World Tour 2019 Month EIGHT Overview – DC, Toronto and A Quick Visit Back In Seattle

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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!)

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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.”

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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. 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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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.

Deeper Thoughts

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.

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World Tour 2019 Month SEVEN Overview – Boston And The Luck Of The Irish

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.

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Hey Kid, need a ticket?

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was on a long run in the Boston heat when a recurring thought about Fenway and seeing a Red Sox game kept crossing my mind. I just felt like I needed to go that direction. Something said to me – go to Fenway and see what happens. As with the previous cities I have been in, I make sure to check out a game when time permits. Fenway is one of the oldest ballparks in the country so it was super important on my list of things to see when I was in Boston. 

I rarely do these types of things by myself, I don’t really go to baseball games alone. But I thought oh well, might as well see where my luck takes me! So after my run, I got ready and headed toward the city. I navigated to the T and found the path to get to Fenway. Once I exited the subway I had a quick call with my Dad, and he was excited I was there at Fenway to see a game. I said “alright Dad, I need to get going… Let’s see if I can snag a cheap seats ticket and get into the game!”

It couldn’t have been 20 or 30 seconds after I hung up the call, as I was walking up into the box office to buy a ticket I hear a guy yelling. “Hey Kid, need a ticket?” Here you go! Take it.” I’m looking at this guy a bit weird and not 100% sure what he said. He says “don’t buy one, here’s a free ticket!” and he hands me a paper printout ticket ($85) value and says “just buy me a beer inside” then he disappears into the crowd. Shocked, I go to the entrance, get through security, give my ticket to the woman, it works, and within a few mins time I am standing inside Fenway Park to take in a Redsox game – for FREE! I was shocked and thrilled. HA!

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So I grabbed some beers, went to the seats where he and his friends were sitting close to the Right Field foul pole and watched the first few innings with them before walking around the stadium. Chris was a quintessential Bostonian: friendly, couldn’t stop talking, laughable, cussin’ up a storm but light-hearted and happy. I took in the game from a few different areas of the stadium and then headed home. Chris, wherever you are – thanks man!

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This story sums up my life right now – how openness and embracing the unknown leads to success. I couldn’t have known I was going to be given a free ticket when I got to the stadium… but I trusted what I was hearing on that run. I trusted enough to SHOW UP. It also sums up entrepreneurship. One must be open to new experiences, open to listening, open to their internal instinct, and open to taking risks. Open to SHOWING UP when you are asked.

In the month of July, my travels took me to Boston, Massachusetts where I reached the 16,000+ milestone and connected with my Irish roots. You can read about my June experiences here. where I transitioned from the West to the East.

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I flew into Boston July 1st – went to my friend Angelica’s where I would stay for the first week of my time in the city. My first few days in Boston were magical. It was the first time I had been to the city so I was all senses open and taking it all in. We went out downtown hit the old bars and stuff saw some of the North end, which is the old Italian area and also the area where lots of historical landmarks are found. We also went to Back bay, had dinner and drinks, then walked out to the water and through the parks. 

My initial take on Boston is it’s a unique city, something very special. It has a historical and forward-thinking stance to it – both at the same time – which is quite different than the younger and newer cities on the west coast. It’s obvious the summers are really great, and a perfect time to visit (I’d imagine fall is even better!) There are numerous beaches close to the city and a beautiful coastline. The city is pretty much on the Atlantic Ocean coast and near the first place I stayed was a beach on either side of me reachable within a 10 min run. Such a great spot to live. 

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4th of July – Angelica was out of town so I was less inclined to go out to the big 4th of July celebrations, although I do recognize 4th of July celebrations in Boston are pretty cool. So I actually didn’t do anything for the 4th and I think I went to sleep at like 7 or 8 that night. My life is full of events and pretty much a party every week so I felt it was actually best to stay in and rest that night. I’ve seen my good fair share of fireworks so I felt I wasn’t missing much.

I Stayed at Angelica’s in the Winthrop area for a week, and of course, found my running routes – yes, along the beach for sure – and got into a nice daily routine. One big thing I noticed was the lack of coffee shops, except for Dunkin’ Donuts, which really bothered me. I know this is a west coast perspective but Starbucks really did create that third place where you felt you could go in grab a bite or coffee and work for a few hours. It feels comfortable and convenient like you aren’t breaking any rules. With the proliferation of coffee shops and cafes which I now realize I take for granted in Seattle there is always a place to chill and work. Dunkin Donuts, on the other hand, is like a fast-food coffee joint more similar to a McDonalds than a Starbucks. But alas, I found myself seated at Dunkin’ at least a few days since it was the only place within walking distance where I could get some work done.  

