Archive for Business



The Boulder County Business Report recognized nine area companies for their innovative products and services this week at the 10th anniversary celebration of the IQ (Innovation Quotient) Awards.

Winners and sponsors gathered on the stage of the Boulder Theatre for a group photo after all of the winners were announced. Some 65 companies were nominated, with finalists in nine different categories.

On stage, left to right, are: Liam Davis-Mead and Shane Taylor, ScriptPad Inc., winner in Social Media/Apps; Gary Horton, Western Disposal Services Inc. (event sponsor); Stuart Batty, Stuart Batty Enterprises LLC, winner in Consumer Products/Services; Yancey Spruill, DigitalGlobe Inc., winner in Business Products/Services; Nathan Thompson, Spectra Logic Corp., winner in Computer Products/Services; Steve Moulton and Greg Grudic, Flashback Technologies LLC, winner in Life Sciences; Bill Quinn, Trada Inc., winner in Internet/Software; Justin Dodge, Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner Hottman PC (event sponsor); Cory Dixon, Stratom Inc., winner in Robotics; and Denny Hanson, Apex Sports Group LLC, winner in Sports and Outdoors. Not pictured, George Howard, Heartland Renewable Energy LLC.

For more information on the winners, read the Boulder County Business Report story.

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For a city with 10 breweries — all with tasting rooms, and arguably the birthplace of the the microbrew craft industry, Boulder is the perfect spot for a new conference Nov. 5-7, the world's first Beer Bloggers Conference.

Now here's a conference I think I can enjoy covering because not only will it include sessions on social media, how the online media is covering the beer industry but, of course, it includes tasting beers.

The conference will be held at the Boulder Marriott, and information is online at

I'll come back and keep you posted when I learn more about this "tasty" conference idea, but in the meantime, here's what some people had to say in PR that just went out today.

I saw the announcement about the conference, I rushed to get my credit card out
because I have a feeling this will fill up quickly," said Gerard Walen of Road Trips For Beer. "Boulder
is one of my favorite cities to visit, and I'm looking forward to going back
there and meeting some of the folks in person that I only know on the beer

organizer Zephyr Adventures, a
Montana-based adventure travel company, already co-organizes both the Wine
Bloggers Conference and the International Food Bloggers Conference. “The Wine Bloggers Conference has
provided increased credibility for wine bloggers, connected bloggers with the
wine industry, and improved both the quality and quantity of wine blogging
around the world”, says Zephyr’s owner Allan Wright. “We think the Beer
Bloggers Conference will have a similar positive effect on the beer industry.”

Boulder was chosen as the inaugural location for the conference because of its
scenic beauty near the Rocky Mountains, its excellent transport with nearby
Denver International Airport, and its 10 local breweries.  The
Boulder Beer Company
and Oskar Blues
have signed on as initial sponsors, in addition to Draft Magazine, the Colorado Brewers Guild, and the Boulder Convention & Visitors

Panelists on the future of digital media in Boulder were, left to right, Winston Binch, partner, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; Seth Levine, managing director, Foundry Group; and Chris Scoggins, senior vice president, DataLogix. 

Boulder business, education
and government leaders took a look into the future 25 years from now and saw
everything from a much older population and a shrinking employment base to a
digital media and outdoor recreation Mecca that continues to attract

But as University of Colorado
economist Richard Wobbekind reminded attendees at the 2010 Economic Summit on
the University of Colorado campus Wednesday, in the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s
tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

That said, there were no
shortage of experts from the hot business sectors of clean tech, digital media,
natural & organic foods, outdoor recreation and biotech willing to stick
their necks out and make a forecast. The theme for the well-attended summit,
sponsored by the Boulder Economic Council and CU, was “Boulder in 2035:
Opportunities & Insights.”

 First, a few of the facts,
emphasized by both business research statistics from CU and generally what
everyone that lives in Boulder already knows.

