Race4Madi.com

Next week, on Saturday morning, a 5k race will be held in Provo (very close to BYU and the MTC) to raise funds for leukemia treatments for the most amazing 15-year old girl.

Please visit Race4Madi.com to learn more.

Madi was diagnosed a few months ago, and has been in serious chemo treatments for 3 months. She has a super positive attitude and is always cheering everyone up.

If you run and live in Utah, please sign up for this 5k. We want hundreds of runners to show support for Madi and her family. The event organizers are hoping to raise thousands of dollars to help the family.

If you don’t run, please visit the web site and consider making a donation to this cause.

If you know other runners in the Provo area, or want to help us spread the word to the BYU or Timpview studentbody, please contact me and let me know what you can do.

This is going to be a lot of fun, and at the same time help a wonderful girl and her family.

Sundance: make room for the new family friendly film festival

My friend Brady Whittingham is a driven entrepreneur. He comes from a football family, and he played football in college. That intensity has stayed with him in business. We worked together years ago at MyFamily.com where he was our best product manager. Fast, smart, and completely results oriented. (Just like the BYU passing game.) He quickly realized that as companies get big they get slow–too slow for him (and later, for me) so he moved on, started his own internet business, and has achieve remarkable success.

He has begun doing some films. In true entrepreneurial fashion, Brady has decided to create a new venue for family friendly films to debut. The team he and his wife have put together to launch this festival is a good one.

Sundance Film Festival was started by Robert Redford just 29 years ago, and it has turned into a major international event.

I can’t wait to see what the Utah Family Film Festival becomes in the next decade or two.

Here’s how Brady describes the impetus for this festival and a little about the first year’s event:

There has always been some sort of draw for me to entertainment, and specifically film. . . .Having been exposed quite a bit to the industry through my passive role as Executive Producer for an newly completed independent film called “Take” (www.takethemovie.com), I’m more than just a little bit intrigued by the process of taking a movie from concept to finished product.

For years, my wife and I have attended the Sundance Film Festival. We have friends that fly in from NY and California every year and it’s always one of our most anticipated holidays (yes, we have made it a two week holiday around our house). As great as we think the Festival is, the film selection doesn’t cater well to the family (we have 3 little girls ages 6, 9, and 11), and we’ve been embarrassed more than a couple times after inviting friends and neighbors to a film without knowing exactly how graphic the material was going to be (there is no formal rating system for most of the independent films at film festivals). This past winter after one such experience, I told my wife that we are going to start a Family-Friendly Film Festival. She of course thought I was a little crazy for thinking that I have the know-how or the time to pull it off, but here we are, 1 week away from our first annual Utah Family Film Festival!

Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for much more than having the idea. My wife was right about at least two of three things…I don’t have the know-how nor the time to pull this off. I actually might be a little crazy too, so I guess she was 3 for 3. Referring back to my “job”, I am currently the President of a large division of a public company and spend a couple weeks each month on the road, and the rest of the time trying to catch up in the office. So to pull it off, I had no choice but to find great people and empower them to go out and make it happen. The initial stages of planning the event location, lining up vendors, notifying filmmakers of the festival, etc. were handled by none other than the 2006 Miss Utah International Brittany Bowden. She did a phenomenal job of setting this up. Once it was set up, we needed an industry pro to execute the plan, so I had to convince somebody both experienced in the Industry and crazy enough to take on the role of Festival Director with such a short time before the event. Tyler Measom was one of the Producers I met on the set of “Take”, and he was a perfect fit. Fortunately, he accepted the offer to become our Festival Director, and subsequently convinced his Partner Jennilyn Merton to join him as Festival Media Director. Add to that about two dozen close friends and family who have agreed to volunteer, and so far it looks like we are going to pull it off in a big way!

Now we just need people to come and enjoy some of the wonderful films that have been submitted by makers of Family Films all over the world. For movie descriptions and to purchase tickets, go to www.utahfamilyfilmfestival.com. See you at the movies!

When: Thursday through Saturday, June 7-9

Where: University Mall Theaters (Southeast of Costco), Orem, Utah

What: Independent Family Films, plus select retro films including Napoleon Dynamite (former Sundance film) and Goonies

Cost: $6 for adults, $3 for children

Info: www.utahfamilyfilmfestival.com

Please spread the word. Let’s make this first event a big success and set the stage for a future film festival that everyone can be proud of, and that everyone can attend without risk of embarrassment.

Better than Rocketboom!

I heard about Rocketboom last year, a simple, short-format daily news video broadcast that has attracted millions of views. They have a growing archive, of course, and they use a simple web 2.0 tagging system to identify the topics that are covered in each broadcast. (See the Rocketboom Alexa chart.

When you visit Rocketboom, your first reaction is, anyone could do this. But the fact is, they did it, and they did it early in the online video revolution, and they are still doing it. Unfortunately, Amanda Congdon, the original Rocketboom news anchor left the site earlier this year. Now the anchor is Joanne Colan.

I swear that when I originally saw Rocketboom I thought about my friend Lindsay Campbell, an actress in New York with a degree from Stanford University. She was my assistant at “Infobase Ventures” (the predecessor to Provo Labs). After graduating from Stanford she got an MFA from a very fine acting school in Colorado.

I actually thought she would make a better news anchor than Rocketboom’s. I tried to figure out something that worldhistory.com or one of my other companies could do that might put Lindsay in front of a daily online video news broadcast. But I didn’t figure anything out and never approached her about it.

So imagine my surprise yesteday when I got an email from Lindsay saying that she is quitting her day job to become the news anchor for a new online video news site called WallStrip.com.

It’s a better concept than Rocketboom because it has a more narrow focus, but it will appeal to millions of people who owns stocks and who want to know how changing trends will affect the companies they have invested in.

It’s about the stock market. It’s about highlighting one stock each day that is close to a 52-week high and then going behind the scenes to figure out what is powering the growth of that stock. They will interview people, figure out what is going on in pop culture that is fueling each company’s growth. Then, on all the Wallstrip blogs, professional investors and others will debate the company’s prospects.

Today’s Wallstrip news story is on Apple Computer, whose growth is fueled by the iPod as well as the retail stores that Apple is opening.

So the bottom line is: better concept than Rocketboom. Better anchor than Rocketboom.

I’ve never hired a news anchor before, but I can tell good ones when I see them. I was a huge fan of Soledad O’Brien early on, back when I watched MSNBC’s The Site, one of the programs that fueled the internet revolution.

I am extremely happy for Lindsay and the founding team of Wallstrip.com, and I wish them well. I think their format is excellent. I think Lindsay is perfect for this job. Her career is going to take off. I always knew she would go places!

Howard Lindzon, the founder of Wallstrip outlines one of his goals on a recent blog post:

One of my goals out of Wallstrip is to create a deeper conversation, a better MEME for stock bloggers, market investors and enthusiasts.

The tech nerds have MEME