Fixing The Puzzle – How We Will Build Founders Live In The Era of Coronavirus

Above and beyond anything else at this moment I hope you are doing well and staying healthy and safe. My heart and spirit are with all of you and please never hesitate to message me if you need to talk or need a perspective on your business. I am here for you, seriously. 

It’s been a while since I gave a world tour or business update – mainly because I find it energetically time consuming to craft these updates in a way I feel complete – and then the world was pulled right out from under our feet so it’s taken some time to get my thoughts and words straight. Many have speculated and inquired about how I am handling the recent Coronavirus outbreak and how it will affect my travels, life and the future of Founders Live. So nevertheless, it feels like as good of a time as any to give an update and provide insight into some ways we’re moving ahead in this upside down world. Apologies for the extended version but it’s a good read as it includes major changes and important points of my reasoning.

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A look at our events currently due to Social Distancing (courtesy of Founders Live DC)

I will not mince words here so bear with me with my straightforwardness. You may have noticed I have been a bit quiet recently which is due to shock, observation, digestion and learning of what is happening, as well as in deep thought of how to move forward personally as well as to to change our global brand. Clearly what is transpiring is something no one on earth has ever experienced and probably like you, it’s taken me a bit of time to swallow the pill. If you are like me, you are feeling like we have seen this movie before… and it didn’t end well. It’s like if someone came over to your almost finished puzzle of life and just flipped the whole damn table over. Yes it is a frightening, scary, life threatening or worse. There are no words I can insert here which would do justice to what you may be feeling at this time, so I won’t. But as this virus spreads far and wide affecting many millions of people creating fatalities on a level we have not seen from a health epidemic in recent history, it will extend far longer than we initially thought to the point of permanently scarring our society. I am deeply concerned for human life and closely observing trends and reading qualified and reputable sources to stay educated on the latest information. And of course hoping for the best. 

But even though it feels like this pandemic is quickly escalating out of control, writhing in fear poses an even larger threat of throwing our world into an economic and health tailspin. So we must stand strong – we must resist the fear. In fact, we must move towards it and through it. I have made the decision to not add to the panic or fear mongering. Instead, as a leader I am listening, learning, adjusting my actions and attitudes, and pivoting where needed to bring solutions to the evolving problems our world is facing. Our goal remains at Founders Live to never stop inspiring, educating and entertaining entrepreneurs to do great things around the world, whether that be physically or virtually.

I also acknowledge my unique leadership position globally. As the Founder and CEO of Founders Live, what I do reverberates out to many people around the world. Many of these people (maybe you!) are founders and entrepreneurs in their own right and are economic generators in their cities and countries. They are also working hard to create value in the world and are looking for mentors, leaders and positive examples. What should they or you think if I stop, give into my fears, and isolate myself from the world?

So I am not stopping. In fact, I have more fuel in my tank than ever before. I am choosing to do this because it not only is the best option at hand (I mean, what else is there to do except keep paving a path and going around the brick wall if necessary?), but it is what the world needs at this time. Damnit, this world is absolutely aching for better examples of great leadership. And the world must continue moving forward, businesses need to continue to be launched and grown, economies need healing, and people need more things to be excited and optimistic about in their life. Founders Live will continue to be a source of joy, inspiration and opportunity to many people around the world. 

With that being said, as we continue to read, watch, talk and learn about the ongoing developments around the world one thing has become very apparent – a big change has already started and the world (our lives) will forever be different. How? What exactly? How long or to what extent? We don’t know these answers and quite frankly they aren’t important. The directional aspect of the universe is what I am keen on now and we must acknowledge things are different – the lasting effects of COVID-19 will result in irreversible changes to global society

Within these last few weeks I have resolved to the notion that we are no longer what Founders Live was before. We can’t go back to what was… no matter how hard we try or how much we want to. No more in-person events. For how long? Will we bring them back? We hope so but don’t know, and given what seems to be coming from the experts we’ll be dealing with the ramifications of the virus/infections/health crisis/quarantine/recession for years to come. It’s better to overshoot and just change now then be stuck in identity crisis purgatory as a business flounders. 