After a week at Angelica’s, I got an Airbnb in Medford for the next 2 weeks. It was fairly close to the T Orange line, I got used to using the system and getting comfortable with the city of Boston. This specific Airbnb was nice as I had my own room but was connected to a central kitchen and shared with another room in the small downstairs apartment. It was simple and worked well. That week, I went to numerous startup events such as New Technology Boston, Mass Challenge, Mass Innovation, as well as a few others. 

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I decided to do some sightseeing one Sunday so I went and walked the Freedom Trail and checked out the historical areas of the city. The trail is easy to navigate and follow to many cool spots. I saw the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Memorial, Paul Revere’s house, old graveyards, state house where the constitution was signed. Boston has so much history you can feel it creaking in the wooden floors and in-between the cobblestones on each road.

One weekend mid-month, Angelica and I headed up to Portland, Maine and I was able to finally see a Lord Huron concert! They are one of my favorite bands and all year I had been looking at their tour to see where we crossed paths. The evening was beautiful, the concert was out on the lawn of a park in the middle of Portland. It was a smaller venue but a really great show. And how can you not love that picture below? I have always wondered what the “other” Portland was like since growing up in the Pacific Northwest we have Portland, Oregon. Portland, Maine is a smaller but up and coming city with lots of potential. It was cool to visit and I see lots of things sprouting up there and something to keep my eye on. Maybe we can start things up there someday soon?

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After the concert, We went back to stay at Angelica’s again for another week. I originally got an Airbnb after the first stay because I didn’t want to overstay my welcome and thought I’d first stay week, and then get an Airbnb for 2 weeks and then see how we both felt. It was obvious we both wanted to still hang out and for me to stay so I came back and stayed the last week of July. Thanks again, Angelica!

We had the Founders Live Boston event July 23rd, it was a really great event held at the CiC building in Downtown Boston with maybe 125-140 people in attendance. Our city leaders Andy Jacques and Ande Lyons do an incredible job leading the Founders Live Boston team, I am very grateful and impressed with their efforts and impact on the city. AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles won the event, they create custom made clothing for the athletic build, a consumer segment which has difficulty finding clothing that fits them appropriately. You could feel a ton of startup and founder energy in the room, it was an honor to be in attendance. I say this in each city but there is a similar response to what we are building. It’s hard to describe but I can say it feels very right and very natural and very very true. I am honored to be at the helm of something so powerful and impactful. 

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My time in Boston was something special and I will never forget July 2019. Thank you to all that made it what it was for me!

Oh, wait what’s this? A Random trip to NYC for the week!?

Late in July, I discovered some previous Boston plans had changed and I found myself with a few extra days on my hands. I needed to head toward DC and we also had a Founders Live NYC event on July 30th, so I decided to jump onto Airbnb and find a place to stay for 5 days, take a quick flight down to New York and within 24 hours I was in the city that never sleeps. Damn, that is a very true statement.

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I decided to show up as a surprise to our NYC event. It went off well and was a fun event. Mike Smith and Sean Allen Fenn are out city leaders in NYC and they were excited to see me and as it was their first event as city leader (Mike’s anyway) it was good for me to be there and help them out a bit. The winner was Bluewave Technologies, BLUEWAVE Technologies makes an ozone infusion device to disinfect and deodorize almost anything – without using water, detergents or manufactured chemicals. It harnesses the sterilizing power of ozone, which kills germs 3,200 times faster than bleach, in a closed-loop infusion process at a speed and convenience never possible before. Overall, the event was awesome and a night all of us won’t forget.

Without sounding too much like a broken record here each new city is the same experience. It half shocks me and half feeds me. People see the dramatic potential of Founders Live and how it could impact their community and they love it. They want more of it. They want to spread it back to their own cities or home countries. Just at this one event in NYC, there were people from Botoga Colombia, from Mexico City Mexico, from Ecuador, from Kyiv Ukraine, and a few other countries who now want to talk about expanding it and starting Founders Live in their city. Whoa!