 “Boulder has drawn a line in
the sand,” said David Driskell, director of community planning and
sustainability for the city. “We’re not going to grow out, we’re going to grow

Redevelopment of Boulder
areas such as its east Arapaho corridor (near CU’s developing east campus) and
the aging Diagonal Marketplace retail center are where the city will be placing
its attention.

The reality, Driskell
emphasized, is that Boulder will never be all things to all people.  And that no doubt includes businesses
looking for larger manufacturing facilities. “We’re going to continue to
incubate startups,” he said.

If you just happened to move
into the city and somehow remain oblivious to Boulder’s staunch slow-growth
philosophy, several charts and graphs from Wobbekind put some new wrinkles on a
well-known story.

For a city that’s long touted
its place as an entrepreneurial haven for high tech, the numbers now show
employment in advanced tech sectors are actually declining. Technology brings
higher productivity, Wobbekind explained, resulting in fewer jobs for high-tech
workers. The most recent example? Hewlett-Packard’s announcement of some 9,000
layoffs from its technology-services division, where data centers will become
fully automated.

In the recent recession, more
than 70 percent of the lost wages in Colorado occurred in advanced tech sectors
that included professional services, manufacturing and information.

In other not-so-shocking news
for anyone who’s been in Boulder for very long, Wobbekind forecasted a nearly
flat growth rate through 2035, for both employment and population growth, while
“satellite” cities like Broomfield, Longmont and Erie will continue to attract
new jobs and increase their populations.

Another Boulder Valley city,
Louisville, which is making a conscious decision to limit housing but
encouraging commercial growth, also may find its job growth limited as
employers seek out cities where their employees can find homes.

“It’s just not getting any
cheaper to live in Boulder or Louisville,” Wobbekind said.

High on Wobbekind’s list of
changing demographics not to be ignored is the fact that Boulder, like all of
Colorado, is aging.

Everyone who moved in during
the growth years of the ‘70s and ‘80s are now nearing retirement age. In the
city of Boulder alone, Wobbekind says the 55 to 69 age group and those over 70
will have the most dramatic increase in numbers in the next 25 years.

Services such as health care
and transportation, as well as a declining tax base as seniors reduce their
spending, are all areas to watch, he said.

Although rail and other
multi-modal transportation choices may become available, expect an increase in
commuters driving cars in search of job centers. Even shorter trips are going
to take longer due to congestion.

Not all forecasters, however,
bemoaned a future of gray-haired senior citizens clogging up the freeways.

Panelists looking at the future
of digital media reminded summit attendees that Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a
global advertising company billing $1.7 billion annually, came to Boulder
because it knew the city’s quality of life would attract the younger talent it
needs to survive and grow.

Looking very far ahead is
nearly impossible in the fast-changing digital world, said Winston Binch, a
partner with CP+B. “Just figuring out what will happen next week is a

The company is moving much of
its work to the mobile platforms, as the I-Pad and millions of new mobile phone
apps dramatically change the way businesses reach their new customers.

You’ll soon be using your
phone to buy your Starbucks and display your airline-boarding pass, Binch said.
“Social commerce,” he predicted, is here to stay.

Foundry Group venture
capitalist Seth Levine said the rise of digital media is allowing marketers to
measure their results like never before.

Social media and software
geeks are the new “Mad Men” of the advertising world, Levine said, and Boulder,
with resident companies like OneRiot, Lijit, video ad network SpotXchange, creative
agency Victors & Spoils and even Google, are creating a “nexus” of
communication companies for the future.

With CP+B helping to launch
the Boulder Digital Works with CU, and other tech gatherings like Glue or TechStars
gaining national attention, Boulder continues to stir up a pot of the right
ingredients for digital media success.

Boulder also continues to grow
its reputation as an epicenter for both the natural and organics food movement
and outdoor recreation and sporting goods companies.

