Jersey’s Sports Bar in Shoreline

Jersey's Short Rib SandwichThere are no good sports bars in North Seattle. Hell, there aren’t even any really good sports bars in Seattle, at least compared to San Diego, although there are some kick-ass soccer bars (San Diego has those too though).

But one bar that I really wish more people went to is Jersey’s Great Food & Sports at 1306 N 175th St in Shoreline. It’s a funky little place tucked away off Aurora on 175th, but man they’ve got some really good food!

This is a picture of their Short Rib sandwich with coleslaw on top – I’m telling you it’s frickin’ awesome! Love the cibbatta bun especially, and the fries are addicting. This ain’t no Sysco food wagon.

And they’ve got a Chipotle burger that’s just unbelievable. Good food, cheap drinks and beer.. not sure why more people don’t come here? Especially during football season. Especially in the North End where there ain’t shit-all to hang out (what, Bleachers? Please.)

If you read their Yelp reviews, you’ll see everyone typically loves the food, but dislikes the service, at least in the restaurant – wouldn’t know, I always sit at the bar, or on the bar, or near the bar, just to make sure I get good service.. you know, the hard-to-ignore jerk?

I do think they’re kind of floundering a little bit – are they a family restaurant? a sports bar? a disco/nightclub thing in the evening? Sheesh.

But in the end, the food is damn good, and if you need a place to eat and watch a sporting event, then you should keep Jersey’s in mind!

Interesting idea for carbon tax

I have to say, I really like the idea expressed in this NY Times article about climate change:

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

I imagine there are some thrifty people out there that could actually net PROFIT from the proceeds of a carbon tax reimbursement. I love the idea that the government doesn’t get to keep the revenue. To me, this is thinking outside the box!


Another Startup Weekend under my belt – Day 1

Well, that was certainly quite a weekend! Talk about going from one extreme to the other..  but I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, a little about the space and the start of the weekend – I had heard about The Makers Space in the Twitterverse, and seen pictures from the opening night party and other events, but for some reason, I was thinking that it was down in South Lake Union, presumably because I remember reading about all those new condos on Lenora and just associated Lenora with SLU. So here I was researching parking options in SLU when I looked up the address to see where the building was only to discover that the building is actually in Belltown close to the Pike Place Market – whoops!

I busted out my trusty Seattle parking app (don’t park downtown without it!) and discovered a previously unknown parking garage at 61 Lenora that has inexpensive $6.00/evening parking from 4pm-1:30am.. highly recommended! Of course, it was $23.00/day on Saturday, but that was for 7am to 11:45pm which I don’t consider unreasonable at all.

Startup Seattle at Makers SpaceThe space was scheduled to open at 5pm, and I arrived shortly after that, with networking in full swing.  I had some great conversations and met some really interesting people before the pitches started. My favorite conversation of the whole weekend was an extended conversation with @colindchapman about all things technical: Rails, ORM, MVCs and specifically Node.js + Express. Since it seemed we had similar tastes and complaints as far as MVCs go, he made a very persuasive case for exploring those, so that’s on the agenda for the week.

An aside – if you’re thinking about attending Startup Weekend, I would HIGHLY recommend attending the free Bootcamp in the days leading up to the event. You’ll get an idea of how to integrate your laptop with how everyone else will likely be configured (with regard to file/code sharing), but even more so, you’ll get a chance to network on a smaller scale, so when you arrive at the event, you already know a handful of people.

At my first SW, I just listened intently to the pitches, but I didn’t realize how many there were going to be, and how hard it would be to keep track of them all. When all the pitches were completed, I could barely remember which ideas I liked, and who pitched them. I was determined not to make that mistake again, so I was jotting names and notes during the pitches this time around. There were some interesting pitches (Bookstream: netflix for books, MyStructure: universal PIM API, Startup Stock Market simulator, a live QR/bar-code feedback system from @colindchapman actually that I didn’t catch the name of, among others) that I was surprised didn’t get more traction, and frankly some ideas that I was surprised did get traction. C’est la vie!

A tip if you’re going to pitch – state your name clearly at the beginning, speak clearly, and at least have a catchy name or phrase (doesn’t have to be your final brand name) to repeat through and/or close with. I took notes on every pitch, and I have maybe 20% of the pitches that I missed the person’s name because they didn’t say it, or they mumbled it, or the concept name wasn’t mentioned or wasn’t clear so I didn’t know what to call it. I think the reason some ideas don’t get more traction is that they are unmemorable or don’t stand out. If you don’t take notes (like I did), it’s hard to remember who said what, and having those things that stick in your memory really help!

