Diversity in the workplace looks incredibly different depending on the industry and certainly location of the company, but if you’re paying any attention to some of loudest niche markets out there, and definitely those supporting entrepreneurs, you’ll see that women are getting more noise than ever.

While browsing for information about women and diversity in the workplace I stumbled across State of Startups; I found the results fascinating. Venture-firm First Round Capital produces an “annual survey where hundreds of venture-backed founders speak frankly about what it’s like running a technology startup today.” A Wired article points out some of the biases in the actual survey conducted as it notes that while they certainly asked a lot about diversity, they never gathered data on the ethnic breakdown of their own respondents. What I found most interesting about the results however was that startup founders believe that true progress when it comes to diversity is still well into the future, 10+ years. When you think of the big tech companies and the startup world, words like innovative, ground breaking, and spearheading come to mind. When it comes to diversity though, these founders overwhelmingly predicted that it will take 10+ years until the tech scene is representative of the general population. If tech and startups are where innovative practices are born, think of the missed opportunities and insight from women’s unique perspectives that could be leading this even stronger. How do we accelerate this?

With so much media focus on women and minority entrepreneurs and in tech, it’s curious to see such low optimism for diversity goals being met in the startup world. I think we’re lucky in Seattle. We’re surrounded by some incredible women-led groups with missions to support gender diversity like the Female Founders Alliance, entrepreneurial and programming-rich spaces like The Riveter, and programs like Companion Coding which introduces low-income minority youth to careers in tech by training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. All of these Seattle-based companies don’t just have visions to support women and minority entrepreneurs, but are creating resources and spreading awareness about it as well.

At thinkspace we get to see women in tech thrive in their businesses. We see startup co-founders like Cassie Wallender of Invio and software engineers like Erin Fitzhenry of ToSomeone, and we host the Women in Tech Regatta, which gathers to connect wo(men) in tech to mentors, peers, and resources. In talking to Erin Fitzhenry about diversity in tech jobs and startups, she shared an interesting perspective about her experience as a woman in technology–she isn’t a fan of the term. Though she acknowledges her strength in her abilities, her interests lie in tech as a tool for solving problems rather than in the technology itself. That is sometimes in contrast with her male counterparts, especially ones who grew up gaming and got interested in the industry because of it. Erin noted that if schools, clubs, and parents focused on using technology as a tool to solve meaningful problems in the world, this might attract more girls to this concept at a younger age, helping fill the pipeline in the future.

Certainly we’re seeing more women and minorities as CEOs and in tech, but the growth rate according to this data points to the pipeline being underrepresented and unconscious biases during hiring. Entrepreneurs and companies always have room to do more to be inclusive but finding the resources to support that is crucial. Thinkspace partner New Tech NW has an incredible resource guide Diversity and Minorities in Tech which I highly recommend taking a look at if you’re interested in gaining resources or getting involved.

NewDigitalAge5.2For week 6 of my yearlong reading project, I sped through The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.  If you are anything like me (and intimidated by the sheer volume and language of such a book), stop right there.  Just reading the introduction hooked me in to want to know more about what Silicon Valley’s great leaders, Schmidt and Cohen, had to say.
Can you imagine a world where everyone is connected?  We are already familiar with being connected in our current society, but Schmidt and Cohen paint a picture of an entirely connected world: “The next moments in our technological evolution promise to turn a host of popular science-fiction concepts into science facts: driverless cars, thought-controlled robotic motion, artificial intelligence (AI) and fully integrated augmented reality, which promises a visual overlay of digital information onto our physical environment.” 

This is exciting because who wouldn’t want to live the technologically advanced life of Tom Cruise in Minority Report?

But among the excitement, there are also some concerns regarding the reprocussions of global connectivity.  Schmidt and Cohen offer solutions as they observe the challenges that arise within our future’s connectivity.  And while much of the book’s content is technology, the book is geared towards humans: “This is not a book about gadgets, smart-phone apps or artificial intelligence, though each of these subjects will be discussed.  This is a book about technology, but even more it’s a book about humans, and how humans interact with, implement, adapt to and exploit technologies in their environment, now and in the future, throughout the world.” 

Should you read this book?  Yup.  Two thumbs up.

