A Preview of IdeaMensch in Missoula: IM48 LA Recap


I happened to be in the Los Angeles area for the IM48 kickoff event, and got a sneak peek of what will be coming our way next Friday in Missoula. IdeaMensch founder and UM grad Mario Schulzke promises at least five takeaways from these events.

Here are mine:

I need to be less rigid

My wife can vouch that I am a self-proclaimed king of “black and white” decision-making. It’s allowed me to make many life decisions, especially the difficult ones, quickly and precisely. Not to say that I’m never wrong in these decisions, but generally speaking, this formula has served me well over the years.

Hearing Marc Mertens discuss his design process and how he helps his clients was eye-opening to how I need to start evaluating my own business decisions and product design. Too often, I’ll make a snap judgment call on a design or usability feature because it “felt right” without giving it much additional thought. If I’m going to build a product that is useful and captive, I better put more thought into the ins and outs of what I’m developing and for whom I’m developing it.

An apple seed will grow an apple tree

Also known as “a tiger can’t change its stripes.” Josh Allan Dykstra spoke about creating the positive culture from day one at any startup. Focus on your strengths, while acknowledging your weaknesses. Bring in balanced teams to play off of each person’s strengths. Healthy startup cultures will evolve into healthy business cultures, so plant the proper seeds early. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

IdeaMensch Los Angeles

There are bright spots in the dark side

Without trying to paint investment bankers with too broad a brush, I think it’s safe to say that most people have an unfavorable opinion of them (especially recently). That is, until you meet Shivani Siroya. Shivani is a finance nut who spent her time in the investment banking world. Her passion for finance fueled her leap of faith to start InVenture, a micro-financier and solutions provider to some of the most over-looked entrepreneurs in the world. InVenture now helps over 4,000 entrepreneurs in India manage their finances, build credit, and help bring their communities out of poverty.

Dad blogging is a thing, and it’s funny as hell

As a father, I try not to take myself too seriously. Well, after meeting Charlie Capen, I can now count myself as a miserable failure in that category. Charlie is the co-founder of HowToBeADad.com, a “how-not-to” site exploring the lighter side of raising children. This site has delivered the brilliance of Zombie vs. Baby and Thongies just to name a few. Dad blogging is so real that Charlie has amassed over 100,000 Twitter followers to date, both moms and dads alike.

This is LA, know where the hell you are going

I forgot the simple letter S, as in S. Santa Fe St., when mapping out my approach from Newport Beach to Monday’s event. This led me to book a hotel in Long Beach, near the incorrect event, when the real event was in downtown LA. I realized this at 6:45, with the event starting at 7:00. I “commandeered” a vehicle and was able to make it just before the speakers kicked off at 7:30 (the traffic gods were smiling down on me). I’ve lived in major cities, and still frequent them, but this was a huge rookie mistake in one of the biggest areas possible. Not the fifth nugget I was expecting to take away, but a promise is a promise and Mario kept his!

Overall, the event was a big success. All four speakers were great, charismatic, and had the passion that makes IdeaMensch the very unique community that it has become.

The Missoula IdeaMensch event on July 13 is shaping up to be an enlightening, intriguing evening. Come check out what IdeaMensch is all about!


For more Rocky Mountain High Tech, check out Colin’s other posts: Advancing Beyond the Missoula Lifestyle Business, The Dreaded “C” Word: Cloud, and IdeaMensch in Missoula: Bring Your Entrepreneurial Ideas to Life.


Colin Stoner, a Missoula entrepreneur

Colin Stoner is a Missoula IT consultant and entrepreneur. He has worked in almsot every aspect of IT, and loves most of them that don’t involve Microsoft. He is a Linux nut, a Python hack, and a lover of the cloud. When not stuck behind a monitor wall, you can find him enjoying a beer at one of our many breweries, skiing anywhere but Snowbowl, or playing handball at the Peak.