A Wedgie made and shared by The Volante, a student newspaper in South Dakota, this morning got us thinking about the cost of an education. There is a lot of debate about the cost of college education right now. Some sides are arguing that it makes more sense for students to skip a degree and start learning real world skills. If you have attended a college or university, do you still have student debt?
Jimmy and I both felt it was important to share our thoughts on Romotive’s move to California and the impact they’ve had on the #vegastech community. We’re excited for Romotive and looking forward to watching them achieve their goals as a company and a team.
“Hey, I want you to meet these 3 guys that have a robot on Kickstarter”
That was 18 months ago and that night I watched a little robot with a goofy face roll into The Beat followed by the three founders of Romotive. They had just graduated from the Seattle Tech Stars program, were in the middle of a KickStarter and had no clear idea where they were headed next, but I’m pretty sure Vegas was low on the list. If it weren’t for the rock climbing here, they may never have stopped in the first place.
A few weeks later I watched Keller, Peter and Phu try to figure out how to open a corporate bank account to deposit their six figure Kickstarter check. Over the course of the next 18 months, I watched and learned from them. And I put a lot of it into practice.
I learned from Romotive that the Startup that Lives together, Wins together. Watching the way their team lived and worked in the same space changed my point of view on what an office should be. Every Wednesday night, Romotive would host a community dinner in their home/offices and invite anyone to come eat and play ping pong. At Wedgies, we have modeled our working space after this, moving into a house where we live and work instead of trying to find office space or coffee shop surf.
I learned from Keller that hiring is also selling. You have to sell someone on why you are solving an important and compelling problem. You have to sell them on why you are going to do it the best. And finally, you have to sell them on why they should move to Las Vegas.
And now I’m learning from Romotive that it is hard to scale a startup past 20 employees here in Las Vegas. This is something that Porter and I have heard often from outside investors. And it’s something that our tech community is going to have to learn how to compensate for.
Romotive was one of the first companies to jump into the Downtown Las Vegas Technology community. Of the 30 or so companies working from Downtown they’re likely the most successful. They’ve got an incredible team of passionate technologist working on an intriguing problem – how to make robots available to the masses.
Romotive showed up in Las Vegas with incredible momentum, an impressive Kickstarter campaign, the TechStars seal of approval, and a team of three passionate and excited founders.
By many accounts, the press is taking a negative spin on Romotive’s recent announcement that they’re moving out of Las Vegas and re-relocating to Silicon Valley.
This view is wrong. Downtown and Romotive should be incredibly proud of what they created here.
What exactly did they create? An incredible robot. But, more importantly, Romotive created a recipe for success for many of the other Downtown #vegastech startups.
Romotive was the first company Downtown to find this type of broad, public success. As such, they’ve helped pave a path for the rest of us. They cracked the code to questions like:
- How do we recruit star talent to a Downtown startup?
- How do we raise an A round while being based in Las Vegas?
- How do we take advantage of all the attention that Downtown is getting?
I’m incredibly excited for Romotive. They’ve got an amazing path ahead of them and will likely find exactly the ingredients their company needs for success in Silicon Valley.
Maybe they were a bit too early for Downtown, or maybe they could only knock down so many barriers as the trail blazer Downtown. Anyway you cut it; they’ve provided the rest of us with an incredible framework for success and have given back far more than they took from the community.
Here’s to Romotive, and all the lessons they’ve learned on behalf of Downtown Las Vegas.
When your company is named wedgies.com, you get a lot of questions like, “What’s a wedgie?” or “Should I give wedgies to my friends?” When people ask us what we’re up to, we coyly say, “We’re on a mission to give the entire world a wedgie.” :)
In that vein, we’re always trying to get more wedgies in more places. Wedgies started out as a place to gather audience opinion from social media. Along the way we realized another important place to gather opinions is from visitors to your site.
Wedgies on your site have a lot of fun advantages. You engage your readers with a fun experience, you collect their feedback in realtime, and you prompt them to share out their opinion about your content. If you’d like to put a wedgie on your site, here’s how:
Step 1 - Create a fun wedgie:
Step 2 - Click embed to put a wedgie on your site:
Step 3 - Get wedgies embed code:
Step 4 - Copy embed code and paste into your CMS, Wordpress, Tumblr or site.
