365 Days of Denver

They say Denver has 300 sunny days a year.

This is true, and its so hot and dry too- mind is blown.  I had the worst preconceptions about Denver.  A winter wonderland. Wrong.  This place’s weather confuses me to much I have arrived at the lowest common denominator of clothing.  A pair of jeans, t-shirt, hoodie.  Also this seems to be the dress code at my new gig at Shutterstock, so its all good.  But seriously though, I have car damage from the May 8th hail storm.  Read about how insane it was: Hail Hits Denver Hard  There are tornados here too.  (cool)

This town has a great scene for tech.  I spent some time at Galvanize on Platt, and was happy to see this activity in Denver for startups and corporations alike. Its definitely fun to be an entrepreneur in this town – a lot of potential.   I plan to put more time into Dogolog and Beekman33 now that I’m a bit more settled. Also advising on a few ventures – we’ll see how it pans out.

Northfield.  Stapleton.  This place is crazy awesome, weird, and brand new.  Check out this ridiculous real estate video of what they are planning around me:

This city is exploding.  I could imagine in 50 years a skyline like Dubai emerges, covering the mountains – why not.  This place is great, and everyone is moving here. Like the entire world.  I meet folks from all over the country.  Also I like that everything is walkable – its designed that way which I like after my departure from Prospect Heights.

But its also bizarro weird.  Like futuristic-city on Rama, with Pleasantville/Levitown feel, with people choosing to live closer, and more vertical.  Park Slope had something right.  There is something great about spontaneity, bumping into people.  Real neighbors – sometimes its better to live almost on top of eachother.

I’m not a fan of the big box stores across the way, but they got things right about Stanley Market.  That place needs a subway stop, and it could be the next Greenpoint Brooklyn Flea.


This weekend the Denver Arts Festival is in town.  Its basically on my lawn. A great selection of artists with my favorite being Pam Spika


I really enjoy her stuff.

What’s up next?  I’m hitting the Telluride Jazz Festival in June.  Camping and Macy Gray.  It’ll be so ‘Telluride’.  I actually have no clue what Telluride is like – can’t wait to check out the town.

Denver folks: I’m putting together a happy hour at Union Station in a few weeks.  I want to bring together everyone I met in the last 365 days.

Things are good. Family is good. And Bailey is good.  See you soon.

Stay classy Denver.









Arrived in Denver

I’ve arrived.

Here’s the quick update on my move to Denver. So far, it’s been pretty eventful. I’m getting to know LoDo at my AirBnB at Brooks Tower – the tallest building in Denver (in 1968).   This area is in walking distance to museums, theaters, restaurants, and parks. It’s a management city, which is new to me after NY and LA.

I admit. I miss Brooklyn. I miss the density of people, the uniqueness of all the stores (Mayo shops, ha), and spontaneity the city has. And I’d admit I miss the bike path off Venice Beach in California. Nothing beats a commute to work via skateboard.

However, I’m finding pieces of it everywhere in Denver and Boulder.


Random Notables:

  • Sie Film Center – Attended the premiere of film about the life of the makers of Star Wars toys in the early 1980s.
  • Pirates’ Cove Waterpark.  Spectacular.
  • REI (Starbucks) its a good one
  • Eldorado Springs – amazing hikes and views.  Great water.
  • Denver Mart Drive-In , saw Finding Dory.

At this point we are a few months away from moving to Stapleton, home is not complete yet but getting there.   Its nice to have the dust settling a bit, but I look forward to autumn when we can truly unpack. 😉





Mexico City to Boulder on the StartupBus

Being completely new to the scene in Colorado, I decided to attend Boulder Startup Week to dive in.  Boulder is amazing – densely packed creative agencies, innovative startups, and the most picturesque of mountainous backdrops.  Thanks to Pivotal and Gorilla Logic  for showing me their hip offices, and serving up some great beer.

The highlight of the trip, however, was meeting a true developer ninja Alejandro Bautista Ramos and speaking about his experience on the StartupBus.  This route, from Mexico to Colorado, intrigued me.  Politically, the border between our countries is a firestorm of opinions.  But here is an example of cross-border innovation, collaboration, and utmost positivity.   I had to dig deeper, and I had the opportunity to ask Alejandro a number of questions to see what his team created in mere days, packed on bus heading to Boulder.