What else have I read during my yearlong reading project?
–> Week 1  –> Week 2  –> Week 3  –> Week 4  –> Week 5

thinkspace redmond waThe 41th Annual Economic Forecast report for 2013 was released in the Puget Sound Business Journal in the January 11-17th issue. In this report Cynthia Flash authored an article, “Local tech sector key to sustaining regional economic growth.” Cynthia writes, ” It’s no secret that Washington’s information technology industry is a major part of the state’s economy. Microsoft and Amazon.com are among the world’s largest and most well-known tech companies.”

Tech Sector Supports the Washington State Economy:

– Tech-related employment since 1990 more than doubled from 94,500 to 203,000.
– Tech-related jobs accounted for 55 percent of the state’s employment compensation growth and 33 percent of the state’s personal income growth since 1990.
– The tech sector contributed $2.9 billion in state Business & Occupation tax revenues in 2011, up 318 percent since 1990.

While these numbers are dominated by our local tech powerhouses, I believe that the key to sustaining growth in the local tech sector is anchored by the start-up markets. Fostering innovation within the tech sector is a critical factor in the future of our local economy. This is where thinkspace enters the conversation.

My name is Gabriel Gervelis and I own a start-up marketing agency located in thinkspace’s coworking office. Lead by local entrepreneur Peter Chee, thinkspace has developed a culture that supports start-ups,  fosters innovation, and provides all of the support and services we entrepreneurs need to succeed.

thinkspace is home to both giants and start-ups

You never know who you’re going to meet at thinkspace. As a start-up entrepreneur, it’s amazing to run into the executive team of Donuts Inc. who are recipients of $100 million in venture capital funding. And having the opportunity to swap ideas back and forth on your lunch break with the development team that created Pirq is equally priceless.

Local Tech Entrepreneurs, at thinkspace, gearing up for greatness!

Brand Buddee: Lead by a thinkspace entrepreneur, Brand Buddee is a web platform that allows local businesses to promote offers and put their social following to work sharing content through their social networks. By offering incentives to the public, local crowds flock to Brand Buddee to earn rewards by sharing special offers through their social profiles.

Anomo: Watch out Facebook, here comes Anomo! Next time you’re in need of a wordpress developer for that last minute change, simply check your Anomo network to see if there are any within in a few blocks from you. This is a true game changer and a perfect way to capitalize on the mobile app boom.

EDUonGo: Fresh out of beta, EDUonGo is taking the online education market by storm. This unique technology platform allows professors (and other content providers) to upload their course content and then produce income by sharing their expertise.  What would you do if you could launch your own university in a matter of minutes, then start collecting ecommerce revenue? With over 30 universities already on board, EDUonGo is another local tech company destined for greatness.

Marketing and Advertising at Your Fingertips:

A major part of of Washington’s economic future depends on innovation within the tech sector. This isn’t possible unless you, the people, get to know about the great ideas that we’re launching. On any given day, one can visit the coworking space and find young entrepreneurs running around, inventing new ways of making their visions come to life. What better way to make this possible than to grow in a culture of marketing and adverting professionals? Surrounding your company with partners that want you to succeed is a key factor to a start-up’s growth.

Arc Media Studios: CEO Ali Mohsenian operates his video production agency out of the coworking office at thinkspace. With years of video development experience, Ali and his team (along with their brand new RED camera) provide the insight needed to ensure that your business plan has the proper budget for branding and video development.

Heinz MarketingWhen it comes to sales and marketing, it’s no secret that Matt Heinz is one of the Northwest’s local leaders. Matt and his team operating out of the thinkspace building are always open to giving helpful advice on your go-to-market strategy, sales strategy, and overall marketing plan. Matt is an extremely valuable resource for any tech start up.

Gervelis Search Marketing: This is where I enter the picture! I’m an SEO Guru, Social Media Master, & Content Marketing professional at your service. The most effective SEO strategy is one that’s identified at the beginning stages of a start-up’s development. Often times, a single recommendation we make on the subject of marketing can change the development plan of an entire company. If you’re a start-up, or thinking of realizing your business dreams,  then surrounding yourself with this type of entrepreneurial culture is critical to your success!

Development Resources at Your Fingertips

Web development, software development,  & mobile development are key factors to the success of any young technology company. thinkspace is home to several businesses that will help you safely navigate these waters.

Vina Source: You can often find CEO Benjamin Liu hanging out in the coworking space here in Redmond. Ben controls an overseas a development team that produces grade-A mobile products. With clients like Pirq & AllRecipes.com, Ben can help you create a mobile development strategy for your start up.

