SokoSquare thesis progress diary 1

Last week I attended a SCORE counseling session at Stern to discuss concerns about how SokoSquare is going along. Also met with SokoSquare team members Livia and Mayukh to discuss finalizing the marketing and financials section of the biz plan. Catherine and I met someone at an event who was interested in meeting with us to hear us pitch the project. Will follow up.

SCORE meeting notes with Judith Katz:

We need to find out from potential users how much they are willing to pay for SokoSquare. Judith, the advisor, suggested that we do another round of Survey Monkey for this.

No need to deal with incorporation for the biz plan competition. She suggested S-corp or LLC if/when we get funding, but in our case, LLC might be better because for an S-corp, all members must be at least US permanent residents (sorry Catherine). LLC is ok for foreigners though.

We really need to hammer out the details of our marketing plan. And I need to be better off the cuff with this too, as it is the weakest part of my shpiel right now.

Judith loved the pop-up stores/gallery idea. And the “fun and community engagement” part of SokoSquare, so I will develop that aspect.

We should get some sort of faculty advisor at Stern, even if the prof’s name isn’t attached to the project officially. I am getting advice from a couple profs at ITP, but it would be good to have a Stern perspective as well.

I met with Elizabeth today to discuss the to-do list for building the prototype. Here’s what we came up with:

Lee-Sean to-do

All CSS and blog theme (March 1st)
Change header logo
Change menu font color
Add twitter and facebook widgets to header
Fix up email copy
Photoshop mockups for March 1 venture fair

Enter this list into issue tracker

Elizabeth Dev March 1
Migrate files !!!! – before this weekend
MySQL errors on welcome page (generally need to clean up page, maybe add a suggestions section of what to do next.)
tweak layout of text blocks in search results page
Fix up match search (current search is one matching on an individual basis) <- I would like to get Peter involved in the matching algorithm. Stop allowing algorithm to match null fields Specify user name in matching results Delete suggestions as the have / want lists get filled out. LONGER TERM - to be assigned human readable URLs Set up user control bar for easily acessing and editing haves, wants, and matches. Include a user profile pic, general reference links option Add "new users" and "featured users" bars on the bottom of the front page (Doesn't make sense to worry about this until there is enough users to fill this space) Enable user to "follow" other users Integrate with Linked in, Twitter, and Facebook APIs Allow descriptive explanations of haves and wants Set up user submitted questions and matching answers section to help people better understand what values are important to them. Enable one click alerts for questionable content. Integrating a list of users opt in for notifications (sourced) Add functionality to rate users Add functionality to visualize users social graphs Add functionality to allow users to create embeddable SokoSquare widgets for their own blogs/sites Create mobile version of the site. iPhone/Android app? Add geo-coding functionality to allow users to act hyperlocally (possibly integrate with mobile version) Transition to Drupal or Ruby on Rails? - do research Create API or standardized machine-readable XML convention for expressing user into to allow for third party mash-ups of data CONTENT Generate a FAQ page with how tos and justifications (how to edit your profile, how to contact a user, why you should fill out your profile, who has access to what information, clarify what kind of emails to expect from us so that users know if phishing occures) Get some sample user pictures to spice up the pages (organize a photoshoot with props? Fix up email copy Add a confirmation page or word filter to cut back on spam bots. Beef up the "about us" section with blurbs on the creators Here are a few more milestone/deadlines: February 17 - Draft of SokoSquare business plan due for Stern contest End of February - Draft Revisions Due March 1 - Stern Venture Showcase, finish to-do list for prototype by then, and have a pitch deck first draft March 31/April 1 - Stern Strategy Feedback Session & Pitch-off Practice - have pitch deck completed and practiced April 16 - Semi-Final Pitch Off April 30 - Final Pitch off and award ceremony

Art Design Zazzle

Saru, Shigeki, and Snarky Sad Panda

A few new cartoon T-shirt designs:

Saru & Shigeki shirt
Saru & Shigeki by Hepnova
See other Monkey T-Shirts
Snarky Sad Panda shirt
Snarky Sad Panda by Hepnova
View other Panda T-Shirts
ITP NYU SokoSquare

Thesis Week 1

Assignment for week 1: Draft abstract and personal statement for my ITP thesis. [PDF]

Cuisine Food Travel

Pok Pok, Portland

I was in Portland, Oregon over the weekend for the JET Alumni Association Regional Technology Conference.  On Sunday, after the Conference ended, I went with LL to check out Portland’s much acclaimed Pok Pok Thai restaurant.   The restaurant is a bit off the beaten path, but definitely worth the trip.  It’s built to resemble  a Southeast Asian pub shack (which is a little cold for Portland, but they had space heaters).  The Suntory whiskey I had with the meal helped warm me up too.  Despite the shiver, I have to say that this was some of the best Thai food I have ever had outside of Thailand.  No generic pad thai or “traffic light” (red, yellow, green) curries here.  Only intensely flavorful dishes meant for sharing, featuring hand pressed coconut milk and the freshest of herbs.

This is what we had:

Yam Samun Phrai ($9.00)

Special Northern Thai herbal salad with ginger, carrot, parsnip, betel leaf, basil, lime leaf, sawtooth, fried shallots, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, dry shrimp, ground pork and Thai chilies in a coconut milk dressing.

I’ve never had anything like this before, but it kind of reminded me of a Japanese kinpira on acid. A definite party going on in my mouth. A taste revelation.

Coconut Rice ($2.50)
Definitely necessary to counteract the atomic Thai chilies masquerading as scallions in the salad

Sii Khrong Muu Yaang ($11 – not pictured)

Carlton Farms baby back ribs marinated in whisky, soy, honey, ginger and Thai spices. slow grilled over charcoal and served with 2 spicy dipping sauces.

I’m not usually a ribs person, but these were very well executed. They kind of reminded me of jerky or Cantonese char siu, in a good way.

Khao Soi Kai ($11.50)

Northern Thai mild curry noodle soup made with our secret curry paste recipe, natural chicken on the bone and house-pressed fresh coconut milk. Served with pickled mustard greens, shallots, crispy yellow noodles and roasted chili paste. Chiang Mai specialty, with Burmese origins.

My favorite Thai noodle soup! It’s not on many Thai restaurant menus in the US, but it should be. Pok Pok’s khao soi is rustic, with big chunks of chicken on the bone, falling apart tender, and a perfectly balanced coconut broth. I wish there were a little bit more broth though, ’cause I downed every drop.

Sankhaya Fak Thong ($6.50)

Steamed Kabocha pumpkin, filled with coconut-palm sugar custard scented with pandanus leaf.

The kind of expected this to be warm, or at least room temperature, but it came cold. Still really good though. I think maybe just a dash of salt would have offset some of the sweetness and made the flavor of the kabocha really pop, but that would be gilding the lily. BTW, the desert portion was more than enough for 2 people to share.

Pok Pok
3226 se division, pdx : 503 232 1387

Awesome Foundation NYC Technology

Awesome BioBus

The Awesome Foundation NY has made our first selection! It was tough NY – you completely blew us away with amazing incredibly brilliant ideas.

But – this month, for our inaugural grant, we’ve picked a LASER TWEEZER that makes amoebas eat bacteria.

Awesomeness to the MAX.

No – really, its a laser tractor beam that prods amoebas. We’ve awarded January’s $1000 grant to Ben Dubin-Thaler’s Cell Motion BioBus.

We’ll be celebrating with Ben at the First AF-NY Award Ceremony on Monday February 8 at 8 pm, at the Apple Bar, Waverly at Greene. Come and join us for a beer, meet the NY Micro Trustees – and we’re working on getting the BioBus there too. Beyond Awesome.

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