Many thanks to Ken Holt, the chief financial officer of Woofound, and Vince Talbert, the co-founder of Bill Me Later, for sharing their words of wisdom with the Baltimore Tech Parents meetup group on Tuesday night.
Ken and Vince talked about the early part of their careers, Ken in wealth management and Vince in direct marketing. They both shared their experiences in working on a startup. Ken retired from a long career at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and jumped into a startup. Vince has turned to angel investing, with a strong interest in improving education, and he's gotten neck-deep in the Baltimore startup community lately.
We had a great, engaged crowd, with Ken and Vince fielding lots of questions. They were both great sports.
There are a lot of events right now in the Baltimore Tech scene, and I'm hoping Baltimore Tech Parents -- which is open to anyone, with or without kids -- attracts people who are looking for a few things:
1. No high-powered powerpoint presentations or pitches. Our speakers just speak, casually and conversationally. And they take questions from the crowd.
2. No video-taping, live-broadcasting or encouragement to Tweet/Facebook. It's cool to have speakers in the moment, with the audience. The value of this group is in the in-person interaction and focus on one another. You're always welcome to tweet away, but it's good to just put the phone down and enjoy the moment. Sometimes. I could be wrong, but I don't think, generally, anyone is tweeting from this event, which is fine by me!
3. Real talk. Starting a business is hard. Keeping families intact is even harder. Baltimore Tech Parents is a space for supporting entrepreneurship, but also solid family-building. People with careers are encouraged to talk about how they value -- and juggle -- their work, their life and their families. I'm amazed at how many bold entrepreneurs and savvy executives are here in Baltimore who are making great careers and families work. They should be supported and encouraged. And for those young people who wonder how they'll ever juggle a career and families, you can meet a lot of good mentors at a BTP meetup.
I feel lucky to have helped pull together -- with Monica Beeman -- some great people to speak to engaged audiences.
So far, we’ve had three Baltimore Tech Parents Happy Hours. Below are the events we’ve run, with their themes:
- Work/Life balance: Jay Steinmetz, founder of Barcoding Inc., and Mia Redrick, a well-known work/life coach.
- What we can expect from online education disruption: Burck Smith, founder of Straighterline, a disruptive online higher ed company, and Susan Magsamen, founder of Curiosityville. Both founders were recently well-funded by VCs.
- Second Acts – what people do after finding success in the first part of their lives: Ken Holt, former Republican candidate for Baltimore County executive and the CFO of hot Baltimore startup Woofound; and Vince Talbert, co-founder of Bill Me Later.
Monica and I are planning the fourth BTP Happy Hour for some time in December. We'll let you know when and where it will be after we've firmed up the guest speakers.
Thanks, Baltimore Techies!
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