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.
Summer is over. I’m not sure if you share the same opinion as me but Summer 2019 was the fastest summer on record! It was also my most fun.
In the month of August, my travels took me to Washington DC, Toronto and Seattle where I reached the 23,000+ milestone and was able to both see new cities and visit Seattle fir a few weeks. You can read about my July experiences here. where I visited Boston and the Northeast.
I took the MegaBus from NYC to DC and arrived on August 3rd in our nations Capital. Riding the bus from city to city is nice, and just being able to write and think on the bus is sometimes better because it gives more time for actual work. A flight between NYC and DC is almost too short when I want to actually get some writing done!
(I write most of these monthly overview posts on the travels between cities. It’s a nice way to close out my stay in one city and get prepared and ready for the next one. Apologies for taking so long to get this one out!)
I stayed in the Capitol Heights area in Maryland, right outside of DC and right across the border. It was a nice area but again not many coffee shops and neighborhood restaurants which was a bit of a bummer. I am noticing my privilege more and more as I travel on the road. To be blunt, I stayed in an area where I was the minority – which was uncomfortable and I had to ask myself why. Quite honestly I am starting to get it now. As you can see, part of this tour is really about getting out of my comfort zone and seeing how other parts of the country/world live and operate. I now understand how much Privilege plays in our day to day lives. Not going too deep into this at this moment, but rest assured this white male from Washington is starting to see things in many different shades, and looking to do some things about it. And that is good for all of us in Founders Live.
We had our Founders Live DC event Aug 8th at Google DC offices. It was a great event, lots of energy and a really awesome setup a Google. We thank Google Cloud for Startups for their continued support of Founders Live around the world. Organized Q won the event that night, with a really engaging pitch about how they empower military spouses to earn a living working remotely. They are a Virtual Executive Assistant Services startup led by Gabi Bell, I’d recommend checking them out if you need assistant services. She did great! Also, shoutout to our city leader Joy Langly who is leading the charge in DC. She’s doing a great job as well and will only grow and flourish in this position.
Obviously finding myself in Washington DC for a few weeks I wanted to get out and do some sightseeing, to check out the monuments and all the history of the city.
I hit the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, the Whitehouse, and many other statues and memorials. I also spent an evening atop the Watergate hotel and it wasn’t lost on me the immense history that building gave our nation. Walking away from all these monuments and historical monuments should give us pause. They are there to remind us of greatness. To remind us of our nation’s Founders – those who believed in a better world and sacrificed their lives so you and I can stand here today (and complain about it!)
Standing in front of Abe Lincoln one thought kept circling in my mind. “What the hell would this guy think of today’s world? What would he say? I believe he’d be very pissed off and frustrated with today’s leaders.”
It was right then I looked Abe in his marble eyes and made a commitment to do better, to do my absolute best to bring value and inspiration in hopes for a better world. It’s the least I can do for this man.
There is quite a bit of entrepreneurship and innovation in the city, more than I imagined actually. It might be a bit lost with all the bureaucracy but all good stuff. I see so much potential in the nations capital to birth new innovative startups and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately I was only in the DC area for about 2 weeks so I didn’t get to see as much of the city and startup community as I wanted so I hope to get back there for more time in the nation’s capital soon!
Needing to head back to Seattle for the last part of August (here’s your geography lesson for today) I realized Toronto was in between DC and Seattle, and also realized we had an event in a few days, so I booked a last minute flight and swung through Toronto for a few days to catch our event at Google Canada headquarters and say hi to everyone. Quiklee won the event with a pitch about Fun Brain Games For Smarter Minds. Play unique games that test your cognitive skills, reflexes, problem solving abilities, general knowledge and much more. So cool.
It was a great crowd, great energy and fun times! Audee is doing such a good job of leading things up there in Toronto. He just needed an outlet to develop his leadership and we’re happy to give him the opportunity. Toronto is another beautiful city and my only regret was I could only be in the city for 2 days. I’ll be back for sure, eh!
After Toronto, I hit the skies and I took a well deserved trip back to Seattle for a few weeks to see friends, family, attend our event and enjoy a Labor Day holiday weekend with ol’ friends.
I spent My Birthday at my sister’s house with her kids. I have never been a big birthday guy. I don’t make a big deal about birthday’s because I feel that is a bit narcisistic and a bit self centered, just my opinion! Also, my life is semi-charmed and pretty much each week there’s a celebration in some way so I don’t need to make a big deal about my birthday. I actually enjoy the low key nature of the day – get a good run in, and have a good burger and beer with family. That’s all I need!
It was nice to be in Silverdale with my sister and her family, low key and chill. I got a few runs in…. hit some solid Washington hills! Felt good to run without the crazy humidity that feels like a heavy blanket draped over you as you try to run. It was also great to spend time with my Dad, who is dealing with terminal cancer. He seems to be doing better since he moved up to Seattle area from Idaho and has now gotten settled into his own place and a new life with one focus – Live.
We were able to have very good larger conversation about life and what he’s dealing with. It felt good to be able to talk with Dad about some challenging things in his life and talking about death, and what happens when that comes. Due to the fact that I haven’t had much death in my close circles, this is new to me and I’m just trying to navigate it properly. There’s no right answer but I am learning how as we go. All I ask is for another year or two with my Dad. I don’t think we’re done and I want him to see how far I go with all this – he is my biggest fan and I’d love to show him how far we’ll go with Founders Live, and to make sure we’re all good (as a family) for the future.