Blue Label Labs:  Blue Label is a young and highly innovative team of mobile developers headed up by Jordan Gurrieri. You can find Jordan in and out of the coworking space, too. Jordan, like the rest of us, suffers from ‘entrepreneurial A.D.D.’, but Jordan’s side projects result in published books and websites that generate tens of thousands of monthly online visitors. He’s definitely not a bad guy to sit next to when you’re creating your start-ups strategy for world domination!

What Else Could You Need…Besides Funding?

Yes, the ground floor of thinkspace (a large, well furnished facility with extra monitors, meeting areas, and desks) is truly an innovation hub for start-ups but let’s not forget about the 300 companies that they service. This broad mix of service professionals are here to help and advise you as well.

thinkspace services: Peter Chee has created a service center complete with everything that a start-up needs including a physical mailing address, phone answering services, registered agent services, and other offerings to help the start-up community truly succeed.

Here are some additional members of the thinkspace community you may want to know:

Certified Public Accountant:  Jon Jenkins has a team of five professionals ready to help you answer your toughest accounting questions.

Attorney: Nathan Neiman of the Neiman Law team is a seasoned lawyer helping entrepreneurs establish themselves.

What About Funding & VC’s?

You will find several VC’s Lurking the hallways of thinkspace who are willing to listen to your plan and offer helpful advice.

Angel Investors: Charlie Kindle is a private investor and a member of the ‘Alliance of Angels’ funding organization who keeps office hours here at thinkspace.

Washington’s Economic Future is at thinkspace

There can be no argument, technology will continue to a play a major part in the  local, national, & global economic environments. Communities like thinkspace are playing an important part that will decide what role Washington will play in this space. We are a community of like-minded people going above and beyond to help each other navigate the new and uncharted waters of the technology front.

$2.9 billion in state Business & Occupation tax revenues in 2011, up 318 percent since 1990. Looking ahead into 2015, let’s work together to add a few billion to these numbers!


Deep DomainDeep Domain, Inc. began in 2007, a small startup in Redmond, WA but the fifth business of  Howard Mahran. Deep Domain is a software company with a focus in healthcare. They’ve set out to help hospitals and clinics easily get information out of their electronic medical records systems.

With Deep Domain it’s possible to create an application that will run on top of multiple platforms without customization. They make getting information easier and simplify the process. There is now a way to reduce the time and cost to develop and run applications.

Deep Domain applies logic or “domain expertise” to hospital records and then provides the data to reporting software. If doctors want to pull all the information on their diabetic patients, they’d use Deep Domain to pull the data more easily. There’s no extra coding or IT work for hospitals and wait time for sensitive information is dramatically reduced.

In Deep Domain’s software they provide portable domain knowledge that anyone can plug into a system. It’s independent and agnostic to the systems that are running. This means someone at one hospital that’s using a certain system can use exactly the same domain logic over at another hospital. The programmers don’t have to program that code. Ladies and gentlemen, domain expertise is now bundled.

This frees a hospital’s IT team to focus on the look and feel of the information, creating a better user experience. “All of sudden the effort to get information goes way down. About 80% of the workload goes down,” says Mahran. Translation? Doctor’s get the information they need sooner rather than later. Sounds like a win-win for everyone.

“Data is a mess at hospitals—they can’t get to it easily. So we wanted to make it cheaper and faster” says Mahran.

Sound like Deep Domain has done just that.

Mobile Ultrasound Device

MobiSante CEO and Co-founder, Sailesh Chutani picked up a smartphone and told me it was an ultrasound machine and I could use it. I was beyond excited. Ultrasound technology has moved into our pockets and MobiSante made it happen. Amazing? Yes. But practical? You bet.MobiSante has honed in on how mobile devices can impact healthcare. They’ve combined ultrasound technology with a regular smartphone to create a portable ultrasound machine. It’s not just a fun application to download. No, it’s the actual machine. It’s a simplified ultrasound imaging system complete with a probe that can be plugged into the phone’s USB port.

MobiSante’s new imaging system runs between $7,000 and $8,000, making it an affordable option for rural clinics, emergency rooms, military medics, and emerging markets. The average cost of a hospital’s bulky ultrasound imaging system can run up to $100,000 and take extensive training to operate.

Chutani showed me how to operate MobiSante’s system in less than 5 minutes. Once we captured the images, he explained how the data could be emailed out while keeping patient information confidential. This would allow the information to be sent to a doctor for diagnosis without requiring their physical presence. Ladies and Gentlemen, mobile healthcare has arrived.

