The Failure of StartUp Podcast, and What You Should Really Learn.

Alex Blumberg set out to do a podcast about the real trials of creating a company. His unfair advantages made Startup Podcast just another startup myth.

iPodMiniI’m a podcast fan. I’ve been a listener since I got my first iPod in 2005. Much of what I have listened to has been Alex Blumberg’s work including hundreds of hours of his previous shows—This American Life, Planet Money and now the first season of his new podcast, StartUp. I’m going to listen to the whole StartUp Podcast series, and I recommend you do too. But after the first season I feel as though we should pause and reflect upon his goal and whether or not he achieved it. Because I feel that while the podcast maintains humility, admits flubs and has a great narrative voice, we’re led astray from the very first episode. Blumberg has huge advantages over the majority startup founders. Investors call these “Unfair Advantages”— and they are an entrepreneur’s super powers.

Because Blumberg is unaware of his super powers the story he tells perpetuates existing startup myths and limits the lessons budding entrepreneurs can and must learn.

Continue reading The Failure of StartUp Podcast, and What You Should Really Learn.

Janis Clapoff contacted me because her business needed to pivot. After years of selling boutique jewelry at, she was going back to the world of high end hospitality consulting. Her website needed to be updated!

I updated sliders and text to include their high profile clientele, removed now irrelevant information and assets from their website, and updated their WordPress SEO tools to properly reflect their new business aims.

Tech: WordPressCSS3 Photoshop CS5, Yoast SEO

Santa Barbara

As a board member of the Santa Barbara Audubon Society, I was spearheading the effort to improve their online presence. After a series of meetings, the co-president turned to me and asked “You could build this right?” After we did some special fundraising, I had another job!

I added metrics to their existing website to understand how people used it. I interviewed current Audubon chapter members about what they were looking for. And I worked closely with the other board members to understand everything they hoped the site would be. The answers: birding events, advocacy articles and fundraising.

In the end, I built a completely custom deployment of WordPress based on The custom responsive theme and uses the colors of the City of Santa Barbara. I wrote a lot of the copy and several articles. The backend PHP was also customized to make the webmaster’s life easier and address many of the issues they had before.

Take a look, and if you are in SB, do some birding:

Tech: WordPress,, PHP, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap 3Events Manager

Carolyn Hodges

When beginning her academic job search, my wife needed a simple and elegant website to showcase herself and her research. The result was

I used this website as an opportunity to become more familiar with and DRY WordPress/PHP development. I also used media queries to make sure her face and photo looked great at any size. Take a look on your phone or computer, you’ll see her smiling face no matter how small the screen!

UPDATE: Carolyn successfully was hired at Boston University in December 2013!

Tech: WordPressRoots.ioPHPHTML5CSS3Bootstrap 3

Joan Easton

Joan Easton Lentz is an incredible naturalist and educator in Santa Barbara County. Author of three books on bird identification, I jumped at the chance to work with her on her website for her newest book launch.

Her goal: Sell Books! Especially her newest, “A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region” and especially from her publisher, HeyDay Books. All of her other books are available on the site from Amazon.

For this project I designed a completely custom responsive WordPress theme including a custom landing page. Using the incredible photography and illustrations from the book my aim was to create feeling reminiscent of a naturalist’s journal.

How’d I do?

Tech: WordPress, Bootstrap 2.3.2, HTML5, CSS3

NoozHawk – Birdwatching Goes High-Tech with UCSB Grad’s New Birdeez App

NoozHawk LogoI sat down with NoozHawk to talk about the Birdeez update and Lara Cooper did a great job of telling our whole story! Read it below or visit NoozHawk for their coverage.

From NoozHawk’s Lara Cooper:

Last fall, Jeff Simeon stood backstage, waiting to go before more than 1,000 people to make the biggest presentation of his life.

Continue reading NoozHawk – Birdwatching Goes High-Tech with UCSB Grad’s New Birdeez App

Tech Crunch – Birdeez One of the 14 Most Interesting Startups at DEMO

TechCrunchLogoBirdeez was picked up by TechCrunch for our appearance at DEMO. People always seemed shocked to have a Bird app as part of their lineup. Bird watching is one of the things that drove the development of the internet! Maybe I’ll have to do a retrospective on bird watching and technology.

Ecolek’s Birdeez grew out of a student project at UC Santa Barbara. A bird in the hand is worth two on your phone, or something. The app, simply put, helps bird-watchers … track birds they see on their routine bird-watching adventures … read descriptions of the avian animals you identify, keep track of all your sightings and even tweet about it. Get it? Tweet? Warning: This app may not have quite as much utility if you’re an urban dweller. You can only identify pigeons so many times.

That last part is totally false. There are likely close over 50 species of birds near you even if you are in a city! We chose to launch the app with an American Kestrel because it is an amazingly beautiful bird you can see almost anywhere in the US. But I was hoping to get a Peregrine Falcon since that is a species that nests on City Hall in San Jose, next door to DEMO!

Read about the rest of the 14 Most Interesting Startups to Emerge from DEMO on TechCrunch.