After a few day with family I settled into my own Airbnb for the week. I decided to get a solid one bedroom place for myself for the Seattle stay, I knew I’d want feel comfortable and settled back in Seattle – even for just a week in Seattle proper. I knew this would be more expensive. I found a spot in N. Seattle, right above Golden Gardens. It was perfect, a one bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a big old Seattle house overlooking the Puget Sound with a private deck all to myself to use. I definitely got my money’s worth and really appreciate the time I had back in Seattle!
We had the Founders Live Seattle event on August 22nd, and it felt really good to be back. It was a great event, at Thinkspace overlooking a marina on Lake Union. There was about 175-200 people in attendance and the energy in the room that night was solid. YourScript was the winner. Meet YouScript, Synthesizing all evidence impacting drug response to support the right decision at the point of care. Very interesting!
All the founders had really good pitches, none were buzzed for time (which is my big pet peeve if you didn’t know) and it felt good to be back in the city for a while, leading my hometown event. We went out to Art Marble 21 afterwards, with lots of my Seattle founder friends there to catch up with and talk about the tour. So good to see all of you!
Being back in Seattle was slightly tough as I had a massively busy schedule of meetings, calls, happy hours and hang outs. Being gone for months at a time makes coming back interesting – you see who wants to hang out, who misses you, who takes advantage of your time, and who doesn’t! I had back to back to back meetings in Seattle, very little open time at all to breathe or to just… Be. It’s a bit tough to squeeze in all the meetings, calls, coffees, happy hours and all the other things I want to get done when back at home. I had to tell many people no or I was busy… which was hard. It was a bit overwhelming, with things scheduled so close to each other. I must get used to this type of busy schedule and lots of meetings, because it ain’t going away! But the change I need to make is around scheduling, getting help, delegation of some of the tasks, and having assistants help me with these tasks. Time to level up!
Speaking of leveling up – our leadership and influence is growing. Not just in Seattle but all over the world. I hear it a lot now — ”I hear great things about Founders Live” and “you’re killin’ it” and “I love Founders Live” It can be a bit overwhelming and shocking. But this is the new reality. The honest truth is it’s not about me, it’s about all of us. We have done this. Our small team at Founders Live, our growing team of city leaders around the world, YOU as members of the greater Founders Live community and platform. We are achieving this. Please know I don’t take it for granted and I wake up everyday thankful to be surrounded with such awesome people, peers and parters.
I was able to get over to Eastern Washington to see my mother for a night before I went to Idaho for the Labor Day weekend, and then to N. Idaho to hang at a river house for the weekend. 4 nights. 5 days. Lots of hanging out, boating, wake boarding, chillin, swimming, and shuffle board! The house is on a River in Idaho, and very beautiful, so peaceful so was nice to get away and just chill with friends. It was nice to be away and off the grid for a few days before this next leg of the Tour.
I am personally growing on a rate I have never experienced before. Working with two different coaches/therapists is such a blessing, it puts me in a mental and spiritual zone of reflection and growth. The questions I am now asking and contemplating are pulling me into a whole new space, one I really enjoy yet am challenged to look in the mirror. As a leader of Founders, I’ll simply say having coaches and therapists in your life is part of the “secret” or the “shortcut” to success. Okay… there are no shortcuts to success and in fact it’s damn hard because the personal work is difficult and uncomfortable. But if you want to get to the next level you must get over yourself. This is what the people in my life help me do, I’d suggest you get the same.
We have a tremendous opportunity to take something which started quite shallow (a small monthly event in Seattle) and create something very very deep, an industry defining brand bring global opportunities to local pockets all around the world. The pieces are falling into place and due to the experience of being on the road and talking to hundreds – if not thousands – of our users (many who are entrepreneurs) it is starting to become clear what the world is looking for… No, Needing. Desiring. Demanding! Getting out on the road and talking face to face with our users, customers and partners has changed my vision and outlook of what is possible. There’s something about doing this – going the distance and going to THE PEOPLE – which impacts you as a founder much more than you imagine. The random pieces of your vision and the business click into place. Insights are experienced much more deeper level when you are out here and seeking the truth. Things start to make sense. I am continually grateful of this opportunity to tour the world and plan on incorporating it much more in my life going forward.
We’re now in Month 9 and it’s much more normal to be on the road than being in Seattle. I am currently in New York City for the month of September, which by the way is a beast of a city and tough as nails. More on that next month!
I feel an inflection point coming on heading into next quarter, going international is serious and will be difficult. It will be a big test. I must sink or swim. It’s up to you Nick. Time to make it happen, time to take things to the next level. Time to prove all the naysayers wrong. Time to make those investors in Seattle and beyond start thinking twice about passing on an investment opportunity. Time to bring the vision fully to life and show to the world what kind of entrepreneur you really are, and to highlight how many promising entrepreneurs there really are out there. Time to show them we can achieve the impossible. Just the way you wrote it all out years ago. Time is Now.
Below are more pics from the month of August.