An Interview with Alejandro Ramos from 5/27/16.

Who is your team, and what is your background?

My team is made up of 6 people: David Mimila, marketer strategist and main hustler, Dulce María Villareal, economist, David Hernández, expert in design, Hugo Ortiz, accountant, Guillermo Vivancovitch, mechanical engineer, and myself, systems engineer. No one on the bus had ever met before but we shared the same vision of developing a better financial application.


How did the idea come about?

Before getting into the bus, we had a meeting at the BBVA Bancomer main offices in Mexico City. When we were proposing our main ideas we shared the same vision of an online platform that could give us control to all our finances. At first we talked about only a platform that could store all our credit and debit cards regardless the bank but as our trip on the bus started, we realized that we could add several features such as a smart agent that could tell us which card would be better to pay for our purchases or which card would give us better reward points.

David and Guillermo

Did the bus make for a good hacking environment?

Undoubtedly, yes! The bus united us as a strong team because we had to overcome technical problems, for instance, the Internet access was limited in some parts of the road so some of us relied on our 4G bandwidth from our phones but this wasn’t enough; however, we did 2 main stops (Nuevo León, MTY, Austin, Texas) in co-working spaces where we had the opportunity to use the WIFI access to continue working or just have some rest (traveling in bus over long distances isn’t the most comfortable place to sleep).


What APIs did you use, what runtime did you write it in?

We mainly used an API from PayBook which basically gives you access to most of the transactions of the Mexican Banks and the SAT (the Mexican Tax Authority). We mainly wrote in Python for doing the back-end and we went with angular.js for the front-end.

David Hernandez

What did the judges think?

At first, the judges were impressed when we showed the retrieved data from our banks already graphed and distributed in the different charts. One of the judges thought that this was another MINT app because of the similarity of having all your credit and debit cards into one platform. We thought so the same at day 1. We explained that our platform will be more like a financial personal assistant because it will let you know at the moment which card would be better to use when paying for something, which card will give you the most reward points or how healthy are your financial accounts. The judge then changed his mind as so we did during the bus.

What’s next with the product?

Work! Work! Work! We already had a meeting and we are giving a follow-up to the project. We have already bought our tickets for participating into another Startup event to present the full prototype working and we look to get in touch with investors or alliances that can help us to develop the full potential of this product.

You can connect with Alejandro Bautista Ramos on Twitter, GitHub, and LinkedIn.


I’m Moving to Denver, Here’s Why

Guess what? I’m moving my family to Denver next month and I couldn’t be more excited.  It seems like yesterday I was packing up my things from Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, and heading to sunny SoCal.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Its been an adventure on the west coast, but right now the mountains are calling my name.  Here is why Denver is great for me:

  1. Quality of life, great for my family. US News rates it #1 for a best place to live
  2. Balance. I’m used to the untiring pace of NY and LA.  This town will be a welcome down-shift, while not losing the excitement and energy a city needs
  3. Restaurants, Clubs, Museums, and Breweries galore
  4. Mountains. I am an avid snowboarder, and I’m a short drive to some of the best ski towns in America.  Not to mention I’ll have easy access to breathtaking hikes in the Summer.
  5. Dog-friendly.  This town will be heaven for Bailey my ten year old CKCS
  6. Red Rocks Amphitheater –  Could be the best concert venue on the planet.
  7. Clyfford Still Museum, a whole museum dedicated to the godfather of Abstract Impressionism
  8. Bastiens home of the Sugar Steak.
  9. Stapleton.  The former airport is now reborn into an urban-suburban city of new families.  My daughter will love the multitude of playgrounds, schools, and bands of kids.
  10. Huge growth in the Denver startup and tech scene.  With Boulder next door, there is a vibrant community that I can’t wait to part of. On that note, I’m on the market for new career opportunities in Denver.  I’d love to speak to you further if this piques your interest. My experience ranges from digital product, strategy, to cloud computing – I can fit into a variety of roles.

So I move in early May.  Yes next month!  To get there, I will be driving across country with a few stops – Sedona and a place called the Grand Canyon.  It should be an adventure for the four of us (@furryfourlegs, @lanetanne, and Lily).