MobiSante built the world’s first smartphone-based ultrasound imaging system, MobiUS™ SP1 and it’s FDA approved. Not bad for a Redmond startup located here at thinkspace.

Mobile Ultrasound Device

We had a chance to play around with the mobile ultrasound device- it is seriously accurate and easy to use.

When asked what advice he’d give to others thinking about starting their own startup, Chutani chuckles as he says, “You must be convinced that there’s nothing else you want to do.” Chutani worked tirelessly getting the MobiUS™ SP1 ready, running tests, submitting reports, and waiting for FDA approval. “Enjoy the process,” he says. “It helps if you’re trying to solve a problem that will impact people. Here we know the impact of [MobiUS™]. Every time we do a trial we see the potential.”

It’s this potential, this desire to see people’s lives impacted, that keeps MobiSante alive and well. Doctors, nurses, people in the tech community, and many others have gotten behind MobiSante’s ultrasound imaging system because it works. It has the potential to make a life and death difference. Amazing? Yes. Practical? You bet.


Last weekend, we hosted a Mobile App Hackathon here at thinkspace in our coworking area. At the event, 13 teams developed a wide variety of mobile apps in less than one day. Since thinkspace is a community filled with entrepreneurs, I started thinking…”what are some of the best apps for entrepreneurs?” I did some research and this is what I discovered:


As an entrepreneur, you never know when you might meet someone interested in your product or service. Close sales and process payments on the go with the Credit Card Terminal iPhone, iPad, and Android App. Credit Card Terminal will send transaction information to your current Authorize.Net account. Side Note: Innerfence is a thinkspace alumi member. Their team built this app inside of our building here in Redmond, WA

-Update 7/25/11: InnerFence just released their credit card reader accessory for the iPad.

This is a great app for entrepreneurs who frequently communicate with employees and customers overseas. Many find it challenging to coordinate meeting when working with different timezones. AllHours will help you find a reasonable time to host virtual meetings.

Keep track of your business expenses on the go.  This iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and Blackberry app will scan your receipts so you don’t have to save them (or worry about losing them).

Evernote allows you to write down ideas, checklists, blog posts, and those random “I need to remember this” notes. The best part about Evernote is the fact that it will sync all of your notes between your devices. I like to use Evernote for driving directions.

Use LinkedIn’s mobile app to access your online network at any point. The LinkedIn app is also great for immediately adding new connections before you forget.

Stop wasting time searching through your email attachments. Save your files to a Dropbox and access them with a mobile app from any location and at any time. Dropbox allows you to access, edit, and share your cloud files.

Entrepreneurs, what are some of your favorite apps?

This week, Amazon announced a new service designed specifically for students. Students now have the option to rent Kindle versions of their Textbooks. Amazon advertises potential student savings up to 80% on textbook titles rented to the Kindle e-reader. Amazon textbook rentals will also allow students to customize their rental period from 30 to 360 days. Students will have the ability to save their textbook highlights and annotations in the Amazon cloud if they wish to re-rent or purchase the textbook after their rental term is complete.
In the 2010-2011 school year public university students spent an average of  $1,137 on textbooks according to CollegeBoard.com. With the school year starting in less than a month, Amazon is launching this service at the perfect time.Out of curiosity, I went searching for Kindle version textbooks available for rent and found, “Fundamentals of Finance Management” listed at $142.27 for a hard copy. Alternatively, the same title is available for rent starting at $40.03 (savings of about 71%).

The textbook industry has baffled me for quite some time. As if tuition wasn’t expensive enough, each school term students are forced to shell out tons of cash to obtain the required materials for their courses. Some students have dodged or reduced these expenses by sharing books with other students, renting hard copies from companies like Chegg.com, using library copies, or doing avoiding the textbook all together (I don’t recommend this one, but I know it’s been done).

Rentable Kindle textbooks might be a great money-saving alternative for some, however it isn’t the perfect solution for every student. Many students prefer to read from real books and find it challenging to absorb the information from an e-reader or a digital online copy. Plus, highlighting and annotating books with the Kindle isn’t as fun as it is with a real book!

What do you think? If you were a student would you rent digital textbooks for e-readers like the Kindle?

On Saturday, July 16th we hosted the AT&T Developer Program’s Mobile App Hackathon! The event started first thing Saturday morning at 9am in our coworking space. Lightning talks from developer support reps started at 10am and by 11am the room was split into teams working away on different code ideas! We had 135+ developers networking, collaborating, and building apps all day- needless to say the room was buzzing!
After a long day, 13 teams stepped up to the plate and demoed their apps to a group of sponsor judges and the other developer attendees. I was pretty blow away by some of the apps.