Today, we are embarking on the New Founders Live. Call it Founders Live 2.0 or whatever, but it is a new approach, mindset, execution and experience. For the foreseeable future we are now a 100% virtual company, community and event experience. We are now (re)creating, building and expanding with the NEW world in mind. The quicker we accept our new reality the better off we will be as people, business owners, leaders and founders. Some of this change is immediate (change to virtual experiences) and some of the change will unfold over the next 6-12 months but you should know this brand has already started the change, and will be stronger for it.

What is the new reality we must accept and move forward with in mind?

  • Social isolation, distancing and semi-quarantine into 2021 and beyond
  • Start, stop, hesitation, restarting, and stalling of the economy (US and Global)
  • Apprehension and anxiety to large social events and fear of being in tight quarters with lots of people breathing on each other
  • Awkwardly wearing face masks and looking at others who are/aren’t with unease
  • LOTS of health issues around us and possibly seeing more death than we have seen before
  • Social unrest and possible uprising, revolt depending on the nation or region
  • MASSIVE unemployment and long stagnation of the global economy, or at least tremendous whipsaw effects in the markets for years to come
  • A majority of society exhibiting residual negative psychological tremors and falling into depression from the entire crisis experience 
  • Coworking, events, social gatherings, sports, concerts, restaurants, bars, clubs? What happens to our shared physical spaces and places to gather? 
  • Physical in-person events, are they accepted and attended as much as before?
  • Investment capital – there will be a years long downturn and dry spell from traditional VC’s and early angels
  • Traditional business models will fade and new ones will emerge

But also:

  • Many people out of work or feeling lost – needing (desiring) direction and leadership
  • Many of those people who are out of work will be thinking they should start their own company or join a growing business
  • People who start their businesses will need direction, community, leadership, education, mentorship, resources and capital
  • People looking to be inspired and wanting to connect with others who are inspired
  • MANY many new problems are here now,  just waiting to be solved by resourceful teams and people
  • New and more efficient ways to fund and grow early stage startups
  • Many more upside advantages I won’t at this time… but they are out there

As you can see, the world needs Founders Live more than ever and we’ll be here to answer the call in whatever form necessary. The last few years were warm ups, our time is now.

Here’s what we are going to do:

We are (re)creating and rolling out new, awesome, fun, engaging, value-adding, addicting social entrepreneurial experiences online over the next few months. Some are already planned and please check them out when you see them promoted. We are going to do it so that it can reach all corners of the world and inspire millions of people who – at this very moment – are forever changed and wanting another chance in their life. This means our city specific events will be viewed and attended by people from different cities, states or countries, and that’s exactly what we want! We are going to do it swiftly and smoothly since we were already set up as a live and interactive experience, as well as having a presence in almost 30 countries already. We will create a slightly different model for the experience, and shift how we’ll expand to new cities but in the end this will still be the Founders Live brand, core values, and respectfully authentic experience.

Virtual events – already needing improvement

One thing I want to point out you probably have already seen is how (air-quotes) *fun and enjoyable* these virtual events can be. You’ve probably noticed they are all the same – little to no differentiation. “YES, another Zoom call” – no one ever said in 2020.  And how overloaded is your inbox already with invitations to virtual events? Does the world now need another “virtual happy hour” where we stare at 12 boxes with heads in them on the screen? I didn’t think so, especially since we have been staring at a screen most of the day doing our other work!

Just as we did with our in-person events, we are now thinking differently as we embark into the abyss with virtual remote experiences. What I learned as Founders Live initially launched and grew was the best thing to do was identifying the areas of differentiation we were going to attack and make them 10x better than the others out there. And we did it! And that’s why we reached 60+ markets internationally in less than 4 years (and with many more to come in the near future). We cannot just photocopy the traditional Founders Live pitch events into a digital event and call it good. So we are questioning everything and you will see some exciting experimentation and developments right up around the next corner.

Regarding my travels, after being on the road for 15 months straight and traversing more than 64,000 miles I am back up in Washington State close to home awaiting the first sign things start loosening up again in the US. The road still calls and I aim to get back as soon as I can – I want to see you all in person more than anything and hopefully that happens sooner than later. But you know what, I can still social distance in any Airbnb in the world too!