Organic foods veteran Barney
Feinblum predicted that the word “natural” will probably disappear from food
labeling as “organic” becomes the accepted standard. As an example, he pointed
out that organic milk producer Horizon is now the leading brand of milk being
sold in the U.S.

While organic products today are
only about 3.5 percent of the market, he believes price premiums will decline,
and organic goods will capture up to  25 percent of the food market in the next 25 years.

A company like Whole Foods,
Feinblum said, will expand beyond organic and healthy foods to selling electric
cars and home renewable energy systems.

“Our industry is looking to
get ahead of the curve on sustainability,” explained Lori Herra with the Outdoor
Industry Association. And this presents environmental challenges when most of
the outdoor recreation products are manufactured overseas.

Even on the federal level,
Herra said, the conversation is starting to change from “extraction” on federal
lands to recognizing the economic strengths of “recreation.”

 Mars wants the definition of sustainable cocoa certification to include productivity, creating more income for rural cocoa farmers, says Howard-Yana Shapiro, a plant science and research staff officer with Mars. He's holding cocoa bean pods and goodnessKnows, a new chocolate, fruit and nut snack from Mars. 

is expanding its test market for its new goodnessKnows dark chocolate,
fruit and nut snack beyond Boulder into the Denver area, with TV advertising
beginning in May.

a global front of buying cocoa for its popular chocolate products that include
M&M’s, Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Dove and Milky Way, the private family-owned
business has embarked on an ambitious goal of buying only 100 percent certified
sustainably grown cocoa by the year 2020.

representatives Suzanne Stites, cocoa flavanol platform leader, and Howard-Yana
Shapiro, global officer for plant science and external research, met me in
Denver to talk about why Mars chose to expand the definition of a certification
program – one that could be built throughout the world’s largest cocoa growing
areas of West Africa, East Asia and South America.

project, called “Certification Plus,” is attempting to build a coalition of the
largest cocoa buyers as well as major suppliers, while also developing buy-ins
by governments and the international donor community.

Mars, the missing ingredient in a cocoa certification program, Shapiro says,
was productivity.

$13 billion global chocolate industry is huge, with demand for cocoa growing
from 2 to 3 percent per year. But small rural farmers remain in poverty, with
many growing only about 450 kilos of cocoa per hectare, Shapiro says.

had to ask ourselves, where are you going to take a stand?” he says.

Mars goal, made public about a year ago after intensive research at its Mars
Center for Cocoa Science
in Bahia, Brazil, started in 1982, seeks a sustainable
economy model that will improve the social infrastructure of cocoa farmers with
better schools and health care, maintain their “cultural milieu” while also
facing up to difficult environmental and ecological challenges.

the start, Shapiro explains, Mars was determined to make all of its findings
public, including research on the cocoa bean genome, the best planting
materials, soil science, fertilization and plant grafting.

first, many people told Mars researchers and scientists they were crazy for
believing they could help farmers triple their yields in 10 years, Shapiro
says. But by increasing yields, Mars saw a way of actually opening more land to
other production such as fruit trees, row crops and high value tropical trees,
making farmers’ land more valuable and giving them an insurance policy on their

other side of intensification is diversification,” Shapiro explains. In rural
areas, 75 percent of the people can spend between 65 to 75 percent of their
income and still be hungry. “Hollow calories are not nutrition,” Shapiro says.

has partnered with the government of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, commonly
known as the Ivory Coast and the world’s largest producer of cocoa, and is
expanding to production areas around the world.

we do this alone? No,” Shapiro says. “Can we do it with just the Ivorian
government? No.” Mars and other cocoa buyers need the help of the international
donor community, including agencies like the World Bank, the International
Finance Corp, the African Development Bank and the U.S. Agency for
International Development, or USAID.

isn’t contracting to control the market for a sustainably certified cocoa,
Shapiro emphasizes. “Everyone has the same ability to buy these cocoa beans.”

cost for Certification Plus? As a privately held and very private company, Mars
officials say, specific numbers are not released. But Shapiro says the company
has spent “tens of millions of dollars up to this point” over the past 15
years. And it will cost “tens of millions of dollars” more.

