Mapathon for Downtown Huntsville

Sketchup ExampleThere is a new event coming up in Downtown Huntsville called a Map-a-Thon.  It’s a competition put on by Downtown Huntsville, Inc along with several friends and partners, including Solid Earth. Basically we are dividing the city into zones and recruiting teams to build models. Then, we’ll score them on several criteria including accuracy and the level of detail etc.   At the end of the competition all the models will be submitted to the GIS guys at City Hall so they can submit them to Trimble’s 3D Building Warehouse.

The teams will hopefully bring together modelers, engineers, geographers, photographers and other disciplines that can contribute to a successful modeling team.  It’s typical Huntsville stuff, Art meets Engineering; Lowe Mill meets Cummings Research Park. All intersecting in the newly rejuvenated downtown sector.  And when we’re done, we’ll upload the submissions to  Google Earth so Huntsville looks even better online. Site location people use Google Earth all the time and if the models are detailed enough, a virtual   of the blocks might be enough to cause them to choose the city for their project!

So if you know a photog, or a modeller, or a hacker of any kind tell them to head over to Downtown Huntsville and sign up to create a team.  Go here for info:


The Partnership Charter

The Partnership Charter
The Partnership Charter

I will probably write more than one post about this, it was such a meaningful experience. Many things on this blog are personal but this is about Solid Earth. Rewinding way back, my business partner of the last fourteen years, Robert (Bob) Moore, retired in 2008 and left me to run Solid Earth as President and as CEO, the position he held when he left. Since then we have talked occasionally and basically continued on with business. He has been a really great, almost silent partner. But all changed recently when Bob read a book called The Partnership Charter by David Gage. If you are in a business partnership, or any kind of partnership really, read on.  This is really good stuff.

In early December Bob called and told me about the book. I bought it online and read it over a weekend. The author is a clinical psychologist at American University in DC and an interventional business marriage counsellor (my term) along with his sidekick and fellow Ph.D. Ed Kopf. Ed’s Ph.D. is from Brandies in History and he later was a VP at Circuit City, a CFO and held several other corporate positions. Ed and David together make up quite a team and together we worked through the charter and came away with a new way to manage Solid Earth. While we were not really having serious problems, David and Ed showed us how to really do it all better, here’s how.

First, the partners have to trust each other, I mean, really understand where the other is coming from. Before we tried to write the charter, we did a values inventory and compared them. The interesting bit was that we had to guess the other person’s values too.  How well we guessed indicated how well we knew each other and what motivated the other person.  It turns out that we did not know each other very well and that realization ultimately made all the difference.  The result was a new atmosphere and a new commitment to our mutual goals, now embodied in a new five member board of directors for Solid Earth.  Basically we have created a new entity to manage me, the CEO of Solid Earth and it works way better already.

The new board is comprised of me, Bob Moore and Don Nalley with two others to be added soon.  Don is the first of three outside directors and serves as Secretary for the board and on the new Compensation Committee.  We had our first board meeting in Huntsville in February, the next is scheduled for late May.  I will be writing more about this soon over on Solid Earth’s website including a bio of each of the new board members.  This is BIG for Solid Earth and a major step forward into a better. more effective and strategic future.