  • Emergency Response System- app designed for efficient rescue communications during a natural disaster.
  • Clockers– a time card tool that syncs with Google Docs.
  • About Face– pulls up contact info using Face.com after taking a picture of someone.
  • NoHo– a “consensual consent” digital signature app that will capture someone’s age, photo, and signature using DocuSign’s API.
  • LunchPad.me– a group lunch planner designed to eliminate the hassle of deciding where to eat lunch as a group.
  • HashMonkey– app that compiles twitter users who tweeted using a particular hashtag and enables users to auto-follow people on the list.
  • DigDin (do it good, do it now)- app designed to help people help each other.
  • Fishtank- an app that catalogs and identifies pictures taken of fish.
  • Scan Survey– a consumer survey app that can be used by retailers to get real-time feedback and to provide rewards.
  • QR Sync– QR code scanner that will catalog previous scan results.
  • ScrachPad– Windows app that syncs with UberNote.
  • My Kid is a Genius– app designed for parents who want to save their children’s artwork without physically storing it.
  • Headshot– an augmented reality laser tag game using a Windows phone camera.
  • Droidle– etch-a-sketch game for the Android

Team Headshot won 1st place for their laser tag game designed for the Windows Phone. Interestingly enough, Team Headshot had one member who graduated from high school in June, and one team member who will be entering his high school senior year in the fall. I think it’s safe to say that majority of the audience was impressed with the skill-level and creativity behind the Headshot app!

  • 2nd Place- QR Sync
  • 3rd Place- HashMonkey
  • 4th Place- Scan Survey

thinkspace was honored to host AT&T’s Mobile App Hackathon. We were thrilled with the attendance and level of engagement at the event. Stay tuned for similar developer events at thinkspace in the future! Thanks to Blazing Bagels, Noodle Land, and Red Bull for keeping us fueled throughout the day.

There’s a new networking app called “CAMBadge“. I saw this app at the AT&T Mobile Hackathon that we held here last weekend. The CAMbadge is the name badge that always has your information correct and can help you remember the people you meet at events. Just tap the screen and it takes a picture of the person that tapped it.

Adam Philipp is the creator of this Mobile App. It’s certainly an interesting app — I’m a person that is much better with faces than names. If I had an iPhone, I’d get this app and probably start using it at networking events. The other thing that Adam says is that people don’t forget meeting him now!

I’ve known Adam for a few years now. He’s an EO Buddy of mine and we’re in EO forum together. Adam is a great guy and shares his knowledge openly. This is one of Adam’s strengths. When finding out more about Adam’s law firm, he told me that his firm bills out by the project instead of having a hourly rate which is great compared to attorneys who bill out by the 15 minute increments.

The other thing that is really great about Adam is that he is totally engaged and shows a real passion for the tech and startup community. It’s not like he attends these events only when he needs to find a new client like so many other “service provider” folks do. He’s truly interested in building great relationships.

Adam Philipp is the the Founder of ÆON Law (aeonlaw.com): Adam has been involved in building IP portfolios around computers, software and the Internet and since 1995. He can be often found out in the tech community looking for the latest new gadgets. ÆON Law is one of the first law firms to move to project-billing for their clients and completely remove billable hours as a performance metric for its attorneys.

I enjoy listening to music while I work. However, I am sick of Pandora, and my iTunes library is embarrassingly out of date. Therefore, when someone told me about the New York based startup, Turntable.fm– my work music source changed for the better.Turntable.fm is a site where users can connect and share music in genre categorized rooms. The music in each room is controlled by five DJs. Any user can be a DJ if the spot is vacant. However, the popular rooms can have close to 200 users inside of them making the DJ role a coveted position. Turntable.fm keeps it social by adding a chat box to each room.
I have learned to use Turntable.fm as a resource for productivity rather than a distraction. At work, I will login to Turntable.fm and select a room that fits my current music mood (right now I’m hanging out inside of the “Indie While At Work” room!) Instead of taking on a DJ roll and chatting away with the other users, I will keep Turntable.fm active in a browser tab and carry on my way.
I love how the music played on Turntable.fm is hand-selected by other users, and the songs keep playing without annoying ad interruptions (at least not yet).If you’re interested in spicing up your music playlists, I recommend giving Turntable.fm a try. Just keep in mind that it can be extremely distracting. That is, if you let it.