What I’ve learned about the Colorado tech community after Year 2 of CTW

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2 years ago, on June 16, I posted my first Colorado Tech Weekly. A year ago I reflected on what I learned so I figured since I’m still going and the last reflection was fun I’d do it again.

5 things I’ve learned in no particular order

  • You need style AND substance to succeed – Colorado is a tech startup hub and opportunities for growth and new businesses are everywhere. To succeed, you need style. You need marketing, PR and a supportive and fervent community of fans. However this is not enough. The successful companies are the ones that also have solid products and services. Without both, your startup will not succeed here.
  • A good idea does not guarantee success – This follows up on my first point. Last year I lamented how Twitter may not have been the best way to keep track of Colorado technology companies since I can only follow 2,001. I found a way to cull my following list to accounts that are only active and while doing that I have found plenty of Twitter accounts for tech companies that no longer exist. They were good ideas, but they just didn’t work out.
  • There’s a huge difference between writing code and making apps – Taking the college education route I’ve learned a lot about programming theory, data structures and how to write code. Making an app, whether that means a web app, mobile app or any other software, is a whole other animal. It requires more than just writing code.
  • Colorado Tech journalism is getting better – When I first started Colorado Tech Weekly I posted 5 national news stories and 5 Colorado news stories because I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find enough Colorado news stories. Now every week I sort through 70-100 articles to get it down to the 10 articles I post. It can be very overwhelming, and that is awesome.
  • Building is fun. Maintaining is harder. – Startups are fun because they’re new and exciting! It’s hard work, but you get to experiment with new ways of doing things and try new ideas. It’s when you get something set up that the maintenance starts. Whether it’s starting a company, owning a home or writing a weekly newsletter, it’s the maintenance that makes the difference.

Numbers:

  • My site receives around 1,000 visits per month. About 125 of those come from Colorado.
  • 2,435 Twitter accounts listed in my Colorado Tech list with 34 people subscribed to it. That’s almost 1,000 more on the list than last year.
  • I am subscribed to 221 Colorado tech news sources including news sites and company websites as well as blogs written by local developers and organizations.

Top 5 Colorado Tech Weekly posts in the past year:

  1. Colorado Tech Weekly #71: Aggregating the Aggregations
  2. Colorado Tech Weekly #95: GoCodeColorado and More Security News
  3. Colorado Tech Weekly #63: A meme, some money and my school
  4. Colorado Tech Weekly #99: Is Colorado the best place for women in tech?
  5. Colorado Tech Weekly #94: All About Denver, Security and Maybe Even Google Fiber?

Top 5 most mentioned companies:

  1. Zayo Group
  2. LogRhythm
  3. QuickLeft
  4. Level 3
  5. Wayin

Where do I go from here?

  • I said it last year and I’ll say it again now, I will be better at posting project updates and general blog posts. Half the reason I started my CTW posts was to drive smart people like you to my site so you can see what cool things I am up to.
  • Let’s revamp the site! As much as I enjoy back-end web development I need to know some front-end web development to show off my projects. Like I said when I tried to teach myself UX, if I want people to use the apps I make, I need to make them easy to use. So why not practice where it counts?
  • Site Maintenance: I need to kick the tires, check the oil and replace the gaskets on this site. I need to make sure my content matches who I am and that it’s easy to read.

Thanks a ton for reading! I keep trying to tell myself that I write these blog posts for my benefit and it’s just an extra bonus that other people might read them but it’s really nice to know people do read them. Let’s do this again in a year!

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