Letting Fires Burn

In my experience as an entrepreneur one of the hardest day-to-day battles is prioritizing. As an entrepreneur who is now fortunate enough to be running a funded company, this has never been more true than right now.

I’ve long been a believer in letting fires burn. By that, what I mean is, having priorities, a short list of priorities, and anything that is outside of that list of priorities is ‘a fire and it needs to burn.’

As CEO of Citysquares, my list of priorities is more strategic than it is tactical. For instance, one of the priorities on my list might be “get this damn sales engine firing on all pistons.” Really – that’s written down on a yellow piece of paper on my desk. That priority is a big priority – and it involves lots of tactics, but that doesnt mean I should get bogged down in the tactics. That’s why I hire people. The employees help with the execution, it’s my job to see it through from start to finish. Anything that is not in-line with that priority, strategically or tactically, is a distraction – a non-priority – and it needs to go on the “back burner” as they say. I don’t care for the “back burner” expression. I prefer, instead, to say that it’s a fire and it needs to burn! But hey – that’s what it is. It’s a little brush fire that needs to burn itself out. If the fire grows to be larger than a brush fire, well than it needs attention and someone needs to put it out.

Now that I have a board of directors to answer to, investors to please, goals to meet, a vision to reach, a real and growing staff to manage, this philosophy is only becoming more and more critical. Since we’ve become funded I’ve found myself doing a lot of operational things – things that just need to get done so everyone can get to work and do so more efficiently than ever before. Most of that stuff is done, and I now find myself taking a little time to regroup – to get even more focused, to assess those priorities and get situated and ready to go. I guess I need that once in a while, time to regroup and assess.

Right now, my priority is to assess my priorities. Anything else is a distraction – a fire, and it needs to burn.

Citysquares: Raising Money

Well it seems I’ve created quite a stir with some recent job postings. Having posted a few job openings on this here blog, on Citysquares.com, on Craigslist, on Monster.com, what did I expect? I suppose I wasn’t too shy about it either.

Since posting the job openings I’ve received emails from a couple local business publications and some well known web blogs. I was actually a bit surprised at how assertive some have been – wanting to be the first to break the news. I’ve even received a couple phone calls and emails from folks I haven’t heard of in many moons, some of them opportunists unfortunately.

So allow me to address the rumors here and now, and unofficially announce that yes, indeed, Citysquares is raising our first round of funding for an undisclosed amount. We’re in the final 10 yards of the closing phase and once it’s official we’ll be sending out a press release and you can expect some press and the typical buzz. I expect this to be official, and hence officially announced, at the end of this week or first half of next week.

The investment is being lead by eCoast Angels, of Portsmouth, NH. We’re also roping in a couple outside angel investors for this deal, with eCoast’s permission.

Over the past 18 months we presented to a couple groups. We never presented to a venture firm, only had informal meetings with a couple. Bob and I convinced ourselves, for better or worse, that at this early stage we weren’t looking for venture funding. Our rationale? We weren’t ready for it. We still had more work to do. Angel money just made more sense. Angels will buy into an earlier concept and business more readily than a VC. Another reason was this: if we can’t convince any angels to invest, how the heck are we going to convince a VC firm to invest? Ultimately, for us, raising angel money was our goal, but we wanted to find the right angels, not just any angels. We felt strongly about that.

I’m certainly no veteran or source of wisdom, but I do have my experience to share, and that’s what I’d like to do – share this experience and even share a little knowledge I picked up along the way.

When we first started Citysquares in late 2005, Bob and I weren’t immediately focused on raising capital. We weren’t even too sure we had a real business on our hands. It took a few months to realize that we were truly onto something, and that the recipe had some flavor. So very early in 2006 I set out to write our business plan, figure out who we were, and where we wanted to take Citysquares. We established an advisory board, worked very hard on what is still a very well written and comprehensive business plan, and began our fund raising efforts. As I stated above, we’d presented to four groups over the past year +. Some of our lessons and experiences include:

