I Design New Products.

Gourmet, Nutritionally-Specialized Meals

Dine to Thrive gave individuals at high risk for, or fighting, cancer access to convenient, gourmet, frozen meals designed based on scientific evidence. I launched Dine to Thrive in 2006 and designed the meals with a top dietitian and a gourmet chef. Our meals were highly-reviewed by healthcare professionals, industry experts, and our customers. When we closed in 2008 we were developing meals for individuals with chronic kidney disease.

a photo of delicious fish and vegetables, with a corporate logo

Enterprise Web Applications

I have designed Web applications to help salespeople pitch, non-profits manage their stakeholders, and students attend college. A recent client had a successful business, but needed a new product to drive top- and bottom-line growth. I collaborated with their sales and engineering teams, and conducted customer research, to design a product that met new needs, could be sold easily, and was profitable from the moment it was deployed.

a diagram with arrows and symbols of a server application's work path

I Launch New Businesses.

Project: Liftoff

Project: Liftoff is all about launching new businesses. More than just a consulting company, Project: Liftoff offers tools that individuals can use to get their businesses going, with or without an outside consultant. Using my expertise and these tools, I’ve helped entrepreneurs launch companies and new products — everything from baked goods to beverages to clothing to umbrellas, including raising debt and equity financing to get to market.

a screenshot of a the Project: Liftoff web site, with copy describing business start-ups and photos of businesswomen

Presentations & Panels

The Valley Economic Development Center and USC are some of the places I’ve talked and taught about entrepreneurship. Whether it’s judging a business plan competition with other top consultants and angel investors; participating in a panel discussion on business financing & planning; teaching a class on how to start up your company; or helping people understand how to develop a product, I love to talk about starting up!

two presentations, one with many symbols along a path, the other with a lot of text

I Write a Lot.

Blog: Juniorbird.com

I’ve blogged regularly since 2003. Juniorbird is about the things that fascinate and annoy me, with a healthy dose of everyday life. Entries range from fairly complex discussions of business and politics to cooking to minutae that would only entertain you if you knew me. I also used to keep a blog about business here, at wadearmstrong.com.

a screenshot of a mostly gray web site with a few links and a long article about cooking squid, with a picture of squid on a cutting board

Twitter: @projectliftoff & @jrbird

Twitter's a great way to keep up on, and communicate about, professional topics. At @projectliftoff I tweet about product development, getting started, finding financing, and everyday work. Under @jrbird, I tweet about small daily events and links of interest. Generally events have something to do with food, Los Angeles, or mixed martial arts, in which I train; links tend to be about politics, economics, culture, or photography. Pretty much the stuff I spend my time thinking about! (Who’s Junior? He’s my parrot, who I’ve had for more than a decade now. Parrots like him live to 60, so he’ll probably be around a lot longer than the blog or Twitter named after him!)

a screenshot of my twitter feed, with my latest tweets, and my background of yellow industrial-looking stuff

I Like Shooting. The Kind With Cameras.

Smugmug: dSLR Photos

I’m one of those people who carry around a big camera and only seem to look at the world through its long lens. I keep photos of my travels, my friends, my family, and more at Smugmug, a great site for serious photographers. If you’re technically-minded, you can see my advance (or not) in style and skill over time, as I’ve learned and practiced more and more.

a photo of a stone ruin surmounted by a twisted old tree, with soft lighting

Flickr: Photos From My iPhone

Somebody once said that “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” and my iPhone is always with me. So I take a lot of snaps with it. I store these photos at Flickr, where it’s easy to look at a timeline of the shots you’ve taken. In theory, I’m trying to shoot a story about Los Angeles; in reality, I’m more often taken in by interesting patterns or shapes.

a screenshot of my flickr group of iphone photos, many small, square photos with artsy lighting, composition, and colors

And More...

I Love to Cook

I started Dine to Thrive partially because I’m allergic to some ingredients that are common in prepared food. On one hand, this really limits my life; on the other, it’s made me learn how to make a delicious meal, whether it’s a big gourmet Sunday afternoon production or a delicious evening meal in 45 minutes. My favorite cuisines are probably Southeast Asian, but I go around the world in my tastes.

garlic cooking in oil in a wok

I Think Getting Beat Up — That is, Martial Arts — is Fun

Everybody likes a different athletic endeavor; pursuing your passions is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to stay healthy. I’ve loved martial arts since I was little. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, once studied Jiu Jitsu under a Gracie (I’m no good, sadly!), and am currently taking Krav Maga classes. Krav is great exercise, self-defense, and good old-fashioned fun, so I go several times a week.

me, in my blue krav maga shirt and black mma grappling gloves that have padding on the knuckles but leave the fingertips free