Techstars Seattle in Vancouver B.C.


TechStars Seattle will be in Vancouver B.C. this week from May 1-2. They are co-hosting a happy hour with Vancouver Pixel Crafters: Startup Drinks Vancouver, and holding office hours at the Full Stack offices on May 2. Email Linsey Battan ( if you would like to sign up for office hours.

For more details about the event and registration click here. Feel free to share this flyer with anyone you who might be interested in attending.


TechStars Seattle happy hour in Portland this week!


Program Managers, Linsey Battan (TechStars Seattle) and Maris McEdward (Microsoft Accelerator) are making a trip down to Portland this weekend to meet with Portland entrepreneurs. 

They are hosting a happy hour on Friday April 26, at 6pm at the Nike Accelerator office, so don't forget to stop by and grab a beer and say hello to them.

If you are interested in applying to TechStars Seattle (applications now open, deadline May 31) I would encourage you to reach out directly with Linsey Battan ( to get on her calendar and grab coffee while she is in town.

Click here to view the shareable flyer for more details and registration info. Feel free to spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.



Code Fellows update and visit to Portland


For those of you who haven't already caught wind about Code Fellows I wanted to post a quick update about what has been going on with the company.

The inaugural Rails class is complete! You can read more about the class here on our blog. The student's learned a lot and had truly great things to say!   The team working on this company are doing a great job!  Also, I want to point out what Code Fellows student Aplha Ng's had to say about his experience at Code Fellows. The team learned a lot from this first class, and made some adjustments to the next class, starting in May 2013.

Upcoming events:

Happy hour in PDX: Monday, April 29 @ 7:15pm, Rontoms. Code Fellows Rails instructors are going to be down in Portland next week for the RailsConf. Make sure you stop by their happy hour at Rontoms. View more details here and spread the word!

Code Fellows Mixer: Monday, May 13 @6pm, The Easy. Come meet our instructors and chat with us about Code Fellows. Interested in hiring one of our graduates? Then stop by, and grab a drink. Hiring companies are welcome. Alumni, prospective students and companies hire are all welcome. Spread the word!

Also if you are a company looking to hire a developer, contact for more info on how you can get involved in our Partner Program.


Seattle Tech Meetup Tonight!

We are very excited about being a community sponsor of Seattle Tech Meetup!  The mission of Seattle Tech Meetup is to be the key monthly Seattle tech event to attend to have fun and connect into our big and small Seattle tech and entrepreneurial communities.  It's a tight 1 hour event with 5 short interesting tech demo presentations of something the audience can add value to, and networking before and after the event.  Join us in the fun on the third Tuesday of every month.

Hope to see you there! REGISTER NOW, before tickets sell out!

Top 4 mistakes when blogging

This is really a personal list of my top mistakes.  And unfortunately, it's all too easy of a post to write! My mistakes in order of importance are:

  1. Uninteresting titles - Hands down this is one of my more common and big mistakes.  Over and over again I learn the lesson that readers are attracted to content based upon the title first and the content second. 
  2. Spelling fubar -- I frequiently (intentional error there) write my posts quickly and will not give them the appropriate review before pushing publish. This makes my blogs and me seem unprofessional and messy. 
  3. Infrequent consistency -- I've gone in cycles of being prolific and being radio silent. Better to write fewer consistent posts so your readers know what to count on you then to be erratic.  That said, I've given myself permission to write whenever I want and on whatever topic I want -- this has helped my enjoyment of blogging. 
  4. Unfocused posts -- I'll sometimes write posts and try to make too many points at once and end up making no point.  

How to take advantage of TechStars?

I met with a Seattle native who has recently been accepted to TechStars NY. He was asking what he should do to take advantage of the experience. This particular entrepreneur was very clear about his product direction. 

I told him the value of Techstars is in the relationships and feedback you receive very quickly that previously was not available to you. With this in mind, I told him he should do the following:

  • Get a list of mentors and investors in NYC and put them in 3 buckets. 1. I have to meet them 2. Would be Nice to meet them 3. I don't think I need to meet them.  
  • Write down your objectives for your 90 days at TechStars. Ask for feedback on the objectives.
  • Start adding mentors to your weekly company updates.  Be religious about sending these out and put time into them. 
  • Be organized.  Do what you're going to do in terms of follow up.
  • Develop 1 or 2 relationships with alumni from that program. They can help guide you through the mentor and investors in the area.   
  • Spend time on LinkedIn preparing for meetings with mentors and investors. There's lots of info out there and so few people actually do any homework. 

Oh, and this is a post about TechStars. Seattle applications are open. Apply here message of growing more engineers is #1 on you tube!!

The work that Hadi and Ali are doing at is amazing. The wrote to me today and said" It’s been an exhilarating ride since launched two weeks ago:

  • Our video reached #1 on YouTube!
  • 12mm views on YouTube (and countless more on Facebook)
  • We reached 500,000 teachers to play our short film in class
  • 560,000 petitions signed

Amazing!  I've been particularly interested in what is doing because Code Fellows is working on the same meme and market, i.e. teaching people to program and code languages of all kinds like Ruby on Rails, IOS, Python. Moreover, I've become friendly with the Hadi Partovi over the last few years and want to support his work.   

These cute cars2go have invaded South Lake Union

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You can't walk anywhere in the neighborhood without seeing one of these cars2go.  They started appearing about 90 days ago and now they're on almost every block.  I'm told that the company is funded by Mercedes and that users can rent the car for $0.38 per  minute (or slightly less if you rent by the 15 minutes or the hour).  You operate the car with a member card.  Great for simple commuting.   Makes me want to try it!  Awesome example of technology enabled innovation plus major cuteness. 


Come to Seattle Tech Meetup on March 19!

We are very excited about being a community sponsor of Seattle Tech Meetup!  The mission of Seattle Tech Meetup is to be a monthly event for Seattle that will be known as the key event to attend to have fun and connect into our big and small Seattle tech and entrepreneurial communities.  It's a tight 1 hour event with 5 short interesting tech demo presentations of something the audience can add value to, and networking before and after the event.

The next event is March 19th and we would love to see you there.  REGISTER NOW, before tickets sell out.

My 1 year anniversary of cancer diagnosis...and I'm cancer free

I just read about Rob Glazer's father passing away on Facebook.  In his Facebook post, he posted a link to this article about the top 5 regrets of the dieing. I think I've posted the link before -- I love the article and since having cancer am trying to live my remaining time by avoiding these simple regrets. I'm in a perfect spot to be celebrating my anniversary.  The sun is out, the sky is blue, I'm taking a few days off and so should you :-)  Pictures to follow. 

Traditions and the annual guys HARSfest ski weekend

Every year -- except for last year -- for the last 10 years, I've been going skiing with a group of guys from college.  This weekend has become one that I look forward to each year -- there's something very special about finding friends in life and then managing to mark time as you age together and enter new life stages.  The group now is entirely married with children and when we started I was married and had just had a child.  We're definitely middle aged -- and dealing with the the aspects of aging bodies, paunch stomachs, creaky knees, and later starts to the slopes.  

Writing this post and it makes me think of the movie Stand by me and Hangover -- looking forward to hitting the slopes. 


TechStars Alumni New Year Party Tonight

I invited the past 3 classes of TechStars Seattle alumni out for cocktails to celebrate the new year tonight. We all went out and had drinks and some appetizers.  It was really fun. We had a great turnout. Lots of familiar faces, passionate entrepreneurs, and general good vibes. It was such a success that I decided to host this quarterly -- and to include mentors.  Stay tuned for the April fools alumni get together (no april aprils joke intended !)

How to recruit excellent engineers in Seattle?

Well -- that seems to be a great question that lots of people are asking and no one has a great answer to....And while I'm not sure if I have a great answer either. I'm pretty excited about the answer that Brad Bouse has come up with : Code Fellows -- an engineering boot camp that guarantees (for now) a 60K job offer to its graduates.  The first camp -- a ruby on rails boot camp is starting on March 4 and applications are starting to role in.  

Check it out.  


So how am I doing (since being diagnosed with testicular cancer)?

It's hard to explain exactly how I am doing. 

Physically -- post surgery I feel fine. I'm walking about and should be back to normal in a day or two. 

However, every creek in my body now gets associated for a moment with potential cancer.  I have a cramp in my side and I wonder -- might that be cancer?  I don't remember feeling that before - I wonder is it connected to some cancer organzism growing in my body? 