  1. We are not lacking for energy and passion. And that, beyond anything else, is what really peaked investors’ interest. You can’t buy passion and energy, it’s innate. You either have it or you don’t. Our energy and passion has taken us further down the road than anything else – hands down. Without that passion and energy we’d be working full time jobs somewhere else.
  2. We never got discouraged. If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s not a word in your vocabulary. Most Boston area angel groups invest in technology companies and life sciences; IT, hardware, telecom, software, bio-tech etc. Boston isn’t exactly the best place to raise money for a new media company. At the end of the day that’s what we are. Perhaps the most common reason these groups didn’t invest is because we lacked proprietary technology. That was also probably one of the most frustrating things to hear. Nevertheless, it’s reality. We never got discouraged. Disappointed, sure, but not discouraged or negative. Our advisers were incredibly helpful here, without knowing it. Just their presence, time on the phone or over coffee, really helped us understand that we must stay focused on the goal – just keep executing, keep working hard, and it will happen.
  3. If you don’t like the investors, run! In October of 2006 Bob and I were flown out to the west coast to meet with a potential investor. He flew us out and took care of our accommodations, very cool. After spending 4 days with him we realized that it wasn’t a good fit on many levels. We made our final offer and ultimately decided to walk away. This was not an easy decision. My gut was telling me to get on the next plane back east, but Bob and I wrestled with it each evening while in the car or at the hotel. This was another important lesson. Looking back it was probably one of the best lessons we’ve had over the past 18 months – you have to like the investor. If you don’t like them now, what do you think it’s going to be like in the board room when things get tough? Bob and I always believed in finding an investor who believed in the model, of course, but also our philosophy and mission, and who shared those values with us.
  4. Beyond the fund raising process, perhaps the most important lesson of all had to do with our advisers. Good advisers are truly hard to find. We met several folks who didn’t know us from a hole in the wall, yet after only a couple phone calls, emails, coffee meetings, or drawing pretty pictures on a white board, whatever, they were very aggressive and determined to “join our advisory board” and even proposed their own ideas for compensation. I’d been down this road once before with my previous company and learned some very hard lessons. So my gut was screaming at me. “Run!” it was saying, “run for the hills Ben!” Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do, especially if you get like the person. Lesson here? Choose your advisers very carefully and know what you’re getting from them, but also set their expectations too. The advisers we ended up with, who’ve been the most valuable to Citysquares and to me, professionally, are the ones who never asked for a single nickel or share in the company, and have made unbelievable contributions. They call me just as often as I call them. We’re very lucky to have such kick-ass advisers. I was straight-up with them since day one, as they were with me.
  5. Know your Self. Much like growing up, it’s ever so important to know who you are, have a sense of Self, and purpose in life. I know it sounds philosophical but it’s a serious reality. A business is an entity, much like a person is. A business has a pulse, a mission in life, a personality. And without having at least a fundamental grasp on these things, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can form valuable relationships and try to raise money. Lesson here? Have a sense of Self, and know what you want to be when you grow up. And this has a lot to do with focus. Without focus you’re shooting at too many targets and early success is exactly that, a moving target.

One of the things that really struck me and Bob about eCoast Angels is the personality of the group. As Bob put it, “they seem like salt of the earth kinda guys.” I love that. He articulated it pretty well. Bob, Chris, myself, – yeah, we’re salt of the earth guys. So just from that perspective it seemed like a good fit even before we presented. The further down the path we went with eCoast, the more evident that became, but it’s also become quite clear that they have so much more to contribute here than just money. That alone is more valuable than any amount of currency. At a meeting with eCoast last week it became more and more clear that they’re full of not only wisdom and experience, but they’re full of ideas, energy, passion. I am truly, and in my gut, excited to work with them.

A couple of months ago I posted a blog entry titled, My Truth about Entrepreneurship. I was bare naked, at a very unpredictable time, and I wrote about it. I wrote that entry before meeting eCoast. I had no idea what was coming. At the end of the post I stated the following:

There is an old Chinese proverb, I believe, that goes like this:

The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

I have felt that temptation, I think I just went through it, over the past couple of weeks. I believe that I’ve just turned that corner and I’m now staring success straight in the face.

Well, I don’t think I’ve put my foot in my mouth just yet. My gut is treating me well. I know that the long days and the hard work aren’t over – I know the reality. But I also know that I don’t necessarily have to wake up every morning on the edge of a cliff, and walk each day on a precipice. I know that there are more lessons to be learned and that I will be tested in new ways. I’m excited. The future is bright, brighter than ever before, both personally and professionally.

Stay tuned for more. The best is yet to come.

