Join the SchipulCon kick off party at Saint Arnold’s Brewery 9/21

SchipulCon 2011 robot party - join us

Ever feel the need to check out the awesomeness of conference attendees BEFORE you get there?  Ever wish you could spend an evening getting to rub elbows and grabbing a pint with speakers, organizers, sponsors and…. robots…. without the official conference pressure?

We hear ya’ – and have set up one heck of a fun soiree for you at the one and only Saint Arnold’s Brewery  for those exact purposes!

Join the fun with our SchipulCon Pop Up Party – an evening of beer, bites and fun to help kick off the upcoming SchipulCon event on October 6th – 7th.  We’re excited to have great food to nibble on from Radical Eats and some pretty nifty surprises you’ll have to see to believe.

>>> Register here for our FREE SchipulCon kick off party and be in the running for some cool prizes

And speaking of awesome SchipulCon prizes….

The SchipulCon kick off party is not just about the FREE BEER (although we can all agree that’s critical),  it’s about WINNING.

Since we just celebrated Schipul’s 14th birthday, we’re giving $100 bucks off to the first 13  people through the door — and the 14th person will attend SchipulCon for FREE.

So get your 14th-person-through-the-door strategy ready, and don’t run over anyone in the brewery. (Didn’t your mother teach you not to drink and run?)    Don’t think you can be in the first 14? No one’s going home empty-handed.

Everyone who attends gets $50 off registration until noon on Thursday 9/22. Because sometimes robots like to sleep in after a night at Saint Arnold’s…. just sayin’.

So don’t delay – get your registration on already!

Nothing says a good time like beer, robots and a room full of brainy awesome people – what better way to celebrate a Wednesday than with you!  Register for your spot at the SchipulCon kick off party – can’t wait to cheers you.



‘Ask a Geek’ at SchipulCon – where Web dreams come true

SchipulCon ask a geek

With 3 rooms fulls of fantastic speakers from all across the country and some of the finest attendees around (love you guys!), we just can’t wait to get to SchipulCon to grow your brain, network and creative side!!

October 6th and 7th is coming quickly and we’ve got some extra special announcements for you (psssttt… if you’re not signed up for our SchipulCon newsletter, you’re really missing out!).

Liza Kindred schools us on the future of e-commerce

Liza Kindred SchipulCon speakerEver meet one of those people that  Then SchipulCon speaker Liza Kindred should look awfully familiar with her Drupal, e-commerce and start up butt kickin’ ways.

Her presentation on ‘The New E-Commerce‘ is going to blow you away – learn how to combine the social web, innovative business models and awesome emerging technology to help you sell, sell, SELLLLL!!!  Don’t miss this one, seriously.


Personalized Ask a Geek tech and marketing sessions

Think of our Ask a Geek sessions like a Web marketing kissing booth, without the chapstick and breathmints.  We’ll have some of our Schipulite Web geeks on call to give you 20 minutes worth of their brains and expertise.

Have a specific pressing Facebook marketing question?  Want to feel inspired about your latest Drupal site view?  Need a little hand holding on your Twitter tactics (hey now, no frisky business).  This is the perfect session for you!

Register for your slot by filling out this form here and get ready to connect to some Web marketing and tech magic like never before!

Get those SchipulCon badges – your website can do the robot!

SchipulCon attending 2011While you might have two left feet, no reason your website or blog shouldn’t get a little funky.  Grab our cool robot and brain SchipulCon badges and share your SchipulCon pride like never before.

Email us a link to your SchipulCon badge-laden website and you just might get a super cool surprise 🙂  Can’t wait to get our geek on with you at SchipulCon – tickets are going fast, jump in to join the fun!

Photo thanks to Zitona on Flickr

14 years and a big year at that

September 1, 2011 is the 14th anniversary of starting the company. 14 years. Considering I was unable to hold a single job for more than 2 years before this (if you exclude teaching on and off at a gym in college) this is impressive for me to stay focused for 14 years. But my job has changed. Years ago I realized that the company had grown to the point that I, me personally, was no longer the one building web sites. Rather my job transformed into growing people. And I enjoy and try very hard to surround myself with brilliant, hard working people with positive attitudes. Turns out they make great employees and they challenge me to grow at the same time.

14 is kind of an  awkward  age. I think if you are married there isn’t even a recommended gift from  de beers  given it isn’t a multiple of 5. (Wait. Sheesh, I just looked it up. 14 years is traditionally  ivory? What the heck? Do NOT send me any ivory people. Really. Elephants look better with their tusks IMHO.)

And this is my second blog post on I have submitted other posts, but as I was reminded when I mentioned to  Katie  that I was writing this post, apparently “snark” isn’t appropriate on  I must reserve that for my own blog or the Chron. Thus my previous posts were rejected by Katie for official publication. Hopefully this one makes the cut!