Deeper thoughts from the road:

I now more fully understand why musicians go on tour, and actually how effective they can be when they are away. It’s where they earn their money since they are dialed in and focused on the process of the show and entertainment. Touring forces you to be effective and efficient. It makes you stay on task and figure out what happens today, what you are doing tomorrow. When do we leave and where are we going? It makes you ask the question “am I being effective? Am I earning? What am I doing now, today, tomorrow to move things forward? What’s the plan? When musicians are not on tour they are most likely at home with friends and family, and probably a bit less focused. So being on the road and on tour has helped me dial in my effectiveness and processes to get shit done no matter where I am. I am loving it.

I can’t fully describe it but another wave just hit Founders Live. It feels different. Is it the East Coast? Is it the numerous people who are in Boston, DC, or NYC from other countries who attended their first event and want to expand it to their home country? Is it the growth we are seeing online and our monthly active users increasing on a weekly basis? I don’t know, but we are currently in a massive momentum swing upward, we must go with it and ride the wave as it continues to crest. 

When you are open for connection, connection comes to you – I am in love with meeting new people and enjoying a unique connection with them, whether it’s for a few hours, days, or a few months. This approach is important as you navigate the world, but especially as one is touring around to new cities each month. The world will mirror you and your energy.

Nothing is more powerful than a story. You MUST create your story – no one else in the world is responsible to create and tell your story. Make it emotional and relatable. Figure out something to do – something to create – that no one else can copy and replicate. Something you can own. Then just go do it.

Lastly, I have gone from scared to courageous in the last year. In previous years I was actually scared of the future, and only now do I realize how much it was holding me back. I was scared of the thought if I failed again. I was weirdly even scared for my future success. I was scared to lose my then-girlfriend. Everything changed when I made the shift to embrace fear and embody courage. I changed from reaction oriented to action-oriented. I realized my story was up to me to create and tell, and the only thing in the way of my vision coming true was my damn self. 

That realization and change, in my view, is what success is all about. Please, if you take anything from my writings and tour, its the fact that you already have the answers and the power. 

Now I am in our nation’s capital, Washington DC and enjoying more time on the East Coast before I head back to Seattle for a 2-week visit with friends and family to end the summer. (uh, where did it go?!) Then it’s back to NYC for the month of September!

Here’s to another successful month on the road.

More pics from July below.

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ANNOUNCEMENT – Delta Airlines and Founders Live Partner To Bring You SKYBONUS – The Easiest Way To Maximize Your Travel Budget

Your company will earn SkyBonus points when you and your employees fly on any Delta or participating partner flights. It’s that simple.

Founders Live is excited to announce a partnership with Delta Airlines to bring you SkyBonus, a FREE business travel rewards program for small- to mid-sized companies around the world. Your company will earn SkyBonus points when you and your employees fly on any Delta or participating codeshare partner flights. Points can then be redeemed to reduce travel expenses or reward your employees—the choice is yours. Additionally, individual employees will continue to earn miles in the SkyMiles® program.

SIGN UP FOR SKYBONUS HERE.

Please sign up using the form we have provided at the link above so we can properly expedite the process for you.

REINVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS.

SkyBonus offers the ability to increase savings potential with travel-related rewards.

Your company can earn points for eligible travel purchases and flown after your enrollment date. Points can be redeemed for valuable travel awards including flight certificates, upgrades, Delta Sky Club®  passes, and more.

How To Earn.

It’s easy – Enroll. Buy a Ticket. Fly. Earn Points. Enjoy Rewards.

SkyBonus turns your travel budget into travel rewards by converting the dollars you spend with Delta and our partners into points.

Need more reasons to enroll?

It’s FREE – There is no cost to enroll your company. The SkyBonus program allows your employees to earn their individual SkyMiles when they travel – and they will also accrue SkyBonus points for your Company that can be redeemed for rewards.  Even better, the program includes Delta’s partner airlines Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and AeroMexico. (Virgin Atlantic coming soon.)

In addition, once your company is enrolled in the program, your travelers are eligible for complimentary SkyMiles Medallion status matching.  There is an enrollment bonus as well that includes a few complimentary Silver Medallion status. It’s easy to book and earn your rewards.  Points are earned for bookings made with your travel agent, or on Delta.com. Just enter your unique SkyBonus ID during the booking process. Have specific questions? Send us a message here. 

So what are you waiting for?

SIGN UP FOR SKYBONUS HERE.

World Tour 2019 Month SIX Overview – Livin’ In The Land Of 10,000 Lakes

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, has it been half a year already? Just too much fun to keep track of time I guess.

In the month of June my travels took me to Bozeman, MT and then to Minneapolis where I reached the 14,000+ milestone. You can read about my May experiences here. It’s a pretty amazing country we live in.