I had planned to pitch this time – I contemplated several interesting ideas, had selected one which was solved a problem I am continuously having, had the pitch down in my head cold, and for whatever reason just didn’t feel like “going for it”.  In retrospect, I wish I would have pitched (and hopefully made it to the team selection round) but hindsight is 20/20. In the end, there wasn’t any idea that I was super jazzed about – and I honestly just figured I would float around and see if anyone needed any help. It would give me a chance to meet and talk with everyone, and not have an uber-stressful weekend, plus I wanted to post more pictures, tweet and live-blog a bit more.

Well, that didn’t happen. I ended up talking to Saia Taumoefolau who was in from Chicago on a lark who managed to snag a ticket at the last minute and planned to pitch an idea about sub-prime auto loans, something he was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about. He had already picked up a team member Jessi who had abandoned her (I thought) really interesting Crossfit idea to join his team. So my options were: float and coast, or jump in and help. I jumped, though I had no idea what I was jumping into.

For some reason, I thought we had more members to our team. It didn’t really hit me until we actually sat down and started discussing the aspects of the project that I started to worry. We had no graphics people, we had no html/css wranglers and two people who had never been to a Startup Weekend before and thus had no idea what was going on or what to expect. It was going to be a long weekend..

(to be continued)

Getting ready for Startup Weekend again

Last time I was somewhat timid because I didn’t know what to expect – I didn’t pitch, and I didn’t contribute nearly as much as I could (for the reasons mentioned), but I’m pretty excited for the one this weekend. I’ve been up since 4:30am going over a handful of ideas, trying to figure out which one I’m going to pitch.

I’ll try and post details to my Twitter and Facebook feeds throughout the weekend.

Rant of the Day: Facebook Timeline

Am I the only one that sees Facebook Timeline as a sub-feature instead of a complete interface? Strictly from a UX point of view, it doesn’t make sense – if you’re friends with someone, why do you (as a friend) need to go back and review that person’s history? I don’t need to have instant access to what my friends were doing 1-2-5 years ago, I (should) already know that – I care about what they’re doing now!

Now, I love the concept of Timeline, if it were delivered as a sub-function. How about a menu link called ‘Timeline’ that allows me to see the history of that person (assuming we’re friends). I might meet someone new, become FB friends and be curious about that person’s background – hey, great! But you don’t put all that stuff up front, especially for close friends (which is what Facebook is SUPPOSED to be for – duhh!).

Oddly, I’ve been hearing warnings about being forced to move to Timeline, but I’m still rocking the classic interface, and so are a lot of my friends. On pure speculation, I suspect that the people who have Timeline implemented on their profiles have a decreased activity level (reading, posts, sharing, likes, etc) that Facebook is picking up on. There has to be a reason, because they announced it in September 2011, and have made several announcements that Timeline will soon be ‘mandatory’ and yet there’s still a sizable segment of the audience who haven’t been converted.

I, for one, can’t stand Timeline as an interface – it’s haphazard and disjointed. Things are hard to follow chronologically, and it feels rightly squished, and I KNOW I’m not the only one. If I’m forced to switch over, I’ll probably find myself using Facebook less, maybe much less, and again, I KNOW I’m not the only one.

So Facebook – pay heed to the gripes of your (admittedly) freeloading ‘customers’, because your Timeline interface is the blinking, bizarre font colors of yesteryear’s Myspace..

UPDATE: Now I feel even more strongly that Timeline has been a negative for Facebook, per their new acqui-hire:

“Facebook tests product changes more frequently than nearly any service. Bringing in Nate Bolt and some of his teammates will help it understand exactly how users feel about changes and avoid blunders like Beacon.

Right now, Facebook typically pushes design changes to a tiny fraction of its user base through its Gatekeeper system. It then watches the usage data to see if users engage with new features or changes, and how engagement, sharing, and time-on-site change. Changes that improve these metrics often get pushed to the whole user base. Innovating and iterating in a way that pushes people’s boundaries is good, but Facebook needs to be careful not to roll out new features too far before its users are ready for the future.”