I’m going to DC!


On Sunday, I am traveling to Washington to meet with my elected officials and educate them about the growing mobile economy and tech innovation.  My company is Thinkamingo Inc and we make mobile applications for education and entertainment.

I’ll be joining up with leading entrepreneurs from across the country to participate in the Association for Competitive Technology Washington Fly-In. Around 50 of us will descend on the nation’s capital to help lawmakers recognize the incredible impact that small technology companies are having on our nation’s economy.

More than three-quarters of the most successful companies in the mobile software industry are small businesses – and apps are now a $68 billion marketplace. No one talked about apps six years ago, but now a whole ecosystem has emerged creating jobs for software developers, engineers, graphic artists, marketing professionals, and administrative personnel.

I am traveling to Washington to alert lawmakers about important issues including intellectual property and patent reform, data security and privacy, and regulatory obstacles to growth.  We also look to areas where technology and policy can combine to meet the needs of industry and consumers.

These are all important issues that the federal government is facing.  The outcomes really matter to me and that is why I’m making sure my voice is heard.  Hopefully, an informed Congress will allow companies like mine to continue to flourish.

Novel Writing Spot World Tour: Transportation Hubs

In my last blog, I wrote about people watching at Fast Food Restaurants. This time, let’s dive into Transportation Hubs. These are great places to get ideas for storylines!

How to get the most out of the experience:

  1. Locate a spot to camp out and watch people. You can do this conspicuously or inconspicuously.
  2. Use your dossier notebook to create characters inspired by the people you see.
  3. Look at luggage/purses, shoes, and coats. These are all high ticket items that reflect economic status fairly accurately.
  4. Observe groups of travelers: singles, friends, couples, families, social/school groups, business travelers.
  5. Are they coming or going?
  6. People who are waiting for passengers are interesting, too. Who are they? A romantic rendezvous? A distant relative? A chauffeur? The spouse of a soldier returning? An illicit affair? A business associate? A boyfriend?
  7. Where are they going? Where have they been?
  8. Business or pleasure? Or family emergency?

Here’s a checklist of transportation hubs to observe people. Which one is your favorite?

  • International Airport
  • Train station
  • Subway stop
  • Taxi stand
  • Bus station
  • Bus stop
  • Cruise ship terminal/port
  • Small regional or private airport
  • Airport concourse or restaurant

Novel Writing Spot World Tour: Fast Food Restaurants

I like to get outside my regular living areas to find inspiration and get some real writing. One key to success is to appear as though you are working very hard on your stuff so people ignore you. Being a creepy weirdo could get you kicked out of a prime place.

Our first stop on the world tour is fast food restaurants. For my purposes, fast food restaurants are places of low commitment to food as a culinary experience with a focus on speed and expense. Patrons do not typically stop in for a leisurely luxury lunch here. They are usually in a hurry or have limited time and/or budget.

How to get the most out of the experience:

  1. Sit where you can observe employee activities (hostess station, drive-thru, counter help, etc.)
  2. Observe employees. Imagine what has brought them to work at a fast food restaurant. Who is in charge? Is there evidence of teamwork or is it a broken system?
  3. Identify individual quirks of the workers.
  4. If you are lucky enough to be able to observe the same set of people repeatedly, try making a notebook of fictional dossiers of the players. Include a rough sketch, habits, dreams, realities, physical descriptions, personality traits, etc.
  5. Observe patrons. Why are they there? Habit? Circumstance? Laziness? Guilty pleasure?

Here’s a checklist for the most popular fast food restaurants! Which one is your favorite for people watching?

Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

It’s that time, again! I’m buckling down and getting some real writing done this month with encouragement from the good folks at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m using all of our writing tools: Lists for Writers, Story Spark, Story Dice, Name Dice, and Spooky Story Dice.

Story Spark

My goal is 50,000 words this April and a complete first draft of a novel. We’ll see how that works out. I’m using a handy web tool call Word Counter to analyze my writing. The writing analysis tool is just one reason to visit their site. You will find a lot of helpful writing advice on their blog, too!

Another thing I’m trying is camping out at new places to write instead of my dining room. Right now, I’m writing from a local gaming store. I’m a huge fan and frequent customer here and they are very generously allowing me to hang out and work at a table today. I think I might have to make this a regular thing. It’s very peaceful here. If there were a lot of gamers here right now (middle of the day) it would be a temptation, but right now, it’s just a great place to concentrate on what needs my attention.

Take the title of “Camp” very seriously and get out of your normal surroundings to boost your creativity!

Happy camping!