Earlier this summer, noted technology writer Robert X. Cringely embarked on a cross-country tour to visit promising start-up companies with exciting stories. The project, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, aims to help America rediscover entrepreneurship. Cringely’s tour will be the basis of a television series to air on a major cable network next spring. Over 400 startup companies were nominated, and only 24 will be featured. Now, 10,000 miles later, the Cringely 2010 (Not in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour is nearing an end. Yesterday, Cringely and his film crew were in Huntsville, Alabama, visiting the Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) startup where I work, The Q-Track Corporation (Facebook).
Not having heard anything since we filled out Cringely’s questionnaire in June, I had assumed that Q-Track did not make the cut. Then on Tuesday – out of the blue – came an e-mail requesting a visit on Thursday. This actually worked out well: just enough time to rearrange the schedule, but not enough to get seriously stressed and over-prepare for the occasion. The visit included a couple hours of interviews with Q-Track’s founders as well as a tour of our facilities and a demonstration of Q-Track’s Near-Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER®) technology in action.
With the tour running longer than originally intended, Cringely only spent an afternoon with us. And regrettably, Mrs. Cringely had to abandon the tour to get their children back in time for school to start, so we did not get the opportunity to admire or sample her muffins. But one great benefit of being near the end of Cringely’s tour was that Cringely was full of fascinating anecdotes of the other exciting startups he’s visited. It’s an honor to be included among such illustrious companies. I look forward to watching Cringely’s show, learning more about the novel technologies, and seeing the stories of how they came to fruition.