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The 'Great Outdoors' postcards

I made these postcards a little before Christmas to send to our mentors to say thanks for all their advice and encouragement over the past few months. We thought they would be good fun to share with everyone else too, and will hopefully provide a little inspiration for adventures in 2013!

What's more, if you email us at and tell us your postal address then we would absolutely love to send one to you via the good old English Royal Mail.

You can also download the original files here, so please feel free to give them a home as your desktop wallpaper or perhaps in a blog post or on Pinterest.

Delightful close-up of the Great Outdoors postcards, drool-worthy.

UPDATE - 15 Jan 2013

Big thanks to everyone, as we have had a great response to this postcard project so far. We are delighted to receive requests to send our Maptia postcards as far afield as Taiwan, Singapore, and Costa Rica! As promised they will arrive with you via the good old English Royal Mail...

Globetrotting, handwritten postcards. Sent all over the world.
We like to call this one 'CEO and the Postbox'.

Tribute to Atlas himself

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

The third ‘Ode to Maps’ inspirational bombshell comes from Mr. Alex Berger – a passionate explorer and self-professed virtual wayfarer. We heard a rumour that he uncovered this epic prose transcribed upon a stone tablet – a tribute to Atlas himself – in the depths of a crumbling Roman temple.

Alex Berger reminding us that maps are the foundations of adventure. A typographic success.

All we know is that these map quotes make us want to go exploring for ourselves! We are honoured to display them here on our blog.

Thanks for the quote Alex – any other map-lovers reading this with a perspective to share, please don’t be shy – send yours to

The TBEX 2012 Conference Experience

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

From champagne and cookies in a gondola at 11,444 feet (that’s 3,488 m for us Brits) to the wild array of tantalising travel stories floating around the conference halls – the TBEX 2012 conference was absolutely worth the trip all the way from Santiago, Chile.

3 days, 22 talks, hundreds of awesome bloggers, and 1 beautiful location. The ‘Travel Bloggers Exchange’ (TBEX) Conference is a gathering of travel bloggers from across the US, plus a few from further afield like us, who come to network and learn. Luckily the exchanging of business cards was made more intriguing as bloggers have a penchant for featuring quirky graphics or photos of themselves in some far-flung place. Our special business cards – ‘invitations’ – to become a Maptia Pioneer went down a treat.

Ukulele jamming with the bloggers, an endless supply of delicious cupcakes, chocolate hamburgers, and an open bar at the Travel Massive event – we were well set up to have a fantastic weekend. Working incredibly hard to get our Pioneers' landing page live up before we arrived was definitely worth it.

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Be an Unstoppable Force of Nature

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Today’s late night inspiration is the second in our mini poster series from Brad Feld’s book – calling all entrepreneurs to get fired up reading FakeGrimLock’s rousing poetry! Brad Feld wrote that we should be ‘tenacious and oblivious’ in pursing our dreams and on our journey towards building something great. He goes on to say that these things are required to make the giant leap from 99% to 100%. As Margaret Mead said,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
Fakegrimlock; burning matters. Typographic mash-up that reminds up that 'fail is fuel'.

Start-ups have the opportunity to change the world and some of the entrepreneurs that inspire us most are like unstoppable forces of nature. The TechStars mentor T.A. McCann shared similar passion and drive with us earlier this week at TS4AD.

I will outlast my competitors. When everyone else has gone home, I will do another lap around the track… Ask yourselves why are you here. That will drive your passion, that will drive your excitement.
— T.A. McCann

'Here Be Dragons' Map Poster

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Presenting the second mini poster in our ‘Ode to Maps’ campaign. Another map lover Tony Hoffmann picks up on the evocative phrase ‘here be dragons’ – used in medieval times to mark unexplored territories and where mapmakers drew sea serpents, dragons, and other mythological beasts.

We rather like the idea of these curious creatures caught in time, forever immortalised on beautiful old maps – figments of people’s imaginations – yet at the time, no doubt powerful deterrents and makers of exciting adventures.

Thanks for the quote Tony! Keep them coming everyone else – yours could be transformed next.

Earth-moving quote from Tony Hoffmann, cartographic/typographic overlays.

'Showing Up' at TechStars for a Day

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Raining lightly and rather grey as we arrived into Seattle, it felt like home. The English climate is far more akin to Seattle than to arid Santiago. The Space Tower was bobbing UFO-like along the misty skyline.