Back to the 14 year thing. Obviously I am incredibly grateful to my family and friends who helped me start the business. There truly is no such thing as a self-made-man, woman, entrepreneur, whatever. We ALL get a TON of help in both sweat equity, money, advice, support and every other type of help imaginable. Nobody can do it alone. The media likes to tell the story of a modern day  Galt  charging forward solo against the odds. It doesn’t work that way. It takes a network of support to start a business. And I had that network 14 years ago and I still have it now. And as I have said many times, the biggest supporter I have ever had is my wife Rachel. If Rachel had not gone back to work in 1997 when I quit my job the company wouldn’t exist at all.

In the early days, huge thanks to Paul Bieniawski, Scott Pederson and Javier Avellan as well. Starting a company is like moving apartments when you are young; everyone says they are your friend, but suddenly they are busy and can’t help on that particular Saturday. Rachel, Paul, Scott and Javier freed up the time to help me and were truly paid in pizza and beer (yes really). Our first server was built on the floor of Scott’s kitchen using left over alpha hardware and a case, motherboard and CPU purchased on  Harwin. (Tip for future entrepreneurs – NEVER use “alpha” hardware. Uuuugh, that server was rough. But it got the job done.)

Employees – the team – the heart of the company. I appreciate  Jennifer, Rodney, Aaron, Jenny, Katie, Eloy, Kerry, Lyndia and the entire team. We definitely would NOT be celebrating 14 years without all of them. And that’s not even listing some of our former employees who made huge contributions, helped the company move forward and then went on to follow their own path. Their impact was felt and moved the ship forward. And a special shout out to Ellen M, my very first employee, who is awesome despite having gone to t.u.

Clients  – we are here to serve our clients and without clients we wouldn’t exist. Saying thank you to our clients, letting them know we understand we work for them, and that we appreciate them, can’t be repeated often enough. So if you are a client reading this –  THANK YOU!

I have a lot of history of the company to write. Forgive me if I am missing something and I’ll try to get it all organized by the time we hit 15 years.

So if I didn’t write a blog post at year 10, if I didn’t write one at year 11, 12 or 13, why now?  Because 2011 is different for us.  We have not had a year this transformative in the company’s history since 2001 when we shut down network consulting services and started programming codebase (now called Tendenci.) In fact our theme this year is  “Go Big or Go Home”  which I borrowed from Aaron’s team goals. That Aaron is a wise man.

“Go Big or Go Home” is definitely not a typical theme for a conservative businessman running a company during a recession. But in 2011 we effectively “doubled down” as they say.  Instead of running from a recession, we charged into it and reinvested while cutting costs and reinventing our products. Go big or go home in 2011 means this year we:

  1. Tendenci  – Finished the rewrite of Tendenci version 5 on the Amazon server cloud. The rewrite started in January of 2009 and we had a few clients moved onto the new version in 2010. But only in 2011 has our dedicated team of programmers started to really build the recurring revenue and functionality to rival Tendenci 4. I can’t speak highly enough of the team. Writing software ALWAYS takes longer than you want and costs more. That has been the case for us with the rewrite of Tendenci. But it IS done and live on client sites like  Discovery Green and ThinkLA. We look forward to converting our other 400 clients to the latest version over the next few years.
  2.  SchipulCon 2011!  – We had our first  Tendenci user conference  in 2007. We tried to do it again in 2008 but  Hurricane Ike  had other ideas and instead  we cancelled and had a giant party. I know, a dot-com kind of thing to do, but if you remember the time after Ike we all needed a bit of healing and beer heals.  In  2009  we renamed it  SchipulCon  and had a great event at our long time client the  Houston Zoo. Well, you guessed it, we are DOING IT AGAIN! Please check out our speakers and register for  SchipulCon October 6,7, 2011  at client  Norris Conference Center at CityCentre  in Houston.
  3. Silicon Valley  – we opened an office in Silicon Valley in March of this year led by  April Kyle. We are learning to speak Californian and finding they aren’t so different from us! West coaster? Give us at call in the valley at  408-430-3137!
  4. Business Processes  – kind of boring to talk about, but we have completely reengineered our internal processes from accounting procedures to better utilization of  SugarCRM  and switching  time tracking  and moving our email to the cloud. It hasn’t been completely smooth, but it is building a foundation for us to continue our growth unimpeded. Thank you to the team for moving with the cheese in 2011 as we grow! And it helps our clients by improving our efficiency which allows us to reinvest in YOU!
  5. Tendenci self-signup  – by the end of 2011 smaller organizations will be able to self signup for a much lower cost Tendenci site for their organization. We have lowered our costs by moving into the cloud and we are passing those savings on to our clients to enable more and more small associations to take advantage of our technology at an affordable price.  (Special shout-out to former employee  Glenbot  who has moved on to a VC backed firm. Without Glen’s contributions to Tendenci 5 over the last few years we wouldn’t be this close. Thanks Glen. I appreciate the beautiful code dude.)

And to our competitors who told our clients we had “stagnated” and had “stopped updating Tendenci,” … um…. ooops, meet T5 baby! Rockin the cloud for a bigger and better future. Two and a half years of serious double-down and rebuilding was hard to endure, but we are near the finish line to the ultimate benefit of our clients.