My Truth about Entrepreneurship

You know, I’m a pretty high-energy, go-get-em kinda guy. I’m not lacking in confidence, hope, motivation, and dreams. I’ve been to the bottom before, and it sucks. I’m a little bull-headed. A lot of people have learned not to get in my way when I’m on a mission. It’s just how I’m wired. I have to tame that energy, harness it too. It’s also partly how I was raised. My folks were very good about supporting my dreams, no matter how strange they were. Although, at times, they questioned my sanity, and they were usually justified! So I learned some valuable lessons.

I remember, as a kid, probably about 10 or 11 years old, I wanted to earn some money – probably for a CD player or a new album, who knows. So I started a company called Helping Hands with some friends in the neighborhood. We were actually quite organized. I went door to door handing fliers to home owners offering to mow their lawns, rake them, shovel snow, whatever the task, we’d do it. Ultimately, my friends didn’t stick to the ‘business plan’ and I was left to do it alone, and I did, for a few months, earning some good cheddar. I kept some of those clients for a couple years, pushing my Dad’s lawn mower around the neighborhood. That sucked. Believe it or not (and it might sound silly) but that taught me some early lessons about pricing, selling and delivering the goods. After high school I worked retail, I shoveled driveways and parking lots for an entire winter, third shift. I painted houses. I worked as an insurance appraiser. I sold cars for a good while – selling new and used cars. That taught me a lot about sales, a LOT.

Ok, so fast forward to modern day Ben (do I sound pompous? Eh, too bad). The story of how Citysquares came to be has been told, and I won’t obnoxiously start on about my hopes and dreams for a better day, and a vision for a better future for me, my wife, my family, my community, my spirituality, and my time on this planet. Even I get tired of hearing it, even though I believe it all in my heart of hearts and that’s what this is all about.

Back on the point: 90% of the average Joe and Suzy Q can’t really understand this entrepreneurship thing. If you are an entrepreneur reading this, you’ll understand either from past experiences or from your current situation. Most people just don’t really get it. Some even see entrepreneurship as greed. As much as our society and capitalism makes entrepreneurship within everyone’s grasp, it’s only a vague concept to most people, it’s not something that can be lived by reading it in the headlines, or in a schoolbook. It has to be experienced. My wife is constantly amazed by it, and frightened by it, because she wasn’t raised in an entrepreneurial home. I was. My father was an entrepreneur, a small business man for many years, and long before I was an idea. His father before him was an entrepreneur, running a successful print shop in lower Manhattan for many years. My father and uncle ultimately took over that business. My mother was an entrepreneur. She was a court stenographer for many years, a grueling job, but she was the best and courts and judges all over requested her. She did this on her own, through her own little business. After she retired from court stenography she kept up with her entrepreneurial activities. So anyway, like I said, I grew up around it. Most people did not. Most people don’t understand it. They’re fascinated by it, and talk like they want to do it – but most never do and many live to regret it. Everyone has an idea, everyone has the spirit. Not all have the guts. Guts can be confused with foolishness, haste, even mental illness.

As a startup entrepreneur, who’s been at it for 15 months, boot strapping, grinding it out, with Bob, with Chris, and with my supportive family and amazing wife, I know all too well the pain that comes with it. Where there is a ton of hope, vision, passion, energy, motivation, inspiration, there is trepidation, doubt, depression, panic, hopelessness, and fear. Those later emotions are few and far between, for me anyway. But as the clock ticks, life goes on around me, those wonderful, elating emotions can sometimes become diluted, almost muted by the monotony of the days, the weeks, the months, and those big question marks stamped on every rising sun, and every rising moon. Thoughts of starting a family come flooding in, and sometimes I wonder if I’m just being selfish. Those negative emotions start to bubble up because a bill isn’t being paid, or sales isn’t going as planned, or morale is low, or that investor hasn’t called me back yet, whatever it is. There are those moments. There are many, many, sleepless nights. There are health issues too – really, there are.

Then there are moments that remind us what it’s really about – that refresh us, validate the vision, and bring it back into perspective. Those moments are rare, and they have nothing to do with dollar bills, or to do with any technology. They have to do with people, relationships. Events, like WebInno, or people who you choose to surround yourself with, who buy-in to you and the vision, and passion, and want to be part of it. Those people, the really valuable ones, are hard to come by. Very hard to come by. There are people who where the mask well, they talk the talk well, the say all the right things, but it doesn’t take long to see that they’re full of shit and they don’t really have it, like you want to believe they do. The real ones out there don’t really want anything – they just want to be involved, help, and see you succeed and even be a part of that success. But they’re willing to take that chance.