a University of California professor, author and expert on sustainable
agriculture and agroforestry systems, is clearly determined to see the Mars’
goals become reality. “This is really the next level to a green revolution,” he
says. “And the project doesn’t end in 2020, it goes on forever.”

is Certification Plus so important to Mars? Mars is the world’s largest buyer
of cocoa bean equivalents by a company that makes a product. Some of the
industry’s brokers are larger purchasers, but Mars is the largest buying

Shapiro asks. “Because the Mars family recognizes that without a sustainable
future, they won’t have a business for their great grandchildren.”

10 years, Shapiro believes every Mars chocolate product will be made from
sustainable cocoa.

that includes goodnessKnows, its new chocolate, nut, whole grain and fruit
entry into the nutritional snack market. Mars says its “snacksquares” give
consumers 200 mg of cocoa flavanols, proven to have health and cardiological
benefits.  Mars owns several
patents on cocoa flavanols.

operates 135 factories in 68 countries and has annual global revenue of $28
billion, according to company information.

came to Boulder first, says Suzanne Stites, because it’s one of the “happiest
and healthiest” places. The testing, with ads running in newspapers, on RTD
buses and in-store samples, is now in Denver and soon will kick off TV

still early on,” Stites says, but buyers seem to like that the snack is
“calorie contained at 150 calories each, and it tastes really good.” 

just one disclaimer here. I only ate one almonds and berries goodnessKnows
snack (and one during the interview) while writing this column, but the samples
of all three flavors – 4 snacks to a package – seem to have disappeared quickly
at my house. It takes four snacks to make one 150-calorie serving, so a few
more flavanols for me surely seem like a healthy idea.



Categories : Business, Science
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Dr. Jenni Skyler, director of The Intimacy Institute of Boulder, was named the 2010 Young Careerist in the annual competition organized by Boulder Business and Professional Women. Lindsay Shaw, owner of Lindsay's Boulder Deli at Haagen-Daz in downtown Boulder, was selected as the runner-up.

This was the second year I was asked to help judge this competition, which looks at the candidates' career achievements as well as their their ability to project an image that reflects the role of today's young workforce in society. And once again, this was a tough and close contest, with each of the five women competitors taking the initiative to compete before judges as well as a final speech before members of Boulder's BPW organization.

In one part of the competition, all of the candidates join in a group discussion, looking to come up with solutions to a topic presented by the judges. With a sex therapist, an ice cream shop owner and others involved in different businesses, from architecture to financial consulting, the candidates decided they wanted to launch an community education group, providing mentoring and education on topics such as equity in pay to other women. And one idea for the name of the group? "Sex, Ice Cream & Business." Now that could certainly attract some participants.

I was always a supporter of BPW while I was editor of the Boulder County Business Report, and the business newspaper continues to be a sponsor of this competition, along with Flatirons Bank and Joining me as judges were Sue Deans, former editor of the Boulder Camera, and Wendy Reynolds, senior vice president of Flatirons Bank in Boulder. 

Skyler, a Ph.D. and board certified sexologist, was enthusiastic and kept the audience listening close as she spoke about her career as a sex therapist. She also writes several sex columns — "Sophisticated Sex" for the Boulder Weekly; "Sexy Shabbos with Dr. Jenni" for the Boulder Jewish News; and Sunday Sex Talk on She spoke on how to build healthy sexuality and how this helps men and women in our society.

Shaw also impressed both the judges and BPW members with her own life stories of how she has been a businesswoman for the past six years after encountering sexual discrimination in her first career as a teacher. Her talk about how she lost her job because she was living an "alternative" lifestyle — dating another woman — was open, honest and from the heart. 

Also competing were Julie Winslow, a investment adviser with Securian Financial Services; Katie Pekarek, a project manager for Kristin Lewis Architects; and Kathryn Matta, an event specialist with A Spice of Life Catering. All of the young businesswomen are active in numerous humanitarian and nonprofit organizations.

