Photos “A Celebration of Entrepreneurs” Gala, Honoring Raymond Plank

Houston Technology Center's Annual Gala
Houston Technology Center's Annual Gala
HTC’s – A Celebration of Entrepreneurs Gala, Honoring Raymond Plank

Photos from a recent client event – “A Celebration of Entrepreneurs” Gala, Honoring Raymond Plank by the Houston Technology Center.

I was honored to be one of the recognized Entrepreneurs although definitely not in the same league as the people crossing the podium!

While I always joke that I live on an airplane, Houston is home. So it is still such an honor for me to know that to know our Open Source Software serves clients like the HTC and learn firsthand just how amazingly funny but determined a man like Raymond Plank is.


And this last week I got to see an inspiring and truly amazing personal friend of mine speak. None other than Grace Rodriguez who now works with TED. She spoke at one of our other client’s luncheon this month, the American Advertising Federation of Houston. A few of those photos are on the Tendenci AMS site as well and cross posted to the AAF-Houston site. I am a former board member and have been involved in AAF Houston for years.

Grace Rodriguez photo gallery
Grace Rodriguez Speaking at AAF Houston

The best part about attending client events, well there are several really, but they include things like:

  1. Attending a client event – It’s a chance to say thank you to our client! With over 300+ that we host it gets harder and harder to say thank you as I don’t know many of you personally. A while back we added up a count of users logging in different Tendenci sites just in our data centers (we have three). Just the totals of course with no identifying data, and it was over 1.2 million souls. It makes me proud and also nervous when we tweak the Tendenci user interface!
  2. Attending a client event – I listen and YOU tell us how to improve what is both yours and our product! Yes, Tendenci is fully open source and you can download it from github at So there may not be a direct financial benefit. Yet that is truly OK as Tendenci is clearly not just about the money. And a lot of y’all do host with us.  We appreciate both the developers who use and tell us how to improve and the clients we host and manage everything for them.

Speaking of feedback – be sure to tell us how to improve the software on our new community discussion forum at We talk to a lot of developers on github so the forum is more for…. you know… humans who use the software day to day. What are your needs? What would you like to see in Tendenci?

What is your priority on our Roadmap for example?

I’ll do another blog post about the Tendenci community forums soon. (This also means that we now have forums integrated with Tendenci. We found another great Django based open source project named Misago which works great with Tendenci given we also use Django. Next is the single-sign-on server process….

Onward! And have a great Friday y’all!


7 Tips for New Entrepreneurs from Tech Champs

Welcome WIlson Sr. Shares Tips with Houston Technology Champions

Last Friday, noted Real Estate Developer and Entrepreneur Welcome Wilson Sr.  shared great advice for new entrepreneurs along with some terrific jokes at the August Technology Champions event.  The Houston Technology Center hosts a monthly Technology Champions breakfast and  Tech Champs members  represent Houston’s entrepreneurial and technology leaders and experts.

Although the event is focused on technology start-ups, I believe nonprofits and other organizations looking to succeed in this economy can also apply Welcome  Wilson Sr.’s “7 Tips for New Entrepreneurs”.

Tip #1: Never Trust an Expert More than You Trust Yourself!

If someone presents themselves as an expert and their evidence or reports don’t quite add up to you – trust your gut and do some research yourself, and get a second opinion.  There are a lot of “experts” out there who are more skilled at taking your money then providing your business with real value if you let them.

Tip #2: It is Safer to be a Copycat than a Pioneer!

Take MySpace versus Facebook or Internet Explorer versus Chrome and Firefox, and remember it isn’t always the person who comes up with the idea first that succeeds.  Most successful companies began by taking an idea that already existed and then found ways to improve on the idea, the marketing message or both.

Tip #3: You are NOT Invincible, Despite What You Think!

It takes a lot of courage to start your own company and that same attitude can also lead to an abundance of fearlessness. Take a moment to analyze those big make or break decisions because you can make a mistake and your business can run out of money and fail.

Tip #4: Deal with the Major Set Backs, Then Forget About it and Move On!

Sometimes you make a mistake and some things are out of your control – like the economy.  When something happens that steers you off track – analyze your situation to determine how it happened.  Think about it for a little while and then if you make plans to go ahead, move on and forget the failure and remember your successes.

Tip #5: Schmooze Important People!

Welcome Wilson Sr. said it best: “Any success is a group effort”. Find people who can help you succeed and then get to know them.  Think of what you can do to help them and offer that help.

Tip #6: Never, NEVER Burn a Bridge!

You never know who you may need to partner with down the road, and good relationships are critical in business deals. Treat people with kindness and respect, no matter how nasty they are in return.  You’ll earn their respect, the respect of those around you, and you’ll be remembered as a good person to do business with.

Tip #7 “Be Prepared and Show Up!”

This final tip is applicable to pretty much any situation I can imagine in life – you have to show up to the event with the items and information you need to accomplish your objectives.

I’ll conclude with one of the hilarious jokes Wilson Sr. told Friday after proclaiming he and his Alma Mater, the University of Houston are both 84 years old: “You know you’re getting old when you tell your best friend that you are having an affair, and he wants to know who’s catering it.”

The Technology Champions Networking Breakfasts are just one of many events the Houston Technology Center hosts.  This Wednesday August 10th, HTC has partnered with NASA/Johnson Space Center to offer “Resources for Entrepreneurs” orientation meetings at the Gilruth Center in Clear Lake.  Register to learn how to find the tools and resources you need as an entrepreneur.

View future entrepreneurial events at the  Houston Technology Center’s Calendar    and check out photos from Friday’s Tech Champs networking breakfast.

Steve Ballmer Speaks at Houston Technology Center Forum

Houston Technology Center

HTC welcomes the CEO of Microsoft!

A gorgeous day downtown, the great folks at Houston Technology Center and guest Steve Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft drew dozens and dozens to Minute Maid Park’s Union Station for today’s Houston Technology Forum.

The Houston Technology Center is known for affording education, insight and more to entrepreneurs needing to climb the ropes to commercialization.   The topic of the day, presented by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, was “Strategic Implications for Houston as a Center for Innovation.”

“The most grand commodity of all is information” – Steve Ballmer


Steve Ballmer Microsoft Houston Technology Center

High Tech Talk

Highlights included the path that technology has taken in the last decade and where it’s going in the next.   Hand-held devices, resources technology and virtual worlds where business takes place with Avatars were all topics of discussion.   The forum mainly, however,   focused on informations technology and the important and continuing role it will play on business development in the years to come.

Steve Ballmer also spiced things up wit ha sneak peak of some great Avatar based progra ms for X-Box360 even giving away an X-Box to a lucky attendee at the end of the program.

Houston Technology Center Microsoft

Hugs to Houston Technology Center

Sheila Whanger did a great job organizing the event and it was wonderful to see Walter Ulrich, President & CEO of Houston Technology Center up on the stage as well.   Let’s not also forget the welcoming faces of   Downey Bridgwater, Chairman of the Board – HTC and Larry Kellner, Chairman of the Board – Greater Houston Partnership.

It was great, everyone.   Thanks so much to HTC!

Houston Technology Center Walter Ulrich 2