Here I will briefly recount the awesome time we had at TechStars for a Day (TS4AD) in Seattle. Coming 10,344 km from Chile was absolutely worth it. Whether we make the final final cut or not, it doesn’t matter. The advice, feedback and encouragement we have been lucky enough to gain here in the last few days have already moved on our thinking and planning in certain key ways. We are racking up a debt of Karma!

The TechStars mantra – Do More Faster – doesn’t quite capture what we want want to do right now. We want to do more at lightening speed. Special thanks to Andy and Kayla and everyone else here for making us feel like part of the extended family and like cousins visiting from afar…

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Nerves and Excitement in Seattle

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Today Jonny and I are crossing back into the Northern Hemisphere for the first time in 5 months to fly to Seattle! We are heading to the ‘TechStars For A Day’ event and are thrilled to be invited. Being a pretty early-stage startup we sadly couldn’t squirrel enough together quite enough to fly all four of us halfway up the world, but Jonny and I will be proudly flying the Maptia flag in Seattle, on our way to the TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference in Colorado a little later in June.

Whether or not we are ultimately successful in becoming a part of TechStars Seattle, we have already learned so much about ourselves and about our company through the application process and met some awesome people along the way. No doubt the event on Wednesday will be a hot-bed of serendipitous encounters. Nerves and excitement are brewing…

Instagram of Maptia team, Hola Seattle.

Thanks to everyone in Start Up Chile whose combined ingenuity and out-of-the-box advice helped us to find an awesome loophole in the American Airlines flight change system! Whoever said being resourceful was one of the core attributes for a start-up to succeed hit the nail on the head.

Hola Seattle!

Be On Fire Entrepreneur

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Recently enjoying reading Brad Feld’s book ‘The Burning Entrepreneur’ on one of our forays into the literary side of the start-up world, we were particularly fired up by the short poems written by FakeGrimLock. We liked them so much that we decided to make a couple of mini posters – this is the first.

On fire quote from Fakegrimlock; read Burning Entrepreneur by Brad Feld. 

Whether it is setting yourself on fire, standing too close to the cliff edge, or leaping into a precipice, we agree that being part of a start-up is all about pushing yourself far beyond the limits of your comfort zone. Comfort zone doesn’t even usually come into the equation for us. No MBAs, no time in one of those big-shot companies, no previous time in another start-up under our belts – we leapt right into the middle of the metaphorical Start-Up Ocean. Not a life-jacket in sight. Luckily for us, mentors and those more experienced are always willing to chip in with raft building tips…

Constantly using our inexperience to drive ourselves onwards – to set ourselves on fire – happens every day. One of my favourite tales my grandfather used to tell me when I was little was about the mouse who fell into the cream and then avoided a rather sad demise by kicking so hard that he churned it into butter.

Our Curious Philosophies

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

We have just added a new page with some photos taken over the last few years on our adventures around the globe. Each photo has been transformed into a postcard with a short quote or saying that means something important to us, and we hope to you also. These are the things we live for and that we constantly strive to stand by. We call them ‘Maptia’s Curious Philosophies’.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing a new postcard every day and will also be inviting some awesome travel photographers and bloggers to contribute a few shots to the selection. We hope you enjoy perusing these postcards as much as we enjoyed making them. Here is one of them - the photo was taken on our travels in Torres del Paine in Patagonia last year.

A hazy rainbow landscape for the maptia curious philosophies.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the series. However, be warned, you may find they have an unfortunate side-effect… We are currently trying to resist the urge to rush out of the door, backpacks in hand, and set off to explore the globe. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself heading off on a spontaneous adventure.

The Vivek Wadhwa Effect

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

A week or so ago, Vivek Wadhwa descended on Start Up Chile with his energy and enthusiasm in full flux. Darting around CMI, our collaborative open-plan workspace, he talked and brainstormed with many of the participants…gems of wisdom dropping right, left and centre.

Dean, Jonny and I seemed to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time during these few days and more than once got delightfully entangled in the vortex of Vivek’s buzzing ideas and spitfire collaborations. You can see in the video to the right that even the ‘Travel & Tourism Tribe’ we lead at Start Up Chile was infiltrated…

Two years ago the Chilean government sent for Vivek to come and, they hoped, write a glowing review of their ambitious and expensive effort to become an IT outsourcing hub. Of course Vivek – being Vivek – turned things upside down, and ended up declaring that the venture to become a hub like this was currently impossible for Chile. Too much of a focus on infrastructure and too little investment in the human capital networks was the verdict – fancy tech parks and government-sponsored clusters were not the answer he argued.

So, along with Nicolas Shea, an adviser to the Chilean Ministry of Economy, Vivek proceeded to conceive the radical experiment which is Start Up Chile. By importing foreign entrepreneurs, they would boost a fundamental change in the cultural ecosystem and turn Chile into a Silicon Valley-esque entrepreneurial and innovation magnet.

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Vanesa from 500Startups on funding

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Poised and beautifully dressed, Vanesa arrived half an hour late to greet a small group of girls and women from Start Up Chile and the local entrepreneurial community. Nobody minded at all as she had unfortunately been locked inside her apartment that morning and liberation had been a little slow to arrive.

Vanesa Kolodziej is a mentor at 500 Startups, a three-time veteran in the business of start-ups, curator of the StartUpDigest for Buenos Aires, and has her finger on the pulse of investments and venture capital here in Latin America. Vanesa is currently in the process of launching Nazca Ventures – a seed venture capital firm based in Buenos Aires, focused on nurturing LatAm-based start-ups into flourishing regional companies.

Loyal to Maptia and to me, Jonny and Dean were the token guys in the room – dragging themselves out of bed at 7am to come along too. This turned out to be a great decision, and not only because of the epic English breakfasts they served at Cafe Melba. Organised by Girls in Tech Santiago, it was a fascinating and informative meet-up – we all learnt a great deal about navigating the rarified waters of investment and venture finance.

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Authoring our World with Beautiful Maps

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Man has been making maps since the dawn of time. In the dusty foothills and wide open prairies, nomads and settlers alike scratched temporary annotations onto the ground at their feet and carved symbols onto rocks. This mapping reflex is part of our cultural mindset. We are wired to visualise the world around us, to orientate ourselves and our companions, and to share these perspectives with society. As a race, we have a compulsion to map and chart our place in the universe.

In the last few years map-making on the web has exploded. Now every time something happens, someone makes a map about it.

Citizen cartography ranges from the bizarre to the powerful and life-changing. From a map which shows the distribution of Zombies in the world to the timely collaboration of thousands of users to populate OpenStreetMap with layer upon layer of data for Port-au-Prince in the aftermath of the earthquake, so rescue workers could use real-time data uploads to improve and target their response. While in Nairobi, Kenya, a UK-based team of citizen cartographers have been working with locals to map Kiberia, a previously uncharted slum.

With this democratisation of digital mapping, and the progression from static to live maps, the stage has been set for the next great leap in the evolution of mapping. The advent of low cost technologies and online collaboration mean that we are now representing reality in a more faithful way.

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Be Addictive, Get Lucky

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Wednesday night Start Up Chile organised a meetup led by Oskar Hjertonsson – the CEO of Groupon Latin America.

A lanky swede in flip flops, Oskar was charismatic and incredibly open. Despite the fact he couldn’t talk about Groupon or even be photographed with the company’s logo behind him, he shared a wealth of wisdom and a very personal story.

About five years ago, Oskar arrived in Santiago with the insane notion of starting a global tech company from nothing, but a few thousand dollars in the bank. Back then, he said that being an entrepreneur in Chile was unheard of. No support, no networks, no investors, even the users had to be educated into a new way of thinking. When they finally got a little investment from Chileans, they practically became national celebrities.

Emphasising that the road to where he was right now had been extremely painful, Oskar recounted times when he was “literally crying” because he felt as if all the time and effort had been wasted, that it had all come to nothing, and no investor would ever be interested. That they would have to give up. There were times when he was living in an abandoned office in Santiago, with no kitchen, no hot water, and no fridge. He told us of one particularly low-point when he started reading job ads for sales back home in Sweden.

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The Start Up Chile Program

By Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder at Maptia Comments

Relentlessly driving his country and economy towards a ‘developed’ nation status, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera says that while his country may have arrived late to the industrial revolution, it certainly won’t miss out on the information revolution.

With the accelerator program Start Up Chile his government have taken a bold approach. Busting through bureaucratic red tape and giving the go-ahead for officials to get stamp-happy when granting 1-year work visas, Start Up Chile dangles a $40k subsidy as bait. The program seeks to attract early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs who will grow their companies in Chile for at least six months, using Start Up Chile as a launching platform for their globally minded businesses. Its end goal is to lead the country on a path to becoming the definitive innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. Only a year and a half since its inception, and the program is reeling in smart, passionate entrepreneurs faster than you can say Patagonian trout.

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