Will there be a going away party?  Yes! This will actually be the SD edition (we had an LA shindig already).  April 30 Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego.  Hope to see you there.

– Colin



*photo borrowed from Hilton website :p

The Bluemix IoT Foosball Table Makes its way to Vegas at Interconnect, Next Stop SXSW

The infamous IoT Foosball Table has been refreshed, redesigned, and now the highlight of dev@interconnect‘s demo area.  Our mission to showcase Bluemix, Node-REDCloudant, and most importantly Watson IoT connectivity, is well underway. Not to mention causing some heated battles during happy hour, with players demonstrating some champion-level foosball techniques  I had the opportunity to chat Stefania Kaczmarczyk and Oliver Rodriguez who led the effort to refresh the project.  I find out what is most interesting under the hood, and what is planned for SXSW as the tour continues.

Oliver Rodriguez (@Heres__Ollie), a NA Cloud Technical Evangelist for IBM, walks us through the table’s functionality, and how the team utilized Node-RED to create “magic”.

Stefania Kaczmarczyk (@stefania_kaz) is a Cloud Technology Evangelist with IBM, and we spoke about Watson IoT Platform, and how it was utilized for the cloud-based table.

 Whats Next?

The table will continue its US tour and making its way to SXSW in Austin next week.  For badge holders, come by the Hilton and look for the IBM area to play a game.  We’ll see you there showcasing @foosbuzz , the IoT Foosball table of the future.





Nubee: The Making of The Information Quarterback (full interview)

NUBEE Screenshot.png

Don’t understand a thing about football, and want cheer (correctly) with the crowd ?  No problem. Finally an app for newbies is on the horizon called Nubee.  Winning the Girls in Tech’s Super Football App Challenge presented by ESPNw, the creators utilized IBM Watson to power a click iOS app. I had the opportunity to interview the team last week, and was able to find out how they built this 1st place app in one weekend, and what inspired them. 

Check out the Girls’ In Tech video below: 


Colin: Before you walk me through the story. Please introduce yourself:

Lily: I was the UX designer for our team. I am currently a UX designer at Macys.com. This is something I do for fun, something to do on the side. I’ve been to about 5 hackathons before. I’ve won one of the hackathon challenges at the World Apps Hackathon, which was at the IoT conference.


Lucas: I’m currently in High School. I’m an iOS Developer, but since we didn’t have a backend person, I did our backend in Python. I won about 10 prizes in 12 hackathons, including some from big companies like IBM, Mastercard and Capital One hackathons.

Troy: I’m an iOS developer, been freelancing for a few years. I met Lucas and I started going again to hackathons.

The Idea

Colin: Let’s talk about what led to your idea and how your team formed around the idea.

Lucas: I met Troy almost every day at a Hacking house. We’re thinking of ideas. I don’t know anything about football, so I thought, “What product would I use”. I thought about APIs and IBM Watson first. I came up with an idea to explain a football game. I pitched on Friday when we were searching for groups. Later I met Devin, but he didn’t seem to like the idea that much. Devin talked to Lily, I talked to Lily about a hackathon we went to—Angel Hack. We won two prizes and she remembered that. She decided to join because she loved that game!

Lily: That’s why I joined. I didn’t know anything about football either. I saw Lucas’ last Hackathon game idea and loved it so much I decided I wanted to join his team this time! Seeing as two designers is always better than one, we were lucky to have Devin who is a great visual designer join us. Troy & Lucas knew each other from previous hackathons and Demir joined us because his brother knew Lucas. So that’s how we formed our team.

Colin: What led you to go to the ESPN Hackathon? You guys aren’t sports fanatics. I personally am not a sports fanatic. I understand football, but are you guys just not into football, or not into any sports?

winning moemment3


Lucas: I’m not into any sports. But I go to the ESPN Hackathon. The Hackathon is my sport. I think it will be a future e-sport!

Lily: I’m more of a Winter sports fan. For me, Hackathons is a hobby of mine. I get to meet and work with other talented engineers such as Lucas, Troy & Demir and push myself to design within their constraints while building my skills

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