The passion we have here is contagious, the energy and spirit and tangible, and the future is bright and attainable! Sometimes these special people come along, they walk into your life, and in one conversation they can make it all better – put it all into perspective.

Ok, I’m speaking so figuratively that I’m starting to get annoyed by it. Look, it’s like this: Entrepreneurship is not easy. If it was, in the words of my father, everyone would be doing it. So true! No one ever can say that entrepreneurship is easy. Fun? Exhilarating? Wild? Fantastic? Oh hell yes! I love every moment of it and wouldn’t trade it for any other job. I mean that. But entrepreneurship has a dark side. It can be totally scary, frustrating, and one can feel hopeless at times, panicked, and uncertain of what tomorrow brings. I mean that literally – you just don’t know what tomorrow may bring. You can plan tomorrow, but you can’t plan for what tomorrow may unexpectedly bring in an unfunded, bootstrapping startup. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been blessed with 10 working fingers to type with, eyeballs that can read and understand code and the english language, very active and well exercised vocal chords, and a brain that just won’t stop buzzing – all – the – time. As a guy who loves technology, but doesn’t live and die by it, but also as a guy who understands people, what makes them tick, how to converse, how to sell and make friends and relationships, I’m truly fortunate. With these skills, I’ve managed to assemble what you hopefully see today – a startup Internet business that has a ton of potential and a very bright future. My colleagues Bob and Chris, my hombres, are still here – trusting me, through it all. We trust in each other, through dark times and bright times. With supportive family, friends, colleagues, advisers and mentors, I’m really quite humbled.

There is an old Chinese proverb, I believe, that goes like this:

The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

I have felt that temptation, I think I just went through it, over the past couple of weeks. I believe that I’ve just turned that corner and I’m now staring success straight in the face.

Citysquares.com: Part 1

Today I had a meeting with the founders of Spot Story, Aron and Matthew. I briefly met them at WebInno last week. It was at the end of the evening and the room was clearing out, they were still fielding questions and performing demos. We spoke for a couple minutes, exchanged business cards and promised each other we’d speak over the coming days. Today we did that, at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. During our long, and caffeinated, conversation they asked me about the back story to Citysquares. It was the first time I’d heard that question in a few weeks. As I was telling the story I thought to myself how I hadn’t really told the story on Your Suspect. So, here goes it…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been a loyal Sidewalk.com user in the mid/late 90s. I found it exceptionally useful and more readily available than some of the local rags in town. Sometimes I’d find a great event or restaurant on Sidewalk and I’d head out with some friends for a night out on the town. I would tell friends about Sidewalk.com and they’d become loyal users. Eventually Sidewalk.com was gone, and replaced by Citysearch. I was never able to get the same enjoyment from Citysearch. Sidewalk.com was my first experience with what is now coined ‘local search.’

Well, as the years went by and I established roots in Somerville, mainly in and around the Davis Square neighborhood, I longed for something like Sidewalk.com. I worked at Delphi.com and Prospero Technologies starting in 1999 and ending in 2001 (after surviving 3 rounds of layoffs). Those were the dot-com boom days. Even then, with all the hype around this whole Internet thing, I grew exceeding frustrated with the lack of localized content. I still couldn’t adapt to Citysearch. Other local sites like The Boston Phoenix, Boston.com, and maybe a couple others, just didn’t do it for me. I still couldn’t find truly local content.

So this continued throughout the next few years. At times, I’d voice my frustration about this to my wife and she’d agree with me – why can’t we find the hours for her hair salon down the street? Doing a web search (now called “googling” by many) would yield very little, if any, local information about her hair salon. This was frustrating. So we’d pull down, from atop our refrigerator, an old, dusty copy of the Verizon Yellow Pages. It may have done the trick, it may have not. The frustrations remained with us.

