by Borderstan.com April 15, 2013 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

"DC'

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

One of the many byproducts of DC’s burgeoning tech startup scene is the explosion in blogs run by these startups.

And not just the kind of blogs you expect a company to have, though there are plenty of those, posting an update here and there when the company has news to share.

There are blogs that have something more to say than the latest product or new hire update. Some are about marketing, some about dating and some about teleworking.

Below is a list of as many of these blogs I could fit into one blog post.

Along with having to be a DC-area tech startup, the other rule in making this list is that you have to be publishing content that isn’t just about your company and what you sell.

While an attempt was made to list as many blogs as possible that fit the above guidelines, this list is surely not all-inclusive. Feel free to post in the comments below a link to a blog you think should have been listed.

DC Tech Blogs

Here are, in no particular order:

  • Fed Log, the blog for government contracting job site Exfederal.com. Covers getting a government-contracting gig, hiring a government contractor, and things you should know when doing business with the federal government.
  • Spinnakr Blog, a blog for the website targeting company Spinnakr. This blog’s topics are a little marketing, a little DC Tech scene and a little general business management.
  • TouchdownSpace’s blog, from the on-demand office space company. This blog posts about teleworking, focusing on mobile workers and the trend toward working remotely.
  • SocialTables the Blog, brought to you by the event planning software company. This blog churns out content for event and meeting planners, covering everything from weddings to business conferences.
  • Maven’s Marketing Intelligence Blog, from TrackMaven, a company that wants to make competitive intelligence easier. Similar in some ways to Spinnakr’s blog in that it focuses on marketing, but different in that it covers a wide range of marketing related topics from social media to branding.
  • The RidePost Blog, provided by the company that wants to make going places, like road trips, more fun and affordable. This blog is about traveling with a focus on American locations, and trips taken primarily by people under 30.
  • The Contactually Blog, by the contact management company. Focused mostly on the power of networking and on how to manage relationships.
  • Hinge, a blog from company of the same name that’s using Facebook to help you find a date. While not updated as frequently as some of the other blogs on this list, their posts often share interesting info from data compiled from their users. For example, a recent post ranked DC’s workplaces by the hotness of their employees.

That’s what I have making the cut so far, but who did I miss? Post a link in the comments.

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by Borderstan.com February 8, 2013 at 8:30 am 0

"Hinge"

The Hinge Party on Thursday night. Click above for pictures.(Luis Gomez Photos)

See more photos of the event on Flickr.

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

There are things DC does without thinking (Presidential motorcades, snowstorm hysteria), but last night a slice of the city did something that doesn’t come natural to the Capital: Throw a tech startup launch party.

The event, to kick-off DC-based Hinge’s iPhone app launch, generated 1,900 RSVPs on its Facebook page.

Judging by the crowd, most who said they would show did, filling up the 12th floor of the brand-new startup incubator/co-working space/startup training ground called 1776, headed by entrepreneur and former Startup DC chair Evan Burfield.

Hinge is a dating app that uses your Facebook friends and their friends to pair you up with someone to date.

You could only attend the party one of two ways: If one of the organizers, like Hinge co-founders Justin McLeod and Bennett Richardson, invited you, or if someone who was invited brought you along.

Attendees entered 1776’s 15th Street-facing doors, checked in by iPhones and iPads and taken on an elevator ride to the building’s 12th floor.

Off the elevator you hear the thumping music. To your right is the coat check, straight ahead is the step and repeat (think backdrop for Oscar photos, but with Hinge’s logo), and to your left, filling the largely open space, is a mass of people obscured by darkness, save for the random laser beam or other whirling club lighting.

“I think the open space made it (event) unique,” attendee Sasha Horne said. “Because the venue is still under construction it was reminiscent of a Bushwick warehouse party.”

Most importantly for a majority of attendees, the open bar, arranged as a square, sat in the middle of the space. As the night tore on, people mingled, drank and danced, enjoying the free booze brought forth by the launch of an iPhone app.

“We were overwhelmed by everyone’s support, and we even spotted some friends of friends connecting at the party,” Richardson said.

And for those not worried about sleep or responsibility, an after party commenced around midnight at The Huxley.

It’s the kind of event now ho-hum in Silicon Valley, but that DC doesn’t do.

We celebrate campaigns, snow days or Fridays, but in these parts we don’t drink to technology. We don’t acknowledge the launch or milestones of companies funded by venture capitalists.

Last night part of DC did just that, however.

And today many who were there might be wishing Hinge could help them not only find a date, but cure a hangover.

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by Borderstan.com June 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,444 0

"Social Driver"

Thomas Sanchez and Anthony Shop of Social Driver. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan welcomes new contributor Nick Barron. He will be writing about local entrepreneurs and startup companies. He also writes about ideas and thinking big at NickBarron.co serves as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 2F/Logan Circle. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

Who said DC is not a town for start-ups? Well, Social Driver, a local social media, mobile app and website development company  has put that theory to the test.

Two years ago, Social Driver wasn’t even a dream.

Back then, Thomas Sanchez was busy consulting in social media and technology, while Anthony Shop was obtaining his MBA at George Washington University. Both Sanchez and Shop were new to DC, and both could count on one hand the number of people they knew in the area.

However, Sanchez networked tirelessly and finally had a Rolodex so large he started helping large public relations agencies fill a niche in the services they offered. Then it hit him: Sanchez realized that he had a budding agency on his hands, and he asked the new MBA graduate, Shop, to be his partner in a new business. Once Sanchez and Shop set-up shop (now formally called Social Driver, a social media, mobile app and website development company), the two District residents established a goal for where the business should be in a year.

Only, they didn’t hit that initial goal; they exceeded it.

Last summer, Sanchez and Shop made their first hire. Since then, the small start-up has hired six additional full-time employees and is setting to leave its Dupont office for a larger space in Chinatown. Social Driver’s growth means Sanchez and Shop are letting employees handle clients so they can focus more on the agency’s culture, an aspect that is important in both producing great work and attracting qualified employees willing to generate a quality product and expand the company.

One way in which Sanchez and Shop are working to achieve a cutting-edge work culture (particularly one that favors a work-life balance) is by instituting an unlimited vacation policy. “When you go on vacation, do not check your email,'” said Shop when describing the ideal work life for his employees.

The two partners plan on keeping the company private (meaning they have no equity in the company to offer employees) and plan to offer alternative promotions. “What people want is more responsibility,” Sanchez said. “They want to be able to learn more and take on new challenges.”

Despite its success, Social Driver’s growth has not been free from trials and tests. “DC is good for some types of businesses, but not good for other types of businesses,” said Sanchez, adding limited office space makes it difficult for large companies, particularly in Borderstan. “You’re at a limit in terms of size in DC,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez and Shop also have tales of bureaucratic snafus of difficulties with DC’s local government. “There’s no consistency,” said Sanchez. “One part of the city doesn’t know what the other part of the city is doing.”

Still, Social Driver is committed to helping the city get it right. After all, the company’s clients and employees live in DC, and both Sanchez and Shop are optimistic about DC being a better host to startups.

“One exciting thing about DC is incentives for tech-based businesses – That makes it better for us to do business in the District,” said Shop.

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