Funds raised from the event help support the Colorado BPW Education Foundation, YWCA and other advancement of women programs. The competition is also designed to attract new young member to BPW, and Skyler won a membership in the organization.

To learn more about the Boulder Business and Professional Women, visit their Web site at The group meets monthly with the mission of full participation, equity and economic self-sufficiency for working women.

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Here's the sign that originally went up at Absolute Vinyl and Little Horse Books in North Boulder.  

And here's the sign today. Turns out, everyone decided to take a little lower profile advertising the medical marijuana dispensary nearby. 


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 Mary Ann Mahoney, left, director of the Boulder Convention and Visitor's Bureau, with Heather Clisby, project coordinator for the inaugural DiMe symposium at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder.

Don Hall, left, producer of Disney's The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, was a panelist for DiMe. He also directed Walking Sleeping Beauty, a documentary being shown at the Boulder International Film Festival. 

Who's a creative? Just about everyone, a panel of exceptionally creative people agreed at Boulder's DiMe Digital Media Convergence Symposium — the inaugural year for the event that helped kick off the Boulder International Film Festival weekend.

But the emergence of a plethora of easier-to-use and often mobile technologies and media is widening how many people, including many children, are starting to put themselves into the rather loosely defined category of "creatives." 

The huge acceptance of blogging and social media now makes millions of people across the globe into published writers. "I think self-publishing has widened the world" of creatives, said David Rolfe, a producer with Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder. 

The symposium, organized by the Colorado Governor's new office of Film Television & Media and the Boulder Convention and Visitor's Bureau, packed the St. Julien Hotel room with about 200 people to hear a panel of eight experts talk about what's hot in the fast-changing world of new media. Robert Reich, founder of Boulder's OneRiot who also has grown the Boulder Denver Tech Meetup from about 50 to 5,000 registered users, moderated the panel.

With the success of the 3-D Avatar movie, the topic of how quickly 3-D will be adopted was high on the list. Calling the hit movie a "significant event," Rolfe said the movie has changed viewers attitudes from whether they thought it was a good movie plot or not to "Wow, that was quite an experience."

Theaters are now in a catch-up mode, said Don Hahn, a producer with Disney, to jump on the more profitable 3-D movie experience. "It's a real game changer," he said, adding that there are now about 80 3D theaters being installed each week. The 3D theaters, he said, generate about 50 percent more profit than standard movies. 

The panel also debated whether the new Apple iPad would be another "game changer." Boulder-based venture capitalist Jason Mendelson, a partner in the Foundry Group, had his doubts, saying he wasn't that sold on it yet, although he certainly was going to buy one. 

But other panelists, including Aidan Chopra, with Google's Sketchup office in Boulder, and Krista Marks, one of the founders of Kerpoof that was bought by Disney Interactive Media Group in 2008, quickly disagreed, saying the iPad 's tablet functionality will start to change the way people can access both entertainment and games as well as their work. 

The more ways kids can start to use creative platforms like Kerpoof on the Internet, the more they will continue to expand their skills to become the future technologists and engineers, Marks said. 

Life is not all roses with so many emerging technologies, the panel agreed, citing how different platforms — everything from the Apple iPhone to Google's Android and the new Palm Pre — fracture the the playing field for software developers. 

Brian Robbins, a game developer who started his own company Riptide Games, says his goal is to attract attention quickly in the very crowded world of mobile game apps, but getting each game to work on the different platforms makes his business much tougher. 

Competing against some 30,000 to 40,000 game apps right now for mobile phones, Robbins said, "If you're not looked at in the first 30 seconds to a minute, they're (the user) are gone."  

Other conclusions by the panel included: 

* Internet users may have to realize that not everything is going to be free on the Internet. "We need to teach people to pay for stuff again," Sketchup's Chopra said. Sketchup has grown rapidly since its acquisition by Google because a "free" version is offered. But the company also sells a "pro" version with more features. 