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On June 2nd I flew from Seattle to Bozeman and got settled in my new spot for the week,  a Hostel downtown on Main Street. It was nice to stay downtown close to all the restaurants and bars, felt like a fellow Bozeman!

Our Founders Live Bozeman event was on June 5th at Devils Toboggan, a newer cool swanky speakeasy bar. We had a great crowd for it being summer and the first event in Bozeman. The winner was Jennifer O’Brien (pictured below) of Montana Craft Malt, a collective of growers, scientists, brewers, and beer lovers dedicated to helping brewmasters reach their loftiest expectations for taste, quality, and pure drinkability. With unique access to one of the world’s best barley-growing regions and the state’s top independent growers, we produce an extraordinarily diverse selection of classic and artisanal malts.

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I easily found my running routes around the city parks and there were even a few coffee shops across the street in which I made my temp office for the week. Montana is a really beautiful state and my only regret was that I just didn’t have enough time in the Big Sky country to see all the parks, mountains, trails and people. I’ll be back.

I flew to Minneapolis Monday the 10th and got settled in the Uptown/Powderhorn neighborhoods where my first Airbnb was located. This leg of the trip was quite exciting, as I had never been to Minnesota and knew I was encountering new territory. As always, I found my running routes – they have a cool greenway connecting their many lakes in the city – and made sure I ran every day or every other day. Running helps me level set, get acquainted with the surroundings and keep stress levels low. Minneapolis has so many lakes, but residents are only able to enjoy them for a few months out of the year so in the summer they are packed. Most people I met would say “you picked the best time to be here! don’t come here in the winter, they are brutal and long!

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I definitely agree with ol’ Bob on this one…

I stayed in 2 different Airbnb’s, the first one was in the Powderhorn area which is a very multicultural and diverse area. I stayed there for almost 2 weeks. The first night in town I walked from my place to Uptown (about 2 miles) and got a feel for the community and area. I hit a bar and watched some baseball, which was relaxing.

Uptown was the area I spent many days working at coffee shops or at WeWork where I met some great people in the startup community. I was featured on Josh Fedie’s Founders Mentality podcast, where Josh and I talk about Founders Live, My current world tour, knowing how and when to pitch, many other founder tips, as well as DOING THINGS THAT SCARE YOU! It was a fun conversation and amazing to chat with someone I’ve only know through interacting on Founders Live up to this point. Thanks Josh!  You can find the full conversation here.

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My second Airbnb was in Uptown area, a much nicer and obviously more well-to-do area. This place was very close to the Lake of The Isles, where I ran a number of mornings. It’s a really beautiful windy path around the lake, and kind of like the Greenlake of Minneapolis. The area has lots of coffee shops nearby and a short walk to WeWork Uptown.

As seems to be the mode now, each new city I enter I make sure I see their stadiums and hopefully catch a game. You can’t shake the sports fan out of me! I went to a Twins game with a friend who works with a good founder friend from Seattle Joel Carben and his sports tech startup IdealSeat – a previous Founders Live Seattle winner! It was way cool to see Target Field, it’s a beauty and it was a great night for baseball. Twins won handily. Spending some time outside of Founders Live and at a sporting event has become a staple of my travels, as it gets me away from work and is extremely relaxing.

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It was really fun to check out the offices of SportRadar, the leader in real-time sports data. I’ve known a few of their employees for years, from my Callin’it days (where a friend and I were hacking on a few real-time sports app concepts) and it was interesting to connect with them after so many years of phone calls and emails. I toured their office and saw where real people are watching screens and hitting buttons to record sports data from games in real time. By the way, that’s how most of the data from the games you are watching is collected.

We had our Founders Live Minneapolis event on June 27 at WeWork Uptown. It was a fun event and a good restart for Minneapolis since they had been on a bit of a break for the year. The winner was Little Acorn Shave Co. – Stop shaving like a man! All the pitches were great. The city is excited to see Founders Live grow and impact the city on a deeper level. We have brought on Dick Polipnick as our new city leader and he’s already building out his team of support and leaders. I was very impressed with his professionalism towards the opportunity to lead, I know he’ll do great.

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During my time in Minneapolis, I met a few people who have become fast friends, more on that below. I was even invited out to one of their houses on a lake outside the city, hung out and chilled in the boat and on the water. As we were floating in the water next to the boat I told them this is the most Washington thing I have done thus far on the tour. We love to float and boat back in Seattle and in Eastern Washington, and at that moment I was right at home. It was a great way to end time in Minneapolis, bobbing in one of the 11,842 lakes of 10 acres or more.

