless ways.
I have looked carefully at attending BoS 2010 but couldn't justify the cost of travel/lodging and the ticket. So I thought "perhaps when the product is closer to release".
Pay It Forward: I have friend who has had a jewelry store for about 9 years now. And for 9 years I've been pestering him to setup a web site. I know that he'd do better if he had one. I went as far as sitting with him and his wife and working out a rough one-page layout in OmniGraffle, but never implemented the web site. His wife now opened a ladies accessories store as well. I promise to set them up both web sites and take it live.
Two years ago I stumbled into a park building in downtown Greenville that inner city kids use for their after school program. They have 4 computers all 486 crappy machines. I was surprised by how interested the kids were in the computers.
I asked the consulor how popular the computers were and she said it is everything to them. These kids do not have computers at home.
It got me thinking that more kids with the right exposure and teachers could become hackers.
So upon returning from BOS 2010, I will get the local ad agencies to dedicate their lead designers to teach basic design. Get local developers to do a little basic programming class for these kids and work with the YMCA in town to create an after school program.
Steven Wagner, Founder Dealer Ignition
The "business of software" is intriguing and exciting for me, and I believe that I would "pay it forward" even more in the long-term, applying what I learn there, and my programming skills, to social entrepreneurship after my national service is complete.
The "business of software" is a central question for me, and I believe that I could "pay it forward" even more in the long-term, applying what I learn there, and my programming skills, to social entrepreneurship after my national service is complete.
This year, I quitted a lucrative job (I'm 27) so that I could create my own web agency. My goal is to bootstrap myself so that I can create an online software in the printing industry (I also work with my father who own a small printing company).
I never would have dream to be able to go to this conference (need to pay for food and rent) but I know that it would really help me create my product.
What I commit : I already work with a non profit organization here in Quebec. They help adolescents/young adult to connect with cybermentors. I gave more than 50% discount on our services (new website) and if I get a ticket, I also commit myself to give them free printing services.
I am a software product marketing consultant - I left corporate employment two years ago to work independantly, helping software companies and entrepreneurs connect more effectively with their customers. Although I have been working steadily since the launch of my business, I am not yet at the point where I am able to afford to send myself to Business of Software.
You can't imagine how much I'd love to see Peldi and Jason Cohen speaking! :-)
Cristian Pascu (email@example.com)
What are you going to do in the future that you wouldn't already be doing?
If more people find out about my product, than more will take advantage of my "free for non-profit" policy.
Plus, I'm planning to share all my knowledge with my fellows Romanian starting entrepreneurs. Through blogging, video interviews, podcasts etc. Romania has a potential to go beyond the outsourcing destination label, and I'll be happy to bring my contribution.
I'm happy to do that again. (I've also done it for a prenatal yoga studio).
It doesn't sound like much but considering it takes me at least 8 hours and companies pay me for it, it strikes me as a good deed.
kip.werking via gmail.