This is what it’s all about…

Some people just don’t get why it’s a big deal…

On the eve of the fourth annual Jazz Walk I am reflecting on two conversations that I just had with two patrons of Boxleys while at Pioneer Coffee – the local morning hang.

Within 5 minutes, 2 people came up to me.

The first person had some suggestions to help us compete with the Bar & Grill down the street.  His suggestion was about expanding the bar area – more space away from the music so it can be in the background, “…but people can talk.”  Obviously they want Boxleys to be successful.  They were focusing on the ambiance.

Hmmm.  This is not the first time that this idea has come up, and it’s not that I haven’t thought it myself.  How do we “compete” with other places?  “How do we make everyone happy?”

As I sat in my chair thinking about these suggestions, the the next person came up to me and said, “…thank you so much for last night. We loved watching those students perform.  Watching them point at eachother for solo’s, learning how to lead the band.  Developing their confidence…”  they continued, “… I think I would rather see that than the professionals.”

That’s it. Right there.  That’s the magic of Boxleys.

It’s about the music people.  It’s about the students. It’s about the community.

Not that we don’t want people to have a place to talk. But is that what we want to “compete for?”  I think we want to focus on the music. Focus on the students.  Keep lifting them up.  Keep encouraging them.

Everybody is different.  But what makes Boxleys different and most special is not the food.  It’s the music.  It’s making it accessible for young students to play. And also be mentored and encouraged by musicians with decades more experience.  

You can get better food.  You can get better service.  You can’t get Boxleys anywhere else.

Middle School student Jason Berquist playing with Legends Ray Price and Michael Barnett

Danny in Tech News:

Cloudward launches Cloud Snippets to ease website customization

Original article available here:

BY BLAIR HANLEY FRANK on February 26, 2015 at 9:13 am

1 Comment  Share  87  Tweet  30  Share  11  Reddit  Pin

People who want to extend the functionality of their website have a new option to choose from today. Cloudward, a Bay Area based cloud services company that has an engineering office in Seattle, just unveiled a Cloud Snippets product that allows people to take a small snippet of JavaScript to expand what their website can do.

Users can get the snippets, which work in a manner similar to what Google uses for its AdSense and Analytics tools, from Cloudward’s online store. At launch, Cloudward is seeding its snippet marketplace with more than 30 free first-party snippets, but the company also has a system that lets third party developers build and sell their own snippets.

Cloudward CTO Danny KolkeCloudward CTO Danny Kolke

One of Cloudward CTO Danny Kolke’s favorite snippets allows users to insert the contents of a Google Doc into a web page and make the text look like it belongs on the page. It’s an interesting tool for both technical and nontechnical people who work with the web. Using that snippet, people can easily edit a page’s contents without having to wrangle with a content management system, or even worse, actually interact with a page’s raw HTML.

Users who need different functionality from what Cloud Snippets offers off the shelf can build their own snippets or customize existing ones using Cloudward’s simplified EASE syntax. (That language was actually the basis for the system that would become Cloud Snippets.)

The Cloud Snippets service is priced according to how much people use it. People who get fewer than 1,000 hits a month on pages with Snippets will be able to use the service for free, while hardcore developers can sign up for the top of the line monthly plan that lets the manage an unlimited number of snippets for as many properties as they want.

Those limits may sound harsh, but Kolke said small businesses that just want to publish a single doc or power a single form on one page of their site.

“Since this isn’t usually the entire website, those hits go a long way, because it would just be a specific page on the entire website that it’s on,” he said.

Right now, the system is tightly integrated with Google’s stack, in part because Cloud Snippets is built on top of the Google Cloud Platform. But in the future, the company is interested in expanding beyond Google’s offerings, and is also open to working with developers on its platform to expand Cloud Snippets’ capabilities.

“At the end of the day, it’s a JavaScript implementation on somebody’s website,” Kolke said. “So, any developer that knows JavaScript, we can work with them on expanding into other APIs and other markets as we develop this further.”

Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. Follow him on Twitter @belril and email him

Why do a thing? Or Not?

Why? Not? Why do it?

Seriously. Why do it? Why invest the time? Or why do you not invest the time?  Why “waste the time?” Why do you return to a habit that you regret or detest? And what keeps you doing it?