In the winter of 2003, it was late at night and I was sick with a really bad stomach bug. I was very ill. I needed some medicine – just something over-the-counter to help me get through the night. Ali was at her sister’s house in New Hampshire for the night. Just down the street from us, here in Davis Square, there’s a pharmacy. For the life of me, I can never remember which pharmacy it is. Is it a CVS? A Walgreen’s? Brooks? I can never recall. Ali laughs at me for this a lot – and I laugh too. But at the time, it wasn’t funny. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was winter, it was Boston, and it was very cold and even snowing. The circumstances couldn’t have been worse. The problem I was faced with was this: I don’t know which pharmacy it is, I can’t find anything online, I don’t have a phone book anywhere (that I knew of) and I either tough it out and be sick all night long, or I brave the elements and walk into the square to see if the pharmacy was open. That’s it – I just needed to know if the pharmacy was open. If it was open, ok, great, I can find some medicine. If not, I’m in a jam. Ali has the car. What to do, what to do. If this information was available to me online, I could make an easy decision. So, I bundled up and walked into the square only to find out that Brooks Pharmacy was closed. Needless to say, my night only worsened.

It wasn’t long after this event that I’d contemplated building a very basic website with a listing of all the businesses in Davis Square. Davis Square has a vibrant and moderately young demographic. Back in the day, Davis Square was a little seedy, but up and coming. In the 90s Davis had blossomed into a vibrant somewhat trendy community but still with a truly local and Boston kind of feel to it. And Tufts University is right down the street so surely a more transient crowd would dig something like a free online resource listing the businesses and other local resources. (Interesting side note, in 1997 Davis Square was called the hippest place to live in the US by UTNE Reader)

I decided to pursue this idea. I set out to buy davissquare.com. It was already owned by someone (still is), and my negotiations with him went nowhere fast. When I briefly explained to him what I wanted to do, he wanted to be my partner. But I wasn’t looking for a partner, I wasn’t even looking to make this a business. I was just looking to build a really simple, even bland, web based directory of all the businesses in Davis Square. That’s it. No business model, no purpose other than scratching an itch. I didn’t get far with buying davissquare.com. Discouraged, and preoccupied with life, I let the idea slip away. It never quite left me though. From time to time over the coming weeks, months, years I’d become momentarily inspired to do it again – but it never went anywhere.

Fast forward over many less significant but similar moments and experiences trying to find local businesses online, but ultimately resulting in frustrations, to the summer of 2005, August 13th to be exact. I’d been shaving my head for several years, by myself, at home, with a Braun clipper. It was a Saturday morning around 7am, and I was going at it in the kitchen. Standing up, facing the floor, with the clipper shaving the back of my head, watching the short hairs fall to the floor in neat clumps. Just then, the clipper started making noises – scary noises. The kind of noises that make you think holding an electric tool to your skull is a really bad idea. It started vibrating in an odd way. My head was barely shaved! It can’t break now! But it did. After several convulsive vibrations and erratic movements and frightening noises, it stopped working. I unplugged it and just stood there in the kitchen, staring at the clipper, and thinking how I must look like a total freak with only the back of my head shaved. Now what was I to do? I had to find a barber.

Now, mind you, the biggest reason I started shaving my head several years ago was because I’d grown frustrated with the local barbershops. No matter where I’d gone, they all did a lousy job. I’d even gone so far as to go to a couple salons. But I don’t like the salon experience. I grew up with barbers all my life. As a kid, my father and I would go to the same barber every two weeks, for years and years. Now, I was in a situation where I’d desperately needed a barber or a salon – anything to help me.

Here we go again: I “googled” (sorry Google lawyers) “barbers davis square” only to be presented with basically nothing (note that now, when you google “barbers davis square” the first result is for Citysquares.com Laughing). I knew there was at least one barbershop in Davis Square, but it was 7am – were they open? Yes – the same problem folks. The phone book was no help to me because I didn’t know the name of the barber shop I was looking for. I only knew it was on Highland Ave. But what number Highland Ave? Was it 16 Highland Ave or 1600 Highland Ave? Thankfully I wasn’t dealing with a violent stomach illness – only a massacred hairdo. I knew I’d survive this. So I put a hat on, and walked into the square. Guess what? The barber shop was closed. So I went and got a coffee, and soon had a repaired hairdo. The barber had a good laugh.

On Sunday, August 14th, my wife and I were talking, once again, about just how frustrating it was to find any truly local information about the businesses in our neighborhood. What is wrong with the world!? Why is this so difficult? And there it was – square between the eyes – I’m going to do this. Finally. I’m going to create this! No more davissquare.com negotiations, no more frustrations. It’s time for me to do this.