My progrnosis -- post treatment -- remains excellent 95%+.  So on one hand -- I feel like the same Andy and a person who ihas it now worse than someone whos going to have a bad reovery from a surgery. Kind of like I'll need 6 months of PT. I sort of imagine myself going through the equivalent to someone post a major shoulder or knee surgery. Most of the time I can hold onto my prognosis -- even though most other people hear the word cancer and associate it with all the bad cancers and bad outcomes they know about. I find myself saying that I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and that it "almost certainly is cureable" and has "95% cure rates" so that people can calibrate what I've got more readily....and so that I can avoid the look of "sorrow" or "portential death" on their face. When I do this -- i do it for them ....and for me. 

The weight of the cancer word on my psyche and on other people's psyche is real -- I am changed through this  in my eyes and in others.....and that's the real impact of this illness.  A couple examples:

  1. When I walked down the hall to see the doctor, I felt middle aged and frail and vulberable.  I wasn't the 30 something kid ready to tackle the world.  I was Andy Sack with cancer. 
  2. And I've changed in the eyes of others -- on of my friends was asked how he was donig....and his response was ...."my best friend has fucking cancer, how do you think I'm doing". This is significant because I don't feel that bad and doint' think of myself as very different....and yet in his mind and heart I have a fucking cancer and might die. 

And then there's the practical implications of the cancer. Now I find myself worrying about all these associated implications to my life.  I got worried that your partners might want to back out of backing techstars....or that someone might impose a new leader for "my own benefit" . I worry about health insurance and now that I have cancer will i be able to get it if I'm not working at a bigger firm. 

How's that for a real answer to "how are you doing"?


Life takes sharp turns: Diagnosed with testicular cancer 1 month ago

This is the post I wrote at the time -- February 7, 2010

I was diagnosed with cancer on Tuesday.  Events have been like a slow motion movie on one hand and like a speeding train on the other.  I had spend much of Monday joking with people that I was scared that I had testicle cancer and had a swollen nut. It was swollen enough and uncomfortable enough to ask my wife to examine it and to call the doctor. When I spoke to the doctor and told him my age, and what was going on he said most likely it's an infection but let's fit you in tomorrow. Go have an ultrasound and I'll examine you. So I went and had an ultrasound.  I remember looking at the screen --and not really noticing anything odd or different. It was 4:50PM and the ultrasound technician seemed to want me to go to the urologist Erik Torgenson before 5PM. Which I did. We talked for a bit about Tom Robey's diagnosis and life....and then he started to examine me ....and pretty quickly told me I had testicle cancer and that I'd be operated on next Tuesday.  He told me to get dressed and come to his office. He drew a diagram that represented a decision tree -- I wasn't allowed to keep the paper because it was my order firm for surgery.

I remember being in the car and thinking how alone I felt. I called my parents and told them. My mother thought I was joking. I wasn't.

I went to my niece Lola's birth day party. 

I remember feeling my mortality as I drove over a hill. I could really die today. That's a scary thought. 

If I don't' die to day what should I do differently in my life?

I'll be posting to catch you up on the journey of the past month -- you should all know that the progrosis is very good. It helps reassure me through what is undoubtedly going to be a really shitty couple months!


Opening a Community Section at TechStars Seattle Demo Day!

TechStars is all about the community. Community-driven, community-supported. So, for the first time ever in Seattle, I'm excited to open a Community Section* at TechStars Demo Day!

Come join us November 3rd, 2 - 4:30pm at the Showbox Sodo. 

The 10 TechStars companies have been working around the clock for the last 3 months - doing more, faster. The most hyper-productive months of their lives. We're showcasing all their progress with presentations from each company. Come check out what they've built!

I can't wait to celebrate with you!

The first 100 people to do these two things will get to join us at TechStars Seattle Demo Day!

1. Tweet about why you love TechStars Seattle. Best, most creative, funniest tweet wins TechStars swag :) We'll track via hashtag: #tsdday. 

2. Make sure you follow @andysack I'll DM you the invite.

See you there, Seattle!

*Important disclaimer (aka buzzkill)...totally excited to invite you to demo day, but unfortunately that does not include the after party. Immediately following the presentations, we will ask the community section to exit. Please forgive me in advance (I've actually sicked Kayla on this - she'll be doing her best bouncer impersonation). We don't mean to be rude, but we have to set up the dinner and investor networking portion of the event. Thanks for understanding!