And the team has done all of that in the  fourth year of a recession.  Call us crazy, but we figured there would never be a good time to do any of these changes, so why not do them all at once?  Why not Go Big or Go Home in 2011?!  And we are doing it. And I couldn’t be more proud of our employees or more grateful to our clients and everyone who has helped us not only this year, but every year for the last 14 years.

Please join us for  SchipulCon  and get some brain candy. We are here to serve you. We are reinvesting to serve you better. And as always, we are appreciative of Houston and the community and friends that have supported us for so long.  Thank you!


Hear ye, hear ye – welcome SchipulCon sponsor Texas Ren Fest!

Texas Renaissance Festival comes to SchipulCon

While there won’t be any jousts and we are not encouraging attendees to wear chain mail (although that would be hilarious), we are excited to welcome the Texas Renaissance Festival as a SchipulCon sponsor!  (Disclosure, they are a Schipul client)

The Ren Fest folks be spreading good cheer (in Olde English, of course) and are providing every SchipulCon attendee with 2 tickets to the festival which, conveniently enough, begins the weekend following SchipulCon.

Grab those SchipulCon tickets now, before the goblins get them!

SchipulCon registrations are going fast, be sure to sign you and your favorite co-workers of the round table to enjoy the brain growing and, mayhaps, mead imbibing experience!  Our Labor Day discount code ($25 / ticket off, good until 11:45pm Monday, September 5th) is the perfect accompaniment to your registration:  laborday  

And who knows?  You might even make some new fairy friends!  Photos thanks to Ed Schipul

Meet Brian Sullivan + use our SchipulCon Labor Day discount!

SchipulCon loves robots

Give your wallet the day off with our handy Labor Day discount code!

While Labor Day was originally designed to celebrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”, the SchipulCon robots are putting their own spin on the holiday offering a handy discount code to all of our favorite laborers, leaders and learners.

Get your SchipulCon tickets with $25 to spare (that’s a decent happy hour tab, folks!) by using this code until Monday, September 5th 11:45pm:  laborday

Brian Sullivan SchipulCon speaker

Meet super hero design speaker Brian Sullivan

As if a coupon wasn’t exciting enough, we have even cooler news!  Please welcome Brian Sullivan, founder of The Big (D)esign Conference – among other notable achievements, as one of our amazing SchipulCon speakers!

Brian is joining us as an inspirational and actionable presenter bent on reaching the designer within all of us.  Yes, even you CEO of that awesome company.  And YOU, marketing director of our favorite nonprofit.

Read more about his great presentation “Collaborative Sketching for Design Ideation” and get ready to turn your brilliant ideas into well-planned and well-received successes in your business through the power

Get your SchipulCon tickets – don’t forget your favorite co-workers and clients

Know that post-conference high you get when your brain is so crammed full of ideas that you just can’t bear your old mediocre workstyle any longer?  Be sure to bring along your office cohorts so they can join in on the inspiration and excitement too!

Want to bring a group?  Let us know and we’ll connect you to a great group rate.  Getting hyper about SchipulCon and want your brand to join in the awesomeness?  Check out our totally awesome SchipulCon sponsorship info and be part of the buzz!  Can’t wait to learn and play on October 6th – 7th!

>> Awesome robot image thanks to Flickr user Steve.M~

SchipulCon schedule and robots galore!

SchipulCon robot

Holy guacamole!   We’re 8 weeks away from SchipulCon 2011 business, marketing and technology magic on October 6th and 7th – have you gotten your conference ticket yet?

There’s never been a better place to Create, Profit and Reach – come learn and play with us!

Get excited about our SchipulCon schedule!

SchipulCon schedule 2011

We’re not afraid to show you our awesome work in progress, especially as we know what a masterpiece SchipulCon is going to be!   Peruse some of our confirmed speakers and general topic areas on the SchipulCon agenda.   Check back regularly for more updates!

Robots and brains for your blog and website

SchipulCon attendee badge

No, we’re not quitting our day jobs to become zombies – but we do have some pretty awesome SchipulCon badges to share the love of our upcoming conference!

Shout your SchipulCon pride loud and clear – whether you are a speaker, sponsor or absolutely awesome attendee – we’ve got a little something for everyone.

And now for some random robot facts:

* The very first robot to appear on the silver screen was in the 1927 film Metropolis

* George Lucas’ C-3PO drew heavily from Metropolis’ Maria robot (neat!)

* Even Leonardo DaVinci had a soft spot for our robot friends

* YOU! (yes, you!) will get to play with robots too at SchipulCon!

SchipulCon photos with love from Eye-Fi

Thanks to Eye-Fi, one of our beloved SchipulCon sponsors, we’ve got LOADS!!! of great photos from SchipulCon popping up on Flickr.

Ziv, our fearless Eye-Fi rock star photographer, snaps his shots and automatically uploads them to the Web – cutting out loads of late night download time, keeping you up-to-date as things happen.  FUN!