Mobile Realty Apps Changes Name To HomeSpotter, Announces Funding

“Hey, do you have a minute?”

6 simple words Aaron Kardell, CEO of then Mobile Realty Apps now HomeSpotter (see the press release below), said to me at the first MobCon late fall 2012… and things have not been the same since.

I knew Aaron from seeing him at CoCo Downtown Minneapolis and I knew of him through tech events in town. I knew he was a good tech guy and this being his third startup (two successful exits) a good CEO.

He said he was going to be growing his team and he wanted to know if I had interest in helping him.

As I remember it I did not let him finish asking the question before I said yes.

Aaron and Mobile Realty Apps have come a longgggg way since then.

They started at CoCo St Paul… I don’t have any photos of them there.

Then CoCo Downtown Minneapolis (12/12):

Mobile Realty Apps now HomeSpotter, Aaron Kardell

Continue reading "Mobile Realty Apps Changes Name To HomeSpotter, Announces Funding" »

Target Rescinds Offers


(Mar ’15)

(Feb ‘15)

(Jan ‘14)


Last week FOX 9 broke a story that late in December (2014) 40 people who had accepted job offers to work at Target Corporation starting in January (2015) were notified that their offer was being rescinded.

Their story and an interview with a local attorney is below.

I missed the story that night and was not aware of the situation until a couple of friends who had accepted offers at other companies were asking about the enforcement of their offer.

I finally asked why they were asking and learned of the story.

I’m not an attorney (so this is not legal opinion)… generally offer letters are a formality. They usually contain specifics like a start date, salary, vacation and benefit information, at will employment and other things.

In the FOX 9 story the attorney says that employers rescinding offers is a common thing.

That is not my experience.

I have had two offers rescinded in 16 years because of business reasons. If I remember correctly I have had four or five offers rescinded because of issues with a flagged background check or failed drug test.

I have had an equal number of candidates who have accepted an offer and then not shown up for the first day of work. Sometimes without notice.

So this does go both ways.

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The Nerdery Launches A Software Engineering School

The Nerdery

Good news from The Nerdery today as they announce the launch of Prime Digital Academy (Prime).

This is the Twin Cities third code school or bootcamp like venture. Concordia University announced their bootcamp in September, Coding Bootcamp To Launch In Minnesota. There is also the FUSION program with MnSCU and Advance IT Minnesota.

There have been a number of other conversations locally and across the Upper Midwest about the creation of these schools.

I’m not shy about it… I am a big fan.

Companies continue to complain about the “War for Talent” and a “skill set shortage”. Many of whom did away with their internship and recent grad programs during the “Great Recession”. Now when they are looking for that ever elusive 3-5 year developer they can’t find them. Maybe that “cost cutting” they did back then is having a greater cost now.

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Rant: Thoughts On Rebranding And Attracting Workers To Minnesota

Paul DeBettignies as The Hulk, Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota Headhunter

(It’s been a long time since I had a good rant and used the Hulk photo)

A couple of news items this week have me thinking.

Thinking has turned into some frustration.

Frustration has turned into this rant.

Later today I will send an email to a bunch of folks and point them back to this and ask them what they think.

Before every rant I have a disclaimer so that it sets a tone. For this post:

Continue reading "Rant: Thoughts On Rebranding And Attracting Workers To Minnesota" »

Thoughts On Amazon Recruiting In Minneapolis

Last week Kathy Grayson at the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal posted this article Amazon’s cloud-computing arm shops for Twin Cities talent

There have been some interesting reactions to the news ranging from:

Why here - yes, we do have a lot of very good IT pros here & who are looking for something new

Who would want to move to Seattle - two words, polar vortex

Oh crap, we can’t compete with them – yes, yes you can

So let’s cover those briefly…

To those who say we do not have enough talented IT pros in town or that we can’t compete with groups on the coast I say this… BS

Too strong? I have a much stronger response that will likely offend a bunch of you.

So let me pull this from the article… this is a more polite way of saying it:

Scott Burns, CEO of growing St. Paul software company GovDelivery Inc., said he's not surprised Amazon is recruiting in Minnesota.

"Anyone from Amazon or from Google is wise to tap into this market. We have a lot of talent," he said. "We compete by making [GovDelivery] an awesome place to work."