4 easy steps to put a wedgie on your site and start gathering votes! We’re always available to answer questions or help: info @ wedgies.com
For those looking for an example, here’s a quick look at how the USA Today is using wedgies.
One of my favorite thing about wedgies are the incredible places that people figure out how to use them.
For instance, our friend Jared Montz, of Online Soccer Academy, figured out how to embed wedgies in youtube videos. He took our shortened action links from Twitter and pasted them in as overlaid clickable objects in youtube video. See for yourself:
If you’re wondering how to do this, check out this quick screenshot/tutorial from Jared:
By adding clickable annotations to the video, and linking those via short, voting URLs for wedgies you can vote directly from youtube!
A really neat hack, and you can see Jared got over 300 votes from his youtube video. We’re excited to see some other folks put together interesting wedgies/youtube integrations.
And, in case you were wondering, Jared’s a pro at how to chip a soccer ball. If you’re ever interested in more soccer video’s Jared youtube channel is the place to do it.
Wedgies HQ is all geared up for tonight’s Inauguration. Here’s what we think’s going to happen:
Last week, we watched Jodie Foster give a moving speech at the Golden Globes, and it made us realize that even the most boring events can be given a kick in the ass. Remembering that Inauguration Day is on the way, we got thinking: Does the Presidential Inauguration need a facelift?
The date has changed over the years, and the participants change, but the basic format is as predictable as it gets. Glory Parade, Vice-Presidential oath of office, the United States Marine Band belts out a few classic tunes, the President-Elect takes the oath of office, the President gives an encouraging speech, and everybody sprays champagne on each other while fighter jets sonic-boom the snot out of the crowd. But we’re America. Can’t we do better?
Instead of the same old ceremony, what if the Chief Justice waited on stage with Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsyltucky while Air Force One landed right beside the podium … and if Obama saw his shadow when he exited the plane, the groundhog got to be President? Or we could stick with the comfortable, predictable format we’re used to. So, without further ado - cast your vote on: Should we spice up Inauguration Day?
This last weekend alarms started going off at the Wedgies Data Center. Server load was spiking. We had no idea what was going on. We spun up more servers and stabilized the load and began our investigation. Evidence pointed to an external source driving increased traffic to us. Was this our Justin Bieber making a Wedgie? Was this the equivalent of Ashton Kutcher challenging CNN to see who could get more votes on a poll? Was this the big payoff that everyone at Wedgies HQ had been working so hard for?
Wedgies is a startup out of Las Vegas that has assembled a team including a hustler, a developer, and a kick ass designer with a lot of experience in both web apps and mobile, We are hiring one more developer with serious front end chops to help us create the best simple polling product out there.
Internet polls and surveys are soooo web 1.0. There has been no real innovation or excitement in the space since Wufoo let you customize the colors of your error messages. We are here to change that. We are already delighting users and customers like USA Today with our real time results and easily shareable and embeddable polls.
Additionally, Wedgies is part of the Vegas Tech Fund and an active participant in Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. We aren’t just building a company, but helping build a city and community where entrepreneurs and techies can call home.
We are looking for a front end developer that is strong in Javacript, CSS, HTML and that is excited about the opportunity of building a startup from the ground up as well as helping build a new type of city.
On a personal note, I can’t even begin to describe how exciting being part of the Downtown Project to this point has been. Building a tech community and seeing the way it integrates into the real city of Las Vegas is awe inspiring.
If you are interested or know someone that is, let us know. Introductions welcome and appreciated! Just shoot me an email to jimmy AT wedgies DOT com!
The Bullet Pointed List:
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Wondrous Yule!
We just finished decorating our Holiday Tree and wanted to share our excitement with you. It’s likely, and somewhat sad, that no one will wish you a Wondrous Yule this season, so we thought we’d take care of that one. What’s Yule? Getting any Yuletide feelings? Yule is a multi-day festival that celebrated the return of the Sun at the end of the Winter Solstice and it was absorbed into Christmas festivities over a number of centuries. Yule is still celebrated by some and it’s one of the many holidays you’re in danger of ignoring with a specific greeting this year. We won’t even get into Soyal, Yaldā, or Pancha Ganapati… We just wanted to get you thinking.
Is it offensive to use the wrong words to wish someone well or is it actually the thought the counts? Does it boil your eggnog when someone wishes you Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas?