May The Schwartz Be With You: Eric’s Top Stories of the Summer

Xconomy Seattle — 

Thirteen weeks, 123 stories, and about a million cups of Starbucks’ finest later, my internship at Xconomy in Seattle is over. But as a parting gift, I am going to share some of my favorite articles from the summer here. I hope you enjoy reading them (and my other articles) as much as I enjoyed writing them.

—One of the most memorable opportunities I had was to test-drive not one, but two alternative energy vehicles. In June, I test-drove a hydrogen-powered SUV from Fort Lewis to Seattle, a trip made even more interesting because it was a GM vehicle and took place the day GM declared bankruptcy. Just a few weeks ago, I borrowed a modified hybrid electric car for a few days and got to see what it’s like to treat a car like any other electric appliance at the end of the day. Bottom line: both cars are perfectly satisfactory vehicles; the real issues are, how much does it really help the environment to drive one, and does it ultimately save the driver money?

—Concerns about the economy pervaded everything this summer, but I managed to write about some potential bright spots in the current financial gloom. There are alternatives to using dollars, especially here in the Northwest, and the recession gives companies like Dibspace a boost in demonstrating those alternatives. Whether or not the economy is in recovery, it’s nice to know there’s an easy way to exchange goods and services without needing cash.

—No matter how bad the economy gets, people always want entertainment, and covering Casual Connect, the casual video games expo last month, showed me that there’s more demand than ever for games. Venture capitalists are not blind to the trend, even if some think the best video game business model comes straight out of Dante’s Inferno. For gamers looking for a slightly more refined way to play, you can’t go far wrong with Her Interactive, makers of the Nancy Drew computer game series whose capture of the elusive girl gamer market led me to profile the company in June.

—But no story sums up the summer for me better than the dancing, singing, experimenting high school students at the Student BioExpo in May—one of the first stories I wrote, and a great experience all around. Perhaps the best thing I can take away from my time at Xconomy is the advice Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi gave: “Always dream big.”