Now I am finally on the East Coast and in Boston, another city in which I’ve never been. Here’ we go again!

Some thoughts on a deeper level. It’s strangely difficult to make instant connections and friendships to only then have to leave a week or two later. On one hand its a positive, fun and exciting experience of making a connection and quickly getting to know someone. But at the same time, you know it’s a passing moment and in short order, you will be moving on and out of their life. It’s just something that takes time to get used when your life is on the road.

The TV show concept is starting to take shape and it’s really fun to dive deeper with the idea when I talk to certain people. The more conversations I have with others the more it locks into place as something many people would be interested in watching. More customer development is happening right now in this area of the business but I can tell you once we get running, you’ll love it!

Overall, How do I feel? Honestly, I am fully embracing this experience and could see myself traveling and building Founders Live for a much longer timeframe than this 2019 year. If the show takes off, that’s exactly what my life will encompass.

What’s the travel feel like now? Travel is getting easier and now feels like my normal life. I was talking with someone in Minneapolis and that exact question came up. I actually had to think about it and realize – wow, yea this is now my normal life. The travel is less weird and more normal now than ever.

We’re halfway through the year? Crazy. It feels like just a few weeks ago I made the announcement and left Seattle. It’s happened that fast and quick. I feel like I have lived about 2 or 3 years of experience in just these first 6 months of 2019. I do miss Seattle and the big community of founders and entrepreneurs I enjoy chatting with – you know who you are, hello 🙂 –  but each new city presents unique gifts I can’t find anywhere else.

I’d say the biggest change in my daily perspective has been this ephemeral nature to it. I’m living here and now. In the moment. Taking in great experiences one day, one hour at a time. I’ve learned that a great life is really just putting as many of those in your life – back to back – as possible.

I’ve also taken note of how impactful my story and tour has been on people. I really do appreciate all the words people send me. But something has become apparent to me recently: The difference between standing out or fading into the crowd (being extraordinary or being average) is simply a decision. Once you make the decision to be extraordinary, you then start paying attention to specific details of your life. Seeing these details more clearly, in turn, allows you to refine yourself, tighten up your business, and crystallize your message on a much deeper, unique and impactful level. It all starts with the realization that you can have it, you can be extraordinary. Then you make a decision to go do and be just that. It’s actually pretty simple. So how about we all just go and do that today!

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PODCAST – My Interview on Founders Mentality with Josh Fedie in Minneapolis

(PODCAST) – I was recently interviewed by Josh Fedie on his Founders Mentality podcast. Josh and I talk about Founders Live, My current world tour, knowing how and when to pitch, many other founder tips, as well as DOING THINGS THAT SCARE YOU! It was a fun conversation and amazing to chat with someone I’ve only know through interacting on Founders Live up to this point.  Listen here.
 
 
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World Tour 2019 Month FIVE Overview – Beauty And Business in Colorado

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.

The latest month’s travels took me to Denver and Boulder and reached the 11,000 milestone. You can read about our late April drive into the state here. It’s a pretty amazing state.

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We arrived in Denver and went directly to my good friend from college Thao’s house in Wash Park area of Denver. This is a nice area of the city, and Wash Park is a “Green Lake of Denver” park, where many people go to hang out and run/walk during the week. During my time staying at Thao’s place, we chilled out, watched hoops, hung out with his family, spend Cinco de Mayo at one of his friends places and went to a Rockies Game one weekend. It was really good to see my ol’ college buddy and get to know his family.

We had our Founders Live Denver event on May 9th at Galvanize Golden Triangle. It was a was fun event, with growing energy in Denver for the event. We originally launched Founders Live Denver in fall of 2017, but it had taken a bit of a hiatus over the last few months, and it felt good to see things get back in motion. The Denver/Boulder area is a burgeoning hotbed for innovation and technology, and we definitely want to make sure we have a strong community and brand in that area of the country. The event’s winner was Event Integrity At Event Integrity, we help people organize events with confidence.
They did a great job during their pitch and during the Q&A with the audience.  Also exciting that night, I met Greg Narain at the event, who has now become our next city leader for Founders Live Denver. Greg spent many years in Silicon Valley and has vast experience as a founder (even building out his own brand called FounderCraft) so I have full confidence Greg can take and run with what has already been established in Denver.

