Singer/Songwriter & Close Friend Benjamin Hofer Releasing His Debut Album “Family History”

fhcoverSinger/songwriter and my long time friend Benjamin Hofer is releasing his debut solo album, “Family History” on April 6th.  A week ago, Ben gave me a pre-release stream of the album and I’ve been listening to it non-stop. Ben is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and musician.   His folk style fits right into that genre of music that I love to listen to all day long.

As the title would imply, the theme of the songs revolve around telling a family history.  I was emailing with Ben about the album.  He mentioned that the theme kind of emerged as he realized family was really apart of every song that he had written.   The last song on the album, “Huron, SD,” is based on the story of his paternal grandfather.

Head over to his website and hear his first single off the album “Man’s Own Heart.”

Ben funded the $5k to produce the album by doing a campaign on Kickstarter.  I’m so pumped to have been able to support Ben and the production of the album.  Ben’s been talking about wanting to do this album for a while. I’m so excited to see it come to fruition.

Previously, Ben had released an EP by himself called “Three Songs.”  You can download all three songs on his website.  Additionally, when he lived in Florida, he was part of band called the The Northernness, which released a self-titled album.

If you live in the Washington, DC area, I’d recommend checking out the “Family History” Album Release party at the Scooby Doo Mansion on Saturday, April 6th at 7:30pm.  There he’ll be accompanied by a full band, including special guests Wendell Kimbrough and David Parker, who are both featured on the album.  Tickets are only $10.

Mayor Vincent Gray Loves DC Tech

Even though we don’t reside there anymore, I’m still super psyched and rooting for the DC tech & startup community. Over 7 years, it has been great to see DC Mayor Vince Gray really become a spokesman and advocate for the movement.

This year, he even went to SXSW to evangelize the region. Here’s an interview that he did with TechCocktail

Who’s in my community?

Being a part of a community is so much fun because of the amazing things happen when you get a bunch of passionate people rallied around solving a particular problem or issue. When you’re starting out, one impediment to seeing the magic happen is discovering all the people that are in your community or who could be in your community.

When I lived in Washington, DC, even in the early days of the DC Tech/startup community, it was never that there weren’t a lot of tech or startup people in the area. It’s just that none of them knew that the others existed. Even to this day, I’m still hearing about new startups in the DC area that I’d never of before that had been there the entire time.

In DC, knowing who was in your community was especially hard because it just takes so stinking long to get to the different parts of the geographic area. Capitol Hill feels incredibly far from Dupont Circle. When you throw Tyson’s Corner into the mix, it feels like going to a different country all together. A good friend of mine lived in Bethesda that I never saw enough of because it was just hard to get up to Bethesda.

This is part of why we created the DC Tech Facebook Group. We needed a way for people to see who was who and what was going on, whether it was an event or company news. It was obvious that people just didn’t know what was going on or who was doing what. Facebook Groups allow for this a very crowd sourced manner, which has plusses & minuses.

In terms of the DC Tech community, one thing that’s helpful is now there are a handful of really great reporters (Bill Flook from the Washington Business Journal, Paul Sherman from the Potomac Tech Wire, and Steven Overly from the Washington Post) who are helping unearth and tell the stories of the interesting things that are happening in the community. There stories help the community figure out who’s who and who’s doing stuff that’s cool. But… you shouldn’t use that as your only source, otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot.

So, if you’re running a community group, what can you do to help get the stories out about who’s all in your community? How can you get folks talking about all the great things that they’re doing? How can you get people talking about all the great things that others are doing?

Once you figure this out, you’ll be seeing magic happening in your community at an accelerated rate.

Starbucks brings comfort through consistency

So, yesterday my wife and I finished our trek across the country to our new home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the 4 days, we stopped in a lot of random towns to crash before we picked up and got on the road again.

When you’re in places you don’t know, it’s always nice to find things that look familiar. For example, Starbucks is amazing because it’s the same regardless of where you go. Starbucks is the same in DC as it is in Oklahoma City as it is in Las Vegas.

I remember, when Lauren and I were on our honeymoon in Europe, we had just taken the train from Venice up to Munich. We had some time to kill in the Munich train station and were elated to find a Starbucks. We enjoyed a latte, blueberry scones, and free wifi. 🙂

I know that its cool to be down on national food/coffee chains (i love me a good indie coffee shop) but sometimes when you’re in the process of a lot of change, it’s nice to have things exactly the same.