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Relaunch of North Bay Startup & Podcast

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We’re excited to announce North Bay Startup has been relaunched and we’ve begun publishing a new podcast: the North Bay Startup Show. As part of our launch, this blog site has been retired and we’ve built a new Mariposta-powered site for all materials going forward.

Again, this blog is archived and we will not be publishing more here. Please visit our new site to find out more about the new show and our other resources. Thank you!

Line2: the smartphone app every entrepreneur needs

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Continuing our series of showcasing tech tools for your new business, today I’d like to talk about Line2 by Toktumi, Inc. (Get it? Tok…tu…mi? Anyway…)

Line2 does exactly what its name implies. It adds a second line to your iPhone or Android-based phone. Simply download the app, create an account and pick a local phone number of your choosing, and you will have a new phone line. Unlike simply adding another number that connects to your carrier’s cell network, Line2 is a self-contained world that uses VoIP technology within the app so that your call never uses up carrier minutes. The app automagically utilizes WiFi if your phone is connected, or barring that it uses your carrier’s 3G data network. Since carriers bill by X number of gigabytes rather than phone minutes (and some like a Sprint still offer an unlimited data plan), the cost savings is significant.
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Code.Coffee.Cows: Prototype Mindset

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It’s Tuesday, which means another installment of my Code.Coffee.Cows column. And the first one of the new year to boot! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Holidays and entrepreneurship don’t mix very well, as I’ve discovered. Somehow it’s harder to enjoy vacation when you know it’s simply sucking money out of your (perhaps meager) bank account. But it’s important to get away, to spend time with family and friends. Get a new perspective on things.

Today I’m going to talk about getting into the prototype mindset. I have been building a Minimum Viable Product for a new venture over the past couple of months, and I have learned to think very differently than I have in the past when working on product development. Reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (see our review on NBS here) has been very helpful in maintaining that specific focus.

Here are three takeaways I’ve learned as I’ve embarked on this venture.

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Review: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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I picked up my copy of The Lean Startup with great enthusiasm. It was one of those books that was generating a lot of buzz around the startup community. The last time I’d heard the tubes of the interwebs filing up with all that commotion was when 37signals’ book Rework was published March of last year.

Does the book match its hype? I would say Yes. In fact, if I’d had a copy made out of dead trees instead of digital bits (courtesy of iBooks and iPad), it would have had about a hundred sticky notes threatening to fall out of the pages. Honestly, I need to go back and reread the book and make copious notes. My usual method of reading is more akin to speed reading.

But enough of my preamble. What’s so great about the book and why should you read it?

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The future of work: Coworking

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We here at North Bay Startup are big fans of coworking spaces, having written about the trend in the past (and certainly North Bay Startup is fully virtual!). It’s interesting that the trend is picking up steam not just among freelancers but also employees of larger companies as well. According to Don Ball, one of the co-founders of the CoCo space in Minneapolis, a number of workers hail from corporate environments and simply have chosen to “go rogue” — presumably because it can be hard to get real work done in a traditional office.

Watch a video of the Co-Working 2.0 panel at GigaOM’s Net:Work 2011 conference after the jump.
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Makezine Daily Giveaways for DIY’ers

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SEBASTOPOL, CA – Local publishing powerhouse O’Reilly Media, known for “putting the coolness in Geek” with its well-known line of tech books, conferences, and journals, is now offering daily giveaways until Christmas for Do-It-Yourself makers with the MAKE Kit-A-Day Giveaway.

If you consider yourself a Maker, Do-It-Yourselfer, Techie, Tinkerer, Gearhead, Engineer, or Crafter, tune into makezine.com each day and leave a comment on the latest kit. From soldering irons to electronic pencils, synthesizer-on-a-chip to a defusable alarm clock (great for simulating those Hollywood-style bomb countdowns), MAKE has got your tinkering itch scratched.
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