Here’s an overview of the last month on the road for the Founders Live World Tour. Throughout February I traveled throughout California, with stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Below are the highlights and what’s up next. (Read my tour announcement post here for more context of this trip.)
TLDR – Regardless of some ‘interesting’ weather, California was great, at times majestic. Next stops are Phoenix and Austin. Know anyone I should meet?
I landed in LA to down-pour rain. Geez, I thought. Here I was creating a world tour and thinking I’d head down to Southern Cal to get warm and sunshine. Nope. Wind and rain. For days on end!
I stayed with our previous LA city leader Lucas Capestany in Playa Vista area, close to LAX and Santa Monica, along with his friends and startup cofounders. I was taken back to college memories and the “scrappy startup” living experience. Setting out on this tour I intended to see what entrepreneurship looks like in many different cities and countries. Mission accomplished here. Lucas and his team are dedicated and will do just fine. Thanks Lucas!
My favorite part of this leg of the trip was how close the beach was and being able to go on a nice run every other morning. It’s so refreshing to run on the beach – it’s a zen thing for me – and one morning I even got up before the sun and ran out there to see the sunrise. It was breathtaking. I had one of those (they are more common now) moments of “man, can you believe this? It feels so right and so perfect right now. Hang on to this feeling.”
I enjoyed working in Venice a few days out of the week, camping out at Tom’s Shoes store which has a coffee shop in it and a back patio where you can chill and work. I met a few new contacts in the LA area, which as enjoyable and educational. Another enjoyable aspect of the trip has been the numerous introductions from you all! Keep them coming, please! The relationships which have started just from these early trip introductions will be long and meaningful.
The Founders Live Long Beach event went very well and I have a feeling it’s going to grow into something quite larger in the community. The winner was Nicolette – Nicolette is a health tech company that empowers patients with visual data, curated education, and engagement tools. Great pitches all around and the FL Long Beach city leader Josh Rencher did very well, We even made it into the local newspaper, which has already resulted in a few new opportunities in Long Beach.
I flew to SF on 2/11, and stayed a few nights in the Hayes Valley area of SF (thanks Brek Goin, Founder of Hammr) and then a few nights in Oakland (thanks Amanda Townsend). It was fun to see the different sides of the bay area, different cultures, and communities. Yes, the bay area has its issues, but by and large, it was fun to be in the tech epicenter for even a short time.
Another event in a new city, yet the same response. It’s fascinating to me how impactful and inspiring Founders Live really is to a local entrepreneurial community. Maybe I am so close to it I don’t see it anymore but the Founders Live event really does have a meaningful impact on people. I love to just sit back and observe people at our events, the looks on their faces, and how much they are inspired to go do great things in the world.
Thanks to our partnership with Google Cloud we held the event at Google Developers Launchpad in the SOMA area of downtown SF. The winner was RWB Canine RWB Canine Inc. – Advanced Canine Wearable w/ Real-Time Physiology for Pet Lovers, DHS and DOD. Pretty cool stuff! Founders Live SF city leader Stone Strickland has done an excellent job of getting Founders Live up and running in the city. We had a strong crowd and based on the response I can only see an upward trajectory in SF.
Something struck me in Oakland after I had a few lunch meetings with two people who I had just met during the week. The conversations were magical and inspiring, where both people left totally energized and almost floating. When I left the restaurant I walked around the lake in Oakland and was left awestruck with what is transpiring in front of me in my life and business. Most of it I cannot explain, but simply follow what is pulling me in the direction of growth and leadership. I think the best thing about it is seeing how people are impacted and changed when they pitch at Founders Live. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
Being on tour has taught me to just live in the moment and take it all in. When on the road, you are perpetually in motion and navigating new and uncomfortable circumstances. There’s no zeroing out, level setting or ‘resetting and recharging’ by chilling on your coach or going back to your 9-5 job during weekdays. On tour, you’re always on. This IS your 9-5, but more accurately your 24/7. It’s constantly moving and the best thing to do is always be present, be in the moment, to take it all in. Something strange and unique set in that day in Oakland – that of which I have a hard time putting into words but the best ones seem to be FLOW, BLISS, GIFT, and ENERGY. I hope there are many more days of revelation like that one in my future.
I stayed with my extended family for a few days when I arrived in San Diego, so I decided to “be on vacation” for 2 days. Monday we went to the Carlsbad beach, walked and had a late brunch and cruised around for a bit. Such a beautiful area. Tuesday I ran on the beach, went down to Encinitas and worked a few hours at a cafe. Trying to not work on this trip is difficult. Partly because we have momentum and you always want to keep it going and not lose any of your edge, but also I hate email build up and aim to stay inbox zero. It’s not easy as the volume is now increasing. I am working to fight the natural urge to always be working. It’s a work in progress!
We had a small launch party for the Founders Live SD event on Thursday 2/21. It was supposed to be at a cool outdoor venue but the weather was terrible on Wed and Thursday of that week. Stormy and rain/hail. Of course… So we had it at a local establishment called Bootlegger. It was a good turnout for being relocated at the last minute. That’s okay, Founders Live SD will flourish in the near term and I have full confidence our city leader Alex Resnick will run a great show.
I finished off the California trip staying with a good friend in Pacific Beach / La Jolla. We hung out Saturday on the beach, played volleyball, went to a few popular spots in Pacific Beach and then out to downtown San Diego. Pacific/Mission Beach is the place to be down in SD. Needless to say, I would have difficulty getting work done in the area, but I feel a strong kinship with the city due to its SoCal laid back vibe. In a parallel universe, it’s my home.
I flew back to Seattle for a quick stop to see friends and host our event on Thursday 2/28. Another week, another big event and back in the spotlight. The event was unforgettable, about 300 people in attendance and doubled as a send-off party for me and this trip – I won’t be back in Seattle until 2020 at the earliest. Equal parts sad and exciting, the last FL Seattle night went off without a hitch. This month’s winner was Melissa Strawn and MyPeopleNow – Do What You Love. Let Others Help You With The Rest. I am so proud of Melissa, she has worked very hard and come along way over the last 6 months. She is another example of how anything is possible for anyone out there if they want it bad enough.
Up next I head to Phoenix (3/5 – 3/9) and Austin (3/11 – 3/30). We’ll arrive in Phoenix for Phoenix Startup Week and the Founders Live Phoenix event is Thursday evening, at The Foundre Hotel. The next week we’ll be in Austin for SXSW and our event which takes place on Thursday 3/14.
WHO SHOULD I CONNECT WITH IN THESE CITIES?
To say I am excited about these next few months is an understatement. This tour has been one of the best things to happen in my life, and we’re only 2 months into the year-long adventure. Lessons – Don’t let anyone dictate what you can or cannot do in life. Don’t take no for an answer if you feel what you are doing is good for the world. Don’t doubt yourself, you have much more capability and adaptability than you think. You have everything it takes to be great, sometimes it’s so deep down inside your soul you just haven’t discovered it yet. All you need to do is figure out how to go deep enough to tap into it.
See you on the trails.