Along with my travels I understand I am at slightly more risk than if I had a house and sheltered in place for the rest of the year, as I also take my distancing to others into consideration. But much more is in my control than I realized – namely quality nutrition, lots of exercise, emotional and psychological health, managing social situations, washing my hands, trying not to touch things and my face, etc.. I also realize I could just as easily get hit as I am riding in a car, one of my flights could go down unexpectedly, I could experience a freak robbery or stabbing, or any other tragic situation. That’s life, and that’s the risk you take by being alive and living around other humans. I have always felt that way and this does not change for me with the recent events of the recent outbreak. 

I really hope we can get things under control in a timely fashion and minimize the damage, both humanly and economically around the world. One thing is for sure, we have already transitioned into a new and different world than most of us were accustomed to just last year. Founders Live just leapt into this new world. The question to you is will you step up and make the decisions in your own life (and if you lead a team, in your organization) to quickly adjust to the new reality? We do have a choice of how to respond to all of this change and your future is still 100% in your own hands.

Announcing Founders Live Insider – Premium Membership With Access To Perks and Experiences + Join Nick’s Insider Council

Today we are excited to announce the release of a few new exciting experiences within Founders Live.

Founders Live Insider and Nick’s Insider Council.

When we officially launched Founders Live in 2016 Nick made a commitment stating there will always be a free membership so anyone in the world feels included in connecting with other entrepreneurs and accessing the best information and inspiration the platform can offer.

In lieu of that mission, Founders Live has grown on a business model which encompasses local events, as well as city level partner sponsorships and our global partnerships you will find in the growing Founders Live Marketplace.

Those aren’t changing, but many of you have spoken out about wanting to add more value and support to this great global platform. Many of you desire a tighter group to share thoughts, and a direction to aim your great ideas and perspectives in hopes to ensure Founders Live grows and reaches its fullest potential. We decided it was high time to roll out an additional premium membership level to Founders Live, as well as open up even more ways to highlight the amazing startups we have around the world.

Today we’re announcing Founders Live Insider – a member supported experience where we bring you closer to the brand, and where your well intentioned dollars help to grow and magnify the Founders Live vision around the world. This is a CALL TO ARMS for Founders Live members who want to support our global entrepreneurial community, and  access to exclusive premium perks and experiences.

Founders Live Insider is where I will spend most of his time from now on. Come join me!

Founders Live Insider is just $12 per month, or $99 per year!

SIGN UP HERE!

Founders Live Insider benefits include:

  • Access to a tighter, more engaged group of global Founders on Founders Live

  • Listed in the newly launched Founders Live Startups Marketplace for all our our members to find your business!

  • Early notifications of Free Tickets (where applicable) and premier experiences at Founders Live city events worldwide

  • Opportunity to join Nick’s Insiders Council helping shape the future of Founders Live

  • Access to additional discounts and connections with our Global Partners

  • Participation in a monthly group strategy call with Nick

  • Exclusive video, audio and written content

    • Backstory coverage on various Founders Live entrepreneurs and winners

    • Exclusive content and behind the scenes of Nick’s travels

  • Eternal fame, glory and the joy of supporting vibrant communities of entrepreneurs worldwide!

Join Nick’s Insider Council

Introducing Nick’s Insider Council – Open to the First 100 Yearly $99 Paid Memberships. We anticipate these spots to be claimed by end of the week, so if you are going to join, better join now!

From Nick: Throughout my travels I’ve had the great opportunity to connect with so many people and have enjoyed hundreds of meaningful conversations on the open road. Many of these conversations result in “you know what you should do?” or “here’s a good idea for Founders Live!” types of thoughts. Well, today I am formulating an Insider Council to bring the top 100 people within Founders Live closer around me to help organize these thoughts of future developments. I might even be able to help these people too, so I’ll be opening my calendar with higher preference to anyone who joins this group.

*If you want to be part of the Council and be closer to Nick to help us grow all you need to do is choose the yearly option.

The first 100 people to join Nick’s Insider Council will:

  • Join a very special private group of insiders in our own separate space to chat, connect and share top secret future Founders Live ideas!

