I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post covers the last month and other lessons from my journey and what I have learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.
Wow, is it April already? What just happened to the new year? The first quarter of 2019 and my Founders Live world tour has flown by like the roadsign we just past driving on this lonely Texas highway on our way to Dallas. (Yes I am writing this on the tour bus.)
For those following along, I’ve been traversing the west coast of the US throughout the first few months of this year building Founders Live along the way. In January, I spent most of the month in Boise Idaho. February I found myself up and down the California coast, visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. In between these visits, I flew back up to Seattle for meetings and to host our Founders Live Seattle events. The first quarter of 2019 has flown by like a fun Friday night.
Alas, on March 1st I left Seattle for the rest of the year! That day was both exciting and sad, as I won’t see the many friends and family I care about for many, many months.
Our first leg of the trip was driving through Utah and Arizona for our first tour stop in Phoenix. It started with a bang! Raleigh picked me up at the airport in Las Vegas and we hit the road. We are now cruising through the western US in a tour bus! I’ll be touring the Western US for the months of March, April, May and June in this bad boy below call VanGough. It has wifi, a work station, table, chairs, sleeping quarters, a sink, and bathroom. We might paint it something other than the bus yellow! Read more about Utah and Arizona here.
Being on the bus and spending time with Raleigh feels like an angel was placed in my life just at the perfect time to help transition me to a better place and into a better person. Raleigh, being 9 years my junior, has somehow gained an understanding of the world many people don’t ever achieve. He see’s the beauty in nature, keenly observes people and his surroundings, and shares a world view of peaceful hospitality. He’s an incredible human being, and his many nuggets of wisdom have helped me rethink and reshape myself during this intense transition period. Agradecido por siempre mi Amigo.
Immediate Lessons from Raleigh and Touring on VanGough:
- Open your mind to what is possible, most are stuck in their narrow-minded ways
- Anything is possible. You just need to break it down to manageable pieces
- Most people are stuck in their boring day to day lives, and don’t budge
- They are waking up the same each day, taking the same route to work, doing the same things each day.
- They don’t give enough energy in seeing what else is out there, there are many other cities, places and people to experience in the world. Luck comes to those who are willing to risk the good for the great
- Working remote is not only possible, it’s fairly easy once you figure it out
- It’s far easier than you think to work remote. Think differently!
- A major addition was wifi, so we can work as we travel. Even when the bus is rolling down the road (as I am doing at this moment!) you can work
- Pay attention to the little details of the world
- This road trip has taught me to see through the fog and pay attention to details
- Where to park, where to walk, what time is sunset, what time is sunrise, what’s the temp, where to take a shower, where to get food, where’s the next beautiful national park, look at the flowers, who is around you, why are they there, etc.. just be mindful and pay attention to what’s around you!
- When traveling, understand the motives of others and be skeptical at first
- Taking into account who is around you, why are they there, etc..
- This is something that I don’t do naturally, and I generally take people at their word and trust them quickly
- Live in the moment – right now – that’s it! Everything will fall into place.
- You can create a story for yourself that others perpetuate and that grows organically. Who are you and what are you all about?
Utah and Arizona
We spent the first few days traveling from Vegas to Phoenix, touring around Utah and Arizona national parks. I can tell you I have not seen anything like the formations and parks you find in the southwest, and they are beautiful.
The first night we stayed in Zion National Park and hiked Angels Landing, which is a quick but steep hike to the top of a lookout point a few thousand feet up (and drop off below). The hike was great, but quite busy at the top. Then we hit Bryce Canyon. Damn.
The Founders Live Phoenix event was included in the larger Phoenix Startup Week, and had a tremendous turnout. We had more than 150 people in attendance and the energy was palpable, I see a growing future for Founders Live in Pheonix for sure. Congrats to Stephanie Schull and Kegelbell for winning the latest Founders Live Phoenix event. Kegelbell – Most women suffer the symptoms of weak pelvic muscles, diapers-surgery-pills are among the dangerous and ineffective solutions offered, until now, Kegelbell is the most powerful kegel exercise weight set on the market and it works to accelerate results with less work for busy women; this is real women’s health, finally.
The next city was Austin, but first we had to drive 1,000 miles from Phoenix to Austin. We continued our journey from Phoenix to Austin by stopping in Big Bend National Park, hiking to The Window and taking in the sunset over a quick beer and bite.