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10 Minnesota Startups To Pitch Steve Case At Rise Of The Rest

Rise of the Rest Tour with Steve Case

The Rise of the Rest Tour rolled into Minneapolis this morning. Steve Case, Co Founder of AOL and startup investor, is in town for a series of events today similar to ones held in other cities to promote entrepreneurism and show case what is going on outside of Silicon Valley.

There was a breakfast this morning at CoCo and then a tour of some startups. And this afternoon a series of events:

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Press Release: Coding Bootcamp To Launch In Minnesota




Concordia University, St. Paul Develops Nation’s First Credit-Bearing Coding Bootcamp

The university partnered with online education specialist The Learning House, Inc. to build the nation’s only coding bootcamp affiliated with an accredited institution.

St. Paul, Minn. (September 15, 2014) – There is a growing shortage of software developers in the Twin Cities. To help meet this need, Concordia University has partnered with online education services provider The Learning House, Inc., to launch Coding Bootcamp@Concordia. The bootcamp is a 12 week, full time - intensive program to train entry level developers. It will be the first in the nation offered by an accredited university. Not only will the program teach students critical technology skills, but the coursework can be applied toward earning a degree.

“As an institution, we are focused on providing an education that is relevant to our students,” said Eric LaMott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Concordia University, St. Paul. “The bootcamp offers a great way for our students to quickly gain real-world skills that will make them immediately attractive to employers, while still earning credit toward their degree.”

Todd Zipper, President and Chief Operating Officer of Learning House, added, “We’re ecstatic to partner with an entrepreneurial university like Concordia to offer this program that is sorely needed in Minneapolis – St. Paul. It will be a great opportunity for students to qualify for careers in this growing field and for employers to find job-ready developers.”

The bootcamp is slated to begin classes in January 2015. Tuition will be $10,000. Students will learn Microsoft .NET or Oracle Java, in small classes taught by veteran developers. Students will develop a portfolio of projects and have the opportunity to demo them to area employers. An employer network is being developed to assist graduates in their job search.

The curriculum was developed in conjunction with The Software Craftsmanship Guild (SCG), based in Akron, Ohio. The SCG bootcamp has been in operation for two years and has over a 90% placement rate. That expertise will be leveraged to develop a strong, relevant curriculum and help graduates of Concordia’s program find employment.

To learn more, visit

Concordia University, St. Paul is a comprehensive Christian liberal arts university, one of 10 operated under the auspices of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Since its founding in 1893, Concordia University has been preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives by providing an educational experience that is responsive, relevant and real.


The Learning House, Inc. helps colleges and universities create, manage and grow high-quality online degree programs and courses. Partnering with more than 100 schools, Learning House enables institutions to efficiently and affordably achieve their online education goals.


- ### -



David L. Clinefelter
Chief Academic Officer
The Learning House, Inc.
(502) 751-8647

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Recruiting For Minnesota Startups Added To Twin Cities Startup Week

September 9-14, 2014 is and I am doing a presentation September 12 from 12 pm - 2 pm at CoCo Downtown Minneapolis:

Recruiting For Minnesota Startups

Recruiting For Minnesota Startups is a presentation I have done numerous times over the years at MinneBar and this spring through the Google for Entrepreneurs program.

Here are details:

If you already know how to find a co founder, recruit a CTO and build a team of 20+... this is not for you.

If you are like most groups and having some difficulty sourcing, recruiting and closing candidates... this conversation is for you.

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Minnesota Cup Announces 2014 Division Finalists

Minnesota Cup

Minnesota Cup announced 2014 finalists for the competition now in its 10th year.

Most years I know (know of) most of the companies on the list. But this year just one… OMG Transit.

I take that as a good sign along with the numbers below about a record number or participants… we have a lot of entrepreneurial activity going on in our region and there is no way to know who everyone is.

Click Minnesota Cup Reception (free) to register for the September 10th, 2014 event and click Twin Cities Startup Week to see other events going on during a week long celebration of startup life in Minnesota.

Press release…

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Medtronic To Acquire Covidien And Move Executive Headquarters To Ireland

Saturday morning the Wall Street Journal had this article:

Medtronic, Covidien in Advanced Talks to Combine 

It spread across Minneapolis and St Paul faster than any business story in recent memory. Which says a lot given it was a Saturday during a Minnesota summer.

Sunday evening Medtronic confirmed the story with this press release:

Medtronic to Acquire Covidien for $42.9 billion in Cash and Stock

This is an image on the Medtronic web site:

Medtronic Acquires Covidien

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

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