Too Many Poops, a neat game about cats.

This Kickstarter campaign by Miguel Martinez is already 10x its goal with 17 days remaining. Miguel and I collaborated on GlanceBox, the now-defunct tinder-for-dresses startup, a few years back. This new project is clearly on a better track! Check it out if you like cats, card games, or supporting Chicago entrepreneurs. learn more

ReturnRunners lets people outsource ecommerce returns.

The inevitable returns process is one of my least favorite aspects of online shopping. This Chicago startup lets consumers hire them to deal with the logistics of sending back unwanted products. Amazon does a nice job of easy returns, and yet I still find myself dreading the process. At the same time, I have a mental roadblock against paying $10 to someone else to take care of it for me. What do you think? learn more

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago

Author: Gary Krist

If you’re not interested in Chicago history, skip this book.

For those of you still with me, there’s a lot to learn from this story.

The author sheds light on a short period of time in 1919 when a lot of things happened. I knew about none of them before reading.

Here’s some highlights:

  • A hydrogen blimp exploded over downtown, crashing into one of the largest banks in the city and killing and injuring a many people.
  • A little girl is reported missing, leading to a city-wide search and the arrest of a very suspicious suspect. Also the rest of the city’s parents start paying close attention to adults who hang around children.
  • And probably most important – a week of race riots turn the city into a war zone. The mayor delays calling in the state militia for way too long. The governor avoids sending them in directly for political reasons. It’s bad.

If you’ve made it this far you may want to pick this one up.

View on Amazon

August Capital has collapsed.

They are one of the few Silicon Valley VCs that have been super active in Chicago, so this is especially sad. “…August Capital held its annual holiday dinner on Thursday, December 6. The mood was festive, not only because of the season, but also because August had recently held a first close on its eighth fund after an unusually arduous process. Four days later, the firm effectively imploded.” | learn more