* No matter the media, the story and content is still critical. "Storytelling is in our caveman genes," Hahn said. 

* The DVD format could soon be in trouble, as more people begin to download their media. Younger people are downloading more movies, and "they are totally satisfied," said Michael Brown, founder of Serac Adventure Films and Film School. 

The panel f
orecast that it won't be long before the movie industry will offer new releases in DVD format and download formats on the same day as the movie is released. Piracy is one of the factors creating change. "If you don't give consumers exactly what they want, they will just take it," Mendelson said. 

After the symposium, Mary Ann Mahoney, director of the Boulder Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said there's a good chance that DiMe might be expanded next year, perhaps to include some interactive workshops and more presentations.

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A one-stop virtual gateway to the 2010 Winter Olympics, including bios,
medals won and hometowns of all the U.S. Olympians, is now online at

EarthvisionZ created the fun, dynamic site that
lets you experience the Olympics in a 3D world without ever leaving home.

through the city of Vancouver, see Olympic event centers, zoom down the slopes
on Whistler and Cypress Mountain race courses and learn more about the
completing athletes from around the world.

Designed for both Vancouver visitors as
well as the millions of Olympics followers around the globe, users also can
check on event times, current weather, and search results by athlete or
country.  Tourists in the Vancouver
area can look up restaurants, bars or the nearest coffee shop as well as access
regional transportation, hotel information, and most relevant to travelers by
car – the International Border Station wait times.

a few clicks at, track Facebook and Twitter feeds of
individual athletes from their online biographies; follow the instant, live
search of social media discussions about the Olympics from the Boulder-based
OneRiot search engine and even access television schedules for the entire games.

has created similar sports and tourism information sites for the 2008 Beijing
Summer Olympics, Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Golf Courses You Can Play, and
their own EarthgamZ site where they are currently aggregating a variety of
world sports on a virtual Earth. 
Their sport playgrounds combine the geospatial imagery of Google Earth
with the company’s patented search capabilities to assemble athlete stats and
profiles, game schedules, venues, sports news, medal counts, tickets and much
more on a single Web site.

built a site that lets you experience the excitement of the Winter Olympics
using a combination of social, search and Google Earth’s plug-in technology,”
said Carla Johnson, chief executive officer of EarthvisonZ. “ The site is
designed as a test-bed for future major global sporting events, including
everything from World Cup soccer to cycling to professional golf.”

will be prompted to download the fast-loading Google Earth plug-in if they
haven’t used it already.  The site
will be configured to be accessible to mobile phone users on their next event.

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an interesting dilemma for Colorado.

growth, natural as well as an in-migration from other states, vs. continuing
job losses and a state unemployment number that isn’t improving much.

happened in 2009, it’s forecast for 2010. But is it a problem? I couldn’t help
but wonder during a recent economic forecast by CU economist Richard Wobbekind
in Boulder.

people, disillusioned with worsening economies and few good jobs in their own
states, continue to pack their bags and head to the hills – our hills, namely
the Rocky Mountains.

population increased by about 72,000 in 2009. Of that, about 32,000 were people
moving in, according to CU business researchers.

isn’t something new, of course, for bountiful Colorado. We’ve had substantial
net migration since the end of World War II, about 880,000 people between 1950
and 1990. We had another net gain of 359,000 in domestic migration and 58,000
in international migration from 1990 to 1998.

This year, CU
economists think the state will continue to attract people – more than 88,000,
taking our total population to about 5.17 million. Colorado topped the 5
million mark in population in 2008 and continued to grow right through the

unemployment rate rose slightly in December to 7.5 percent; in December 2008 it
stood at 5.8 percent. Our numbers are better than many states, but experts all
say the real unemployment figure is certainly higher, easily double digit since
many people who’ve now lost their job benefits are simply dropping off unemployment

So I wondered about
this. More people continuing to move in – that’s a good thing perhaps for home
sales and rentals. But if they can’t find jobs, what are they going to do?

