Building Communities is Building Success

Building Communities

Building Communities for Success

With all his love of people, passion for teaching and education, his tremendous community building skills – if you want things done, Donald is your man — Sophia Vickland, Making the World Better Though AI 
We get information. resources, support, and almost everything important in life from our connections with others.   I have researched this and published about it.  Most of all, I live it.

My research in social networks has taught me that innovation comes from the interaction of different social worlds,  I want to get to know you and connect you to the people and resources you need.  When we work together and learn to give, we make more.

Building Communities and Connecting Through Music
Musical Rainbow

Building communities through music could be the most effective and rewarding way to do it. It cuts across race, profession, political orientation … Every culture in the world connects through music.   Music isn’t just something you listen to or watch.  It is something we do together that lifts our spirits and our souls.

Throughout my life, I have tried to take back music from the media giants and return it to, us, its rightful owners.

Expand to learn about my music production
In the late 1980’s, my wife and I started a side business we called “Mostly Acoustic” to produce concerts.  We rented the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz and hired musicians to play.  The concerts focused on our taste which is weighted towards acoustic music.  I was inspired by the David Grisman Quintet and fingerstyle guitar.

Pierre Bensusan

Some fingerstyle guitarists play electric guitar, like the “godfather of the guitar,” Chet Atkins, but he also played acoustic.  We didn’t want to eliminate some of the greatest musicians of all just because they played electric instruments.

Thus, the title of the series, “Mostly Acoustic.”

This got us connected to some amazing communities like Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (PSGW) and California Coast Music Camp (CCMC).  I made many lifelong friends.  At the camps and learned to take my playing to a new level. The friends I made have shaped my life.

For a list of some of the concerts we produced and the musicians we booked, check out the music part of this biographical section. 

Building Communities Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Innovation Image

I have long experience creating communities for innovation and entrepreneurship including International Angel Investors, Central Coast Angel Network, The Tuesday Night Meeting, countless meetups, and Action Spot …  driving entrepreneurship and innovation by connecting people and resources.   Something that I still make happen.

Expand to learn about my entrepreneurship and innovation events
International Angel Investors/Central Coast Angel Network

The cities around the Monterey Bay have economies that are based on tourism. This makes them sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.
I had been supporting Hal Nissley’s International Angel Investors It was a group of angels and venture capitalists that worked with early-stage companies. The format was a panel discussion or speech and then pitches by startups.  This formula is ubiquitous and used by dozens of organizations. Hal pioneered it.

Part of what he did was to do training for startups helping them develop business plans and give pitches.  I became one of the facilitators. Working with angels and VCs was a good education.

CCAN Gong Show

We had the meetings in Prunedale, which was about halfway between Monterey and Santa Cruz. They are the biggest cities from the north and south sides of the bay.

We had remarkable speakers.  They covered subjects like the future of the music industry, outsourcing, startup financing, and much more.  We had top experts that came from as far as New York City.  Pople would come from as far as Marin County to attend. Many relationships were formed that still exist.

The Tuesday Night Meeting

The people that were helping me with CCAN moved away.  It was hard to keep up the energy, so I took a short break.

I got to know the intellectual property manager for UC Santa Cruz, Gerald Barnett.  We worked together on an event that was to tie together the different social networks in Santa Cruz.  Almost every Tuesday night for two years I found speakers. We met to learn and innovate.  A goal was to connect the university more closely with the town.

The Santa Cruz Design Center was spawned from this meeting. It was named as one of the coolest things of the year by Metro Santa Cruz , a local entertainment paper.