  • Help lead Nick and Founders Live in future brand developments with your thoughts and ideas. You will have first look and be a sounding board for future product ideas and experiences

  • Join occasional “future vision and ideation” group calls

  • This choice says you deeply care about the future of Founders Live

  • Receive a new weekly “Top 5 Things I’m Thinking About” each Friday from Nick

  • Access to book time on Nick’s calendar for personal advisory and mentoring calls (calendly)

SIGN UP FOR FOUNDERS LIVE INSIDER HERE!

World Tour 2019 Month NINE+TEN Overview – NYC, London and A Final Farewell To My Father

Late last year I 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.

There comes a time when you get the call you have been afraid to receive but knew it inevitably would come. Unfortunately I was on the opposite side of the world when it arrived. 

It’s been a little while since I last wrote a monthly update due to some unforeseen developments in my life. This update I will combine September and October, as I was in NYC and London, respectfully, and have now eclipsed 36,000+ miles this year. You can read about my August experiences here where I visited Washington DC and Seattle. This update will also veer a bit from my normal musings and pictures due to a more reflective current state of mind. Warning, the following is much more about life and death and less about business.

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I landed in London on October 2nd and started to settle into a new life, new surroundings, new accents, and new country. Staying in the Woolwich area (South East) has been an interesting experience and took a bit of getting used to as it’s outside the greater London city and takes 45-60 minutes to get into or out of the city. The Tube and public transportation are actually really easy and quick. Subways arrived every few mins so you aren’t stressing about missing one of them – unlike some of the other cities I have been in recently.

Fun fact – the time zone difference from the US is challenging to stay on top of current events + sports. One night early in the month I decided I was going to watch the Seahawks game on Thursday Night Football, which normally starts at 5:30pm Pacific time. But in London that is 1AM! So I stayed out late, went to a sports bar, hung with the locals and watched the game until about 4AM, where Hawks beat the LA Rams in a shootout. That was a long night and very early morning!

I started to get acclimated to the new timezone, new city and schedule, having a number of meetings throughout the city. I tend to book meetings in random new neighborhoods so it allows me to see the different areas of the city and have enjoyed meeting a number of different British entrepreneurs and adding in a few good happy hours. All of this was becoming fun until I got the call. 

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A recent favorite pic of me and Dad. I think in 2017…

Oct 10th, 2019 – There comes a time when you get the call you have been afraid to receive but knew it inevitably would come. Sitting in my London Airbnb after a nice discussion with one of our city leaders, I received a call from my sister who informed me my father was very ill and had gone into the hospital. He had been battling bladder and kidney cancer for about 3 years and up to that point stayed in fairly good health, but now he had congestive heart failure and Pneumonia and was struggling to breathe. She said, “Nick, it’s not good. And you told me to tell you when it’s time to get on a plane and fly back if you wanted to see him before he left us. Well, it’s that time.”

You can imagine what is going through my head – so many thoughts jumping back and forth. I was just getting settled into London becoming more comfortable with the city, transit, mobile tech, and my new temporary neighborhood. And I was on this really fun tour… Damn! Please, just hold on Dad! I immediately booked a flight back for the next morning, went to sleep, got up the next morning, packed up my stuff and headed straight to the airport. I flew 9 hours from London to Seattle and went directly to the hospital. 

Walking into his hospital room was very tough, he was quite frail and looked many years older than when I saw him just 2 months ago. (One interesting detail here is he had not shaved for like a month so and had a nice gray beard forming which I had NEVER seen on his face. I said “welcome to the club Dad!”)

Instantly, I knew this was serious and we didn’t have much time left. The pit in my stomach tightened and I sensed this was going to be a very tough road ahead. My sister and I were able to spend the next couple of days with him as he continued to fight for every breath, mostly on oxygen, losing most of his motor skills. It is heart wrenching watching your parent struggle with even basic human movements and speech. Aren’t they supposed to be superman?!