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That weekend, Thao and I decided to get out and go to Colorado Rockies Game. It was a fun night to hang with him, boys night out at the baseball game. The weather was a bit back and forth and that night it stormed and rained a bit but not enough to delay the game. I remember wearing a Colorado Rockies hat at like 10 years old when they were an expansion team back in the 90’s, so it was fun to go to Coor’s Field.

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My next Airbnb was in Aurora, CO, just outside Denver and was a shared room. This place was $11 per night, and a shared downstairs area like a hostel with partitioned off rooms. It wasn’t very nice and was kind of a pain in the ass but I spent less than one average night of Airbnb on the entire week staying at this place so it was worth it. In the end, I established my surroundings, found the nearest Starbucks, got my running loop down and got comfortable. Not too bad actually. It even snowed in late May! Which was quite surprising but melted off after a day or so.

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After Aurora, it was time to venture to Boulder for the rest of the week. I went on a hike overlooking the city, did the Bolder Boulder 10k run of which 50,000+ people ran that day, had a few meetings at the Google office and worked out of the coffee shops on Pearl St. We then went to Red Rocks Amphitheater and saw a concert – Disclosure. This was a big bucket list thing for me as I have wanted to see a concert at Red Rocks for so long, I just hadn’t had the opportunity until now. The Amphitheater is beautiful and I have to admit is a better place to see a show than The Gorge in Washington. Surprising, it’s a smaller venue than I thought, holding only about 10,000 people total. But the views! And the sound! So great.

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I left Boulder and flew back to Seattle for May 30th – June 2nd. This wasn’t a planned trip originally but due to scheduling, flights, and needing to see some of my family I decided to make the quick trip back to Seattle – to remind myself how beautiful the city is under the sun and how great our community really is there. We had Founders Live Seattle event on the 30th at Thinkspace, was great to be back and see all the people. The winner of our Seattle event was Nomena, they are building out some interesting stuff in the data protection space and I’d say they are hitting the market at a perfect time. I actually pitched the TV show concept at the event (find the video of my short talk about the show here), made it much more public. People are loving it. It feels so inevitable at this point and it’s just a matter of getting the right people around it and involved in the appropriate way. We have decided it’s time to get more serious about the show, and what are the next steps to get agents, executive producers and studios involved. Things are progressing at the right speed.

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Now entering month 6 of this journey things are at least becoming a bit more clear to me. First, travel does get easier and more manageable as time goes on. You learn your intrigues, your needs and wants, and your daily habits or things you need to do each day and each week no matter the location. You learn how to be flexible. You learn how to be efficient. You learn what’s most important to you and how to get shit done no matter where you are in the world. There’s always a coffee shop or lounge to slide into and work for a few hours. You can still take your calls, but you have the ability to also go see and discover random parts of the world at a moments notice.

Secondly, I am starting to understand myself in more depth. I haven’t discovered the entire end game yet or “who I am” per se, but I am starting to realize who I am not. I am not the man who found himself in Seattle in a less than optimal situation 6 months-year ago. I knew I needed more and needed to evolve and change. To grow. And I needed this experience and all its challenge to pull it out of me. Lastly, with the emergence of the TV Show concept, the growth of Founders Live around the world (40 cities and 15 countries currently reaching tens of thousands of people!) each and every subsequent city experience solidifies 1) my belief in how impactful Founders Live can be in a community and around the world, and 2) the responses of the event and Founders Live brand are the same from city to city. From a user experience and customer research standpoint, this is exactly what I set out to discover. “Yes this is awesome and we need this here in our city.” Yes, I say, don’t worry Founders Live will be here for quite a while!

What’s next? I just left Bozeman Montana and I’m currently on my way to Minneapolis. This next leg of the Tour feels different for a few reasons. This entire tour has been in the West or Southwest of the US, but I am now heading east for quite some time. Initially to Minneapolis, but then to Boston, DC and NYC for the summer months. It feels more serious and I’m now venturing quite a bit farther from home (wherever that may be right now!) so it feels different. Well, see you on the trails.

Onward!

[PODCAST] My Interview on Innovation Calling – Creating a Global Entrepreneur Community

(PODCAST) – If you are *still* wondering why we are building Founders Live and where we are going, this podcast really dives into it. We talk about many aspects of growing startups, creating culture, core values, and many other things. Thanks Erin Gregor and Syya Yasotornrat, I had a great time on your show. Listen here!
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