I sat in the same chair I’m sitting in right now, in my living room, and just let the ideas flood my brain. They kept coming. I just started writing the ideas down. I started thinking of brand ideas, domain names, content and feature ideas. Then it hit me again – open source. It’s so easy to build websites now, to build online applications, content management, whatever it was I wanted to do it was nothing like the old days of the web. It wouldn’t cost $500,000 and half an army to build it, and still take a year.

As I became more excited about the idea, I still had the vision of this being a free service to consumers like myself. I didn’t have a business model in mind, I wasn’t thinking about making money with tobedefined.com. I started to tell Ali about my brainstorm. She really is my better half and she has a very good instinct for things – be it people, ideas, just about anything. As soon as she let me explain the idea, she went nuts – she loved it. That was when I knew I had something. It wasn’t because of anything other than Ali’s enthusiasm that really got me moving. I started tossing out domain names to her: Neighborhoods.com? Nah, that’s gone. Cityblocks.com? Nah, that’s gone. Countless others. Ali said, “Citysquares.com?” I said, “I thought of that but I’m sure it’s taken. It’s gotta be taken.” Sure enough, there it was – available. I wasted no time. Nine dollars later the domain was mine.

More ideas flooded my brain, and I couldn’t write them down fast enough. Then I saw the business opportunity. Local businesses, merchants, moms-and-pops, whatever you want to call them – they had to agree, right? They had to see the light too! I mean, they advertise in newspapers, and in the phone book, and a small number even do online stuff, and I already knew for a fact that 60% of all small, local merchants didn’t have a website, and those that did only had brochure-sites. Even those brochure-sites aren’t updated often, if at all. So there was the real heart of it – a lack of an easy way for a business, like a barbershop or a local apothecary, to advertise online and just make their relevant business information available in a single, online, consolidated format. The idea was getting legs, very quickly. It was growing by the minute, but also getting more complex. Just the thing I was looking for.

My next step was to make a call. Bob Leland, my good friend and a colleague of mine at the time, was a brilliant UI and UX guy. He was as good as they get, and more importantly, we’d worked together for quite a while, though thick and thin, and he was my go-to guy for creative visionary type stuff, for online product positioning, for bringing an idea from my mind’s eye to a presentation format. I spent the next two hours on the phone with him, while pacing around my porch, sipping a beer. We just went nuts dissecting the concept and really asking ourselves if this made any sense. He could totally identify with my frustrations with Citysearch and Yellow Pages, and the lack of this kind of information in general, online. Bob loved it, truly loved it. After more than two hours on the phone, we agreed that we’d let the idea sit for a couple days and think about it further and let it all sink in. So, we did.

Over the next two days the idea grew and grew, and the notepads piled up. Ali’s enthusiasm grew as much as my own. On Tuesday, Bob called me and told me he had something he wanted me to see. He sent me five jpeg files with instructions on the order I should open them. They were comps – static graphics for his vision of Citysquares.com. I was floored – absolutely floored. Stunned and floored. I remember the energy and adrenaline swelling inside me when I saw his graphics bring my vision to life.

Over the coming days we had the early makings of a real business. I managed to pull my father into this, and my good friend Chris Miller. On October 13, after 6 weeks of non stop meetings, development, design, planning, and campaigning we had the first iteration of Citysquares.com up online and we kicked it off with an official launch party in Davis Square.

Bob is now my co-founder and VP of Product Development. Chris is our Sales Manager. Fifteen months later we’re still having as much fun as we were in August of 2005. The challenges are totally different now of course. We’re running an Internet startup. But we’re on a mission, and we’re here to stay. Make no mistake about that either – Citysquares.com is here to stay.

Looking back at all the incidents and motivations behind Citysquares, before it was really a concept, I’m really glad that I didn’t do it sooner. Any sooner and it could have been a real mess. The market is ready now, it wasn’t back a few years ago. The technology is available, and only keeps getting more exciting. Users weren’t totally there yet either. Now, in 2007, we’re in great shape to do what we envision.

As Citysquares.com stands today, as a website, a consumer-facing service, and a platform for local merchants to market themselves, we recognize that there’s so much more work to do. It’s not quite there yet. This is the infancy of Citysquares.com. We’ve got lots planned for the next few months, for 2007, 2008, and beyond.

I’ve made this long enough. I’ll follow up with more at a later time. There’s so much more to tell and I look forward to it!