Our time in Austin was incredibly fun. We pulled into Austin on Sunday, March 10th and drove to my friend Zach’s place, an empty house in which he is renovating so it’s deadly silent but he offered, so I accepted. I slept on an inflatable mattress in an empty house! We parked the bus outside his house, probably to the dismay of his neighbors. Thanks for the hospitality, Zach. And the introduction to an amazing person!
During the first few weeks of the month of March Austin is taken over by a large festival and conference called South By South West (SXSW). Fifty to one hundred thousand people come into the city and crowd the streets with concerts, talks, panel discussions, and all out partying. It’s a force. This was my first SXSW so I was a bit overwhelmed with the volume of people and things going on. It did not disappoint to say the least. There’s too much going on each day to even keep it all straight. The best way to go about it is to make plans for one or two big things in the day and then be flexible and open to new things sprinkled in around those plans.
I attended the Black Girl Ventures pitch competition. Many beautiful and diverse women with great ideas and lots of ambition. That’s what we want to see more of all over the world! I connected with their Founder Shelly Bell and we’re excited to work together on female founder initiatives over the next year.
I caught an opportunity to see actress and entrepreneur Zoe Saldana talk about her new venture BESE as well as the culture of LatinX.
BESE is a new media platform that represents communities that have been left out of mainstream discourse for too long. Our mission is to broaden and reshape popular narratives by celebrating the untold stories of today’s changing America. We respect all identities and admire the people who have the courage to say, “this is who I am.”
Founders Live is interested to work with BESE and further enhance the LatinX communities around the world. More to come here!
The Founders Live Austin event was Thursday, March 14th at The Riveter, which is a newly opened cowering community space in Austin. The event went very well, the crowd was good and the energy in the room was solid. I seem to say this each time but the aura around the company seems to build with each month and each event. Founders Live, I can’t quit you even if I tried!
Congrats to Elyse Vardii and iWinsome for winning the Founders Live Austin event. She is building the CRM for the gig economy, and nailed her pitch that night. Elyce was so impressed with the Founders Live experience she quickly reached out to me after the Austin event inquiring about starting Founders Live in Houston. We’ve since spoken about it and are now planning the launch into Houston. Elyce, you will do great as a Founders Live City Leader!
Each and every event we hold, people approach and ask if we have an event in a specific city, or if they can help Founders Live expand into a new region. Just in the last few weeks, the below cities are ready to launch or people have reached out to inquire about launching there soon.
Houston, San Antonio, Wash DC, Barcelona, Spain, Madrid, Spain, Gabarone, Botswana, Toronto, and Salta, Argentina.
All in all, we’ll launch another 10 or 15 cities this quarter to end June between 45-50 total Founders Live cities around the world! Not too shabby, eh!
The tour so far has exceeded my expectations. It has been fun, exciting, tiresome, challenging, party, drinks, beautiful people, great conversations, hikes, national parks, long bus rides, work, meetings, planes, and so much more. This is exactly what I needed and wanted. I needed to push myself. I needed to bend the rules of life. I needed to go to the edge. I feel like my life is transcending into a new phase and a new role in the world. It feels good.
I will not go back to what I was, which was a scared person, to be honest. I was scared of not screwing up. I was scared to go all the way to the edge. I was scared of my internal desires, which are at times strange and too ambitious to swallow. I was actually scared of success. I knew how people viewed me and my potential. How they talked about me and Founders Live. I just didn’t want to acknowledge it, because deep down I knew once acknowledged it required me to change who I was and what I was doing. That clearly meant letting go of some things and people I loved, because the life I was looking to live (and the one that I am now living) was incongruent with the current agreement and life we had formed together during those years. It had to happen. Once I overcame the fear of the unknown and acknowledged a better life and greater trajectory was waiting for me on the other side, all I had to do was simply accept it and step into this new world.
We’re now off to Dallas! If you know anyone in the Dallas/FortWorth area I should connect with, please let me know!
There are way too many to post here, but here are a few more pics:
Rocking out on the bus!
Peace Pheonix, you were great to us!
Private plane – it’s to only way to fly to Vegas with your friends for March Madness. This was a nice “vacation” from my world tour.
Just a day in the office in Austin. There are so many outdoor cafes and bars to count. I love it.
Visiting Big Bend in Southern Texas.
Just a PSA to stay present.
Austin, you’re the best. But now onto the next one!