All interesting. Very interesting indeed.

After all why am I reading this? Why am I writing this?  What motivates me to do something different or follow the same path? And which is better?

And now that I have all these thoughts of motivation written out, what now do I do? And again, why? Or why not?

Motivation. What motivates me to do that which I do?  And what motivates me to do what I think is good versus bad? What is good for me?  What’s the “point?”

Me? I find that I am motivated much by the impact or rather potential impact on the world I live in. The ecosystem I’m in. My family. My children. My wife. My own time. My own health. My friends. My community I live in. The things that I care most about and why do I care about them?

Discerning what I should do and when? And why should I at all and how it will potentially impact these things.

I say potential impact because much of what motivates me is avoiding negatives. Take my health for example.  I diet to  avoid the possibility of putting back on those 50lb’s that I lost.  I diet because I didn’t like the way I looked or felt with those extra 50lbs.  The potential impact of that weight gain is what keeps me from indulging in a diet of chocolate bars and cheesecake everyday of the week.  Disciplining myself on my diet has helped me potentially impact my health in what I hope is potentially a positive impact. I stay disciplined because I don’t want the negative impact. I don’t know for certain if I’d be healthier at one weight or the other, but I believe in the potential that the lower weight is better.

So probably a bit like you, I have to make choices every day on how I spend my time. And what I find personally most fascinating is the impact that previous decisions I have made have on how I spend my time today. And what will be the impact tomorrow based on what I spend my time on today? Is it a pattern? Since I started something, do I continue on?

Is it debt? Is it obligation?  Is it that a path was started and now it must be finished? But why? Why finish at all?

Is it financial gain? Is it a desire for recognition?  Do I feel better about myself? Do I make someone I care about feel better?  

The more I think about this, the more I realize there isn’t necessarily a quick answer, at least for me. And in more things than I care to admit there may not be a clear answer.

More importantly, if I start doing something, should I stop? For my best interest or for the best interest of the person I would rather I turned out to be?  Maybe it’s not the “me” of today? Maybe it’s the “me” of the future?

Well, this much is certain. Time spent by “me” cannot be gained back. Once spent it is gone. That minute is past, and this minute is over. Yet another minute and another investment spent on something.

It’s early in the morning as I write this. And why I am writing this is because I have been thinking a lot about why do I do what I do?  And whether or not I want to keep doing certain things? And why ask the question at all?  I have a big deadline at work. It makes me ask the question, “why?”


So much of what motivates me to do things I need to do is my wife and kids. There are fiscal motives. Things I do because of the need to pay for things with money. And then there is the personal desires. The things that are in my heart and soul and I cannot escape.

How connected am I? Between the time I spend and where my desires and motivations are? How lined up am I? Am I on track in this path?

And concerning those that I love, am I the best example and teacher for them? Am I the best friend for them? Am I the best son? Brother? Do I care if I am or not? And how do I pick and choose? I can’t do every thing or execute on every idea, so now what?

I have to think about this some more.

Do you find yourself saying, “I shouldn’t do this?”  Or “I should do that?”

Why? And how will you decide whether you will follow through?

If I suddenly become self aware of something I am doing or about to do, and if I cannot clearly determine why I am doing it, maybe I shouldn’t do it anymore?  Maybe it’s time to pick something else to do that helps me become the person I’d rather be?  And if I don’t know who that is?  Maybe I should invest the time in thinking about that so I can make some better decisions?

Then again, maybe there is nothing wrong with not having such a plan or a desire. Having no plan could be the plan that is right for you?  Or me?  Maybe I have no more plans?  

Perhaps the question “why do something” boils down to another question of “what do I care about and why”; then “what am I prepared to do about what I care about”? Or “am I okay with doing nothing”?

As for me?  Years ago I put on the headline of my blog “I do what I do because I believe I should do it…”  So what “should” I do?  

More on that later…

or not.

What about Bob? Meet Bob Thordarson

Having coffee with Bob Thordarson is a real treat, and if you are an innovator or entrepreneur and you haven’t met him yet… do it. Bob is dumb enough and nice enough to actually meet with you, even if it’s of no use to him.  Unlike me, where I really don’t like having a meeting unless absolutely necessary.

