Executive Coaches Light Bulb Whoopass

#DCTech Folks Who Aren’t On Enough Panels

DC has a list of speaking head panel regulars, most have something to say, yet few of us have much more than our 15 minutes of patter. We are not dropping new knowledge every time we yet again speak multiple times on yet another panel after panel.

I mean really, how many times do you need to hear me say the turd word? How many first-time, startup CEOs, 15 minutes into their 100 year journey, who may or may not be building something great, don’t know, too early to tell, tell us how to build something they’ve not yet built?

Many speakers at local events are running their first companies still in the infant stages. That’s okay for a talk or two, but the full stories are yet to be written and the wisdom imparted is not yet determined to be a how to or how not to tale.

I thought I’d put a few folks forward as potential speakers and panelists to add at least a little value to the next, DC-Doesn’t-Need-Another-Talking-Head-Event.


  1. Sam Aparicio, CEO and Co-founder,  Ringio – One of the original team members to build and roll-out Microstrategy’s Angel.com division, recently acquired for $100M, Sam is a thoughtful humane manager, a technological visionary and a deep thinker. He’s not afraid to call people out when he disagrees with them. He’s called me out once or twice including a blog post in Washington Business Journal. Sam’s one of DCs few expert’s in SaaS pricing and product strategy. Check him out on twitter @samparaico and on his blog.
  2. John Casey, Entrepreneur in Residence, George Mason University – John’s a reformed serial entrepreneur who’s watched the ups and downs of DC Tech through all the bubbles. He’s an experienced positive force in educating and mentoring young startup entrepreneurs. He has the wisdom and experience of a battle tested entrepreneur who’s seen successes and failures and handles all situations with grace. I can always learn something from John… you probably can too. Lastly for an old guy, he’s surprisingly unCranky. Follow John on twitter @venturementors
  3. Hemang Gadhia – Hemang’s a young whippersnapper and the only DC Tech citizen to graduate from my High School Alma Mater, JP Stevens in Edison NJ, albeit 20 years later. Hemang’s as tough or tougher than Mr Cranky on issues and a lot easier on people. Hemang successfully exited from his last startup, Condaptive after eschewing investment and accepting a lucrative buy out from Millennial Media which paid off big when Millenial went public. He’s a veteran mobile development and strategy professional doing stints with GSI Commerce and Razorfish. You’d be hard pressed to find a brighter, more articulate guy. Follow Hemang on twitter @hemang, and his blog.
  4. Jamey Harvey, Director of Ecommerce Platforms, AOL –Jamey is one of DCs first Internet startup entrepreneurs, creating internet gaming company, Digital Addiction in 1997. He went on to found and raise Venture Capital for Ikimbo, Sponto, and spent some time building DC Governments award winning eGoverment presence. He’s a guy who’s done more than just start a company, he’s raised money, he’s had successful exits, been replaced by investors, only to watch his successors (including me) squander the promise of his vision. He’s had to make the difficult decision to put Sponto down. Jamey’s not a poser, he’s a battle tested, battle scared, war weary startup veteran. Perhaps you caught his parody of startup life in this video for his farcical company “Shitshow.” Follow Jamey on twitter @JameyHarvey.
  5. Dede Haskins – Diedre (DeDe) Haskins – Dede has worked through a bubble or two or three, being part of DCs first mega web development shop, Proxicom, founded by one of DC’s legendary startup founders, Raul Fernandez. She founded New Vision Health, and is an active mentor for the Founder Institute. Dede’s smart, realistic helpful and experienced. She’s also the Chairwoman of The Women in Technology Education Foundation. Follow Dede on twitter @DedeAtNVH.
  6. April Pederson, President and Cofounder, Frakture – April’s a survivor of a Venture Deal gone bad. She and her husband Chris, founded a successful, profitable startup, Salsa Labs, which has been hemorrhaging talent, customers and presumably cash since venture firm Edison Ventures decided they could do better without the founders. April’s no neophyte to political intrigue as she’s been running political advocacy groups interspersed with advocacy technology companies. She’s just co-founded her 3rd startup, Frakture focused on online marketing for big brands. April has the experience to opine on startup-life, success, struggles, dealing with investors and lawyers. Follow her on twitter @aprilinaction.
  7. Ron Schmelzer – Founder and CEO, Bizelo – Ron’s got a problem, he can’t stop starting and selling companies. He’s started companies in Tech Mecca Boston, he’s exited multiple companies. He’s a builder of companies and community. Ron’s the founder of Tech Breakfast and an LP in Tech Stars as well as an Angel Investor (but don’t hit him up for a check, he’ll call you). He’s an accomplished speaker with a fine sense of humor and timing. Ron’s twitter @rschmelzer.
  8. Patrick Smith – Founder and CEO, Power Supply – Patrick’s building something special in Power Supply. He’s offering an opportunity to chefs and caterers to increase their unleashed capacity by supplying specialized meals to people with specialized diets through an ecommerce platform. His big vision? To create a highly decentralized, high quality food busines that rivals McDonald’s in scale without sacrificing quality. Patrick’s bootstrapped his company to significant revenue. He’s a deep thinker, who understands the the importance of priorities and focus, a student of lean development methodolities. You all may know Patrick as the original organizer of DC Lean Startup Circle and TEDxPotomac. Follow him on twitter @ptrcksmth.
  9. David Steinberg – Founder CEO, SnappCloud – David’s started his career in Silicon Valley with a couple iconic companies prior to coming to DC to join BNX and experience the dot com bubble in DC. David’s big success story was SwapDrive, where he went from raising $7M in two rounds of financing to a $123M sale to Symantec in 7 years.
  10. Jay Virdy – Take a big company with lots of users….. oh let’s say something like…. oh, Twitter. Build a feature that lets you search the tweets and what do you have? Jay raised $750K and a year later, his search engine was purchased by Twitter for $15M in cash and stock (purportedly winding up with 10% of twitter stock which at that time was valued in the $100M range). Today 10% of twitter would be worth a billion dollars, so any way you slice it, this was one of DCs mega exits. Follow Jay on twitter @jayvirdy