@AlligatorZone extends to Sunnyvale Public Library, California

May 27, 2014

On Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, at 3 p.m., AlligatorZone will hold a West Coast session in Sunnyvale Public Library in California.  RSVP: http://bit.ly/1pv78Ql

We at SiliconGlades are delighted to announce that Sunnyvale Public Library will hold a session of AlligatorZone, a free community gathering of members of the public aimed at entrepreneurs to seek perspectives from an audience that will help them identify the proverbial alligators that can hurt them and provide constructive feedback and input.


The 60,000 square feet Sunnyvale Public Library will feature the first west coast session of Alligator Zone on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at 3 p.m. The library, originally the Reading Room, which opened in 1908, was passed over to the town to form the Sunnyvale Public Library, which became part of the county library system in 1917.

AlligatorZone, as the name suggests, is a program conceived by @siliconglades in Tampa Bay, Florida.  There’s a previous blog post that describes the philosophy behind AlligatorZone. Here’s a link: http://magazine.siliconglades.com/post/84618739102/why-alligator-zone-why-tampa-bay-area


This particular session of AlligatorZone will feature area-entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, who will present their offerings to members of the public and engage them in conversations for direct feedback and suggestions.  The session will be steered by Librarian Liz Hickok, who kindly provided a tour of the library meeting room.


We discussed seating arrangements. The goal is to minimize or eliminate any perceived distance between the entrepreneur and the audience, so we have planned a layout and will choreograph it somewhat like a town-hall meeting.

Alligator Zone is open to all members of the public.  We know about entire families, including elementary school children who are into reality TV shows that feature entrepreneurs.  Our hope is that such families will take advantage of this town-hall meeting kind of event and gather with other entrepreneurial like-minded people to check out local startups.  Of course, rules that apply for story-time about being considerate to others would apply to the Alligator Zone session as well!


Storytime-rules will also apply to the family-friendly AlligatorZone sessions to be held at the Sunnyvale Public Library to provide as a public focus group to area entrepreneurs.

The Sunnyvale Public Library serves close to 100,000 members of the community.  Sunnyvale, being in the Silicon Valley has a heavy concentration of startups.  Feelers put out to startups have been met with enthusiastic responses.  If you are interested in presenting at AlligatorZone, please send an email to events [at] siliconglades [dot] com with a one-line summary of your product or offering.

Sunnyvale Public Library’s Patent, Business, and Finance Librarian, Liz Hickok (bio) has kindly offered to facilitate the first session of Alligator Zone at the library.


Sunnyvale Public Library’s Patent, Business, and Finance Librarian Liz Hickok, who has kindly offered to facilitate the AlligatorZone session, pointed to us during our tour of the facility, a crowded push-pin map of the world, marking countries from which patrons of the library hail.

For the debut session of Alligator Zone at Sunnyvale Public Library, the featured startups include:


If you are in Sunnyvale, California, we hope to see you at AlligatorZone.  AlligatorZone is currently scheduled in Tampa Bay Area and Sunnyvale in the Bay Area.  For a running schedule of other AlligatorZone sessions, please visit (and bookmark) AlligatorZone.eventbrite.com.  If you are an entrepreneur and wish to present your startup at AlligatorZone, please send an email to events [at] siliconglades [ dot ] com with a one-line description of your startup.

Why Alligator Zone, Why Tampa Bay Area

May 3, 2014


Tampa Bay Area is going through several small seismic shifts in its entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The energy is unmistakable, and especially apparent to visitors such as Kanwal Rekhi of TiE Silicon Valley (seen in the video below talking to Alexis Muellner, Editor of Tampa Bay Business Journal).

While we at SiliconGlades have been rolling out disparate free initiatives, the underlying theme has been the celebration of entrepreneurship with mindfulness. With AlligatorZone, we are finally starting to see some dots that we will be able to connect to form a template for creating an elegant tapestry of economic development that can be taken to small-town America, and small-town world.

I was recently at a Great American Teach-in session in an elementary school talking about entrepreneurship, and I paused before I mentioned the word ‘angel investors’. I asked the class teacher for help because I did not know how to explain ‘investor’ to a class of 4th graders. She asked, “How many of you watch Shark Tank on TV”, and several hands went up. That is when I believe, the idea of a more community-oriented and upbeat program got germinated. The program ought to be a gathering place for the community as well. Kids and families routinely feel sympathetic towards the tearful entrepreneurs shown on reality TV. They routinely think of new uses of a product being showcased. The kids seem to invariably get excited about every new entrepreneur walking in front of the panel, especially kid entrepreneurs and mompreneurs. Kids are often incorrigible makers, even in modern times, so their excitement about new products is not surprising.

Why the name Alligator Zone? It’s Florida, it’s well-known for the Everglades region, and just as the prospect of a lurking alligator in one’s backyard can keep people up at night, every startup entrepreneur faces unknown dangers (metaphorical alligators) that keep them up at night. Alligator Zone is a non-judgmental public forum where an entrepreneur can show her or his offerings to the general public and seek opinions. They can poll the audience on their pain points, pricing models and delivery mechanisms. The startup founder can ask the audience questions about features, must-haves and nice-to-haves.

The library seemed to be the perfect location to take this program. The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has already been working closely with the community for the CoderDojo Tampa Bay Area program. It was obviously the first choice when we approached them for supporting AlligatorZone for a venue and promotion. Here’s a link to the official library poster: http://tinyurl.com/lh34fu8 HCPLC has moved on this as fast as any tech startup, and we are indeed proud to be working with them on Alligator Zone. Please sign up and be a part of a highly energetic audience at Alligator Zone.

Ask your friends, family, neighbors and school friends to come out and meet area-entrepreneurs and help them out with feedback and suggestions. With Alligator Zone, our hope is that we will be adding yet another blip on the radar screen of the world that is keenly watching for new booming economies. Follow the program on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AlligatorZone

This post was written by one of our volunteers from SiliconGlades. The twitter handle is @SiliconGlades and the website is www.siliconglades.com where other community initiatives are listed for your reading pleasure.