Bob is quite the entrepreneur with a couple of successes under his belt. Then he discovered web apps and we’ll see what happens.  But he has some cool ideas. I have known Bob for about 10 years and I think he’s a cool web app dude.
Here is my interview with him.  I think we should let him in our little club.
D: Bob, do you consider yourself a web app dude?

B: Yes, I think so.
D: How long have you been working with web apps?

B: 3 years this month actually is when I had the first hair brain idea.
(Sidebar: What’s a hair brain?)
D: What prompted you to do that?

B: I thought it’d be really easy and low cost to get to market.  These things are cheap aren’t they?  Why not?  It turns out that sync across platforms is a really difficult problem to solve and a very complex engineering problem.

(Sidebar: should we tell him that this isn’t really the web part of the app?)
D: Was that the original idea?

B: The original idea was a calendar management teal that we never shipped.  The premise was that it’s really difficult to coordinate with 3 or more people to set a common a time that works for everybody… (blah blah blah) without all the back and forth stuff.  You end up with a communication loop that would go on for a while before reaching a decision on a common time.  The app was going to streamline that process.
D: So how did that lead to what you are doing now?

B: Like many good ideas, several other businesses had that concept all at once.  As we were developing a couple of of other services came to market and beat me.  So we said, what can we do that’s different and utilizes what we did so far?
B: We built an Outlook tool and Google tool and Mac tool and decided that we could build an app that would synchronize cross platforms…  Which lead to Syncacross..
D: So what is Syncacross?

B: Syncacross is a toll that will sync contacts calendars and tasks across your mobile, desktop and web supporting outlook, mac, gmail, google apps and your phone.  Out of Syncacross we have about 1000 beta users and one thing our users said we did really well was to merge contacts and remove duplicates.  So many said that was a great service, let’s spin that off into it’s own service.  And it’s actually the first commercialized product that we are shipping.
D: Sounds like you are shipping multiple things. What ties this all together?

B: What ties this all together is Blucapp.
D: So is that supposed to be some sort incubator and builds apps?

B: Yeah, so we are trying where we have multiple apps all in the productivity space, each has it’s own brand and they are tied together…
D: How many web apps are you working on right now?

B: Two web apps. We have more ideas but I got to be focused.  All of these will be around contact and calendar data.
D: What do you like about web apps?

B: They are fluffy. (I laugh this time) I like them because software is an incredibly creative media to build a vision and bring to life in a very fast way.  Which is malleable, which is a curse.
D: Let’s change subjects…  How much time do you spend at coffee shops?

B: (laughter… which is a sign of guilt). I work at a variety of coffee shops.  Zoka is my favorite. I’m now at a Tully’s and I frequent Starbucks now because they now have free wifi.
D: You didn’t answer the question. Fess up!

B: In a  40hr week, I’m probably at a shop 10 hours a week?  Maybe more… 15?
D: What cell phone do you have?

B: iPhone 3gs – and I’m waiting for the hardware upgrade before I buy v4.
D: What don’t you like about web apps?

B: Wondering when Microsoft (or the web community’s ability to put a stake in the ground) will officially kill IE6.
D: What technologies are you using in your web apps?

B: LAMP Stack + Flash front end
D: What is your app’s business model?

B: Virtual company + Freemium model + engage with distribution partners that

can drive the sales funnel
D: What web apps do you use on a daily basis?

B: Dropbox, Remember the milk, Hootsuite, Gist, Media Piston, MindMeister, Google Trends, YouSendIt
D: What’s your favorite web app? (not your own)

B: Media Piston
D: Qn the personal side of things… What do you call your home town?

B: Seattle, WA
D: Do you use dude speak?

B: Whoa Dude, who doesn’t man?
D: Favorite color?

B: Blue, no red….
D: Favorite car?

B: Yours
D: Favorite book?

B: Catcher in the Rye
(Conspiracy Theory… are you an assassin?)
D: Favorite movie?

B: Totoro
D: Favorite band?

B: David Byrne
D: Favorite type of cheese?

B: Spanish Manchego
D: Favorite quote?

B: Hold your breath, Make a wish, Count to three – Willy Wonka
That’s Bob… He’s in.