I asked this directly
to economist Wobbekind, who had made the point in his speech that a drop-off in
jobs combined with more people coming in would add another “pressure” point to
the state’s wobbly economy.

For 2010, the CU
business team forecast that the state would actually end the year with another
net loss of jobs, after losing some 100,000 jobs in 2009. Unemployment, they
predict, may climb to 8.1 percent.

A few other key
factors don’t bode well either for Colorado’s immediate future.

The recession
has cut into the state’s overall “intellectual power.”

services are being squeezed throughout state and local governments.

tax revenues are casting a big shadow over education funding, with cuts

So how might these conflicting numbers of higher in-migration of people
without enough jobs for newcomers, let alone the people who live here, somehow
be justified in the many ingredients that get stirred into the economic stew
every day?

Wobbekind offered me a few possibilities, stressing that these are “possibilities”
because they aren’t typically measured in key economic indicators. The new
census might be more revealing as it digs into just who is living here.

One, there’s
strong evidence that the number of “self-employed” workers is     increasing. As
people have lost jobs or decided to break out of the corporate world and     strike
out on their own, many are working from home, contracting for their services
and     just not showing up in measurable ranks of employment.

Two, several
people in a household are living off the income of a single worker. In other
words, one person may have been hired, and the entire family of 4 or 5 moved
here, adding to the net migration number.

Three, it’s
also possible someone in a new Colorado household continues to hold down a job
in another state, but is able to commute or even work virtually on that job. I
personally know of one woman, laid off from her job in Colorado, who recently
accepted a position out of state but as a Web editor on the Internet, she’s
able to continue to live here.

 No doubt, as
technology continues to drastically alter the landscape of what jobs are
looking like in the new decade, economists and researchers are going to have to
figure out how to adjust their numbers accordingly.

Or, if the state’s
job picture does not improve, as happened in past Colorado downturns – the “in”
migration may suddenly turn to “out” migration. 



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This is part of a column I wrote in Boulder in March 2007, when I went to a very small bloggers meeting with Twitter founder Evan Williams speaking. Imagine the crowd he would draw now. I wonder what he charges now to speak?

At the time, Williams had 1,500 followers on Twitter. Today, I just checked and the Twitter CEO now has about 1.16 million followers. How far this company has come in the three years since I first heard of Twitter. You can now follow him on Twitter @ev and read his blog at

Here's what I had to say in 2007.

"I'm writing my story about Twitter."

Answering the question "What are you doing?" in 140 characters or less is the very simple business model of one of the newest social networking sites on the Web,

It's called twittering, and founder Evan Williams said the site was created "more or less on a whim." Now, with the site getting rants and raves from bloggers around the world and user updates reaching 900,000 so far in March, Williams told attendees at a Boulder conference on Weblogs and Social Media that it's "taking over our lives."

Williams, also a founder of and before that, co-founder of, drew laughs showing some of the Twitter posts, including one of his own recently – "I just wrecked my car. I'm fine." Another example: "Internet. I'm in labor."

His audience at the Boulder Marriott, most surfing wirelessly on their laptops and one posting to the live demonstration of Twitter, seemed enthralled with yet another way to communicate to friends instantly.

Twitter, Williams explained, has been called everything from "blogging on crack" to "dodgeball but boring." He liked one blogger's description of "ambient intimacy." For a site that's only nine months old and still trying to figure out what it will be, Williams described it as simply a "blogging tool."

Already new applications are springing up, including Twitterific, a small desktop app for Macs, and Twittervision, which maps the location of anyone posting to Twitter. Another site,, lists the top 100 "Twits" ranked by their following of friends. 

Williams is No. 5 on the list with 1,500 people – something he says he's not really encouraging because he doesn't want to see Twitter become another popularity contest.

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