After a few days and much effort from the nursing staff the doctor came in and informed all of us there was nothing left to do, it was time to face the reality his body was dying and all they could do was make sure he wasn’t in pain through the process. To sit with your father as he is told he has less than 24 hours to live is a surreal moment. He had accepted it – told us many times he was ready to go – and was just thankful we were there at his bedside. Just like the movies, we had our final real conversation where he talked about how proud he was of both of us – my sister raising her great family and myself with the great impact we are having around the world. I could barely stay collected as he spoke. His parting words described a prideful feeling of having the opportunity to help raise two great people, and here they were to help him transition out of this life. He was there when we arrived and now here we were as he was leaving, quite a full circle. His message to us was full of encouragement and strength to go forward with all our might. To live with as much purpose and passion as you can muster because it will be over sooner than you think. 

My father passed away peacefully with his kids and best friend beside him mid-day on October 14th, at 71 years old. Watching my father transition to a new and different world is now the most powerful and impactful experience of my life. For quite a while he was clearly in between two states of consciousness and I am totally curious to know what his experience would have been like. I am very happy he is now in a better place and pain free, but knowing things are now forever altered in my life is a pill I must forcefully swallow.  

My father was a great man and taught me many things, some of which you can read in I’ll Miss You Dad. The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Taught Me.

I am so very grateful for the outpouring of support and condolences from my family, friends and the greater Founders Live community. It truly means a lot and proves what we have built thus far is indeed very special and incredibly unique. Our Founders Live Seattle event was on October 24th and I had the chance to address the audience and pay tribute to my father, holding back tears as I shared his message with the Seattle community. It was a very special moment and I could feel Dad smiling right along with us. I just hope you all extend the same amazing support and encouragement to anyone else around us who experiences similar pain. I know I will.

Ya know – time is weird. On one hand we don’t have much time here on earth to positively impact people and make a dent in the world. Our time here on earth can and will be taken at any moment – we just don’t know when that moment will be. The treadmill seems to be speeding up each year and it creates an weirdly uncomfortable feeling of FOMO and anxiety of the unknown nature of it all. Live like it’s your last day, they say. On the other hand, some moments of our life can seem like forever and the pain and frustration seems like it will never end. Seconds last forever.  We wonder when we will overcome and get through these challenging times. I guess a full life oscillates between those two extremes.

I don’t have the answers here and won’t try to recreate overused clichés or anything like that but what I can say now is life has become much clearer to me in the last year, especially in the last few weeks. Life is not linear. It’s exponential. And it has compounding effects, similar to compound interest. The longer and more widely you work on something, the larger the impact and return it can have. Life is not about physical things and places. It’s about energy, creativity, spirituality, love and connectedness. Making impact (positive or negative – but we’re focusing on positive here) has a ripple effect through humanity and the world. A great life involves maximizing the creation and dissemination of positive ripples which can cross borders and touch almost every human on this planet. If you ever want to sum up Founders Live, those last two sentences would be a good place to start.

Observing someone passing away who deeply wished he could have created many more positive ripples during his lifetime (and have more time to do it) hits you at your core. You’ll sense within them resentment and disappointment for what wasn’t accomplished. Sitting on the other side of that fence with more opportunities – hopefully many more – in front of me it becomes much clearer what Founders Live can become and the number and magnitude of opportunities we have in front of us to accomplish the vision. That energy drives me now much more than before. I am not living everyday as if it’s my last. I am simply choosing to Live every day.

Now on a flight back to London to resume the tour, which is exactly what Dad wanted, I have the time to reflect and write this post. I’ll be in London until the 5th of November.  Then on to Harare, Zimbabwe for a few weeks and then Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria for the last few weeks of November. In December I go to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 3 weeks and then head home to Seattle area for the holidays.

At times I overcome with a bit of aimless wander as I set back out and re-align with my larger plan. I sometimes feels foggy and numb since my world was just rocked pretty hard. It’s like I just want to shake out the cobwebs and put in my contacts. But then I remember they are already in…

Embarking on a tour like this can be tremendously intimidating, venturing out into the abyss working with unknown timelines, withering budgets, and meeting new people who I must depend on for survival. But I will not be scared away. I remember telling Dad, “I will not allow fear hold me back from experiencing new places and meeting new people all over the world.” I know there’s always a way through. 

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I can honestly say I am in the first funk of this year-long tour. I’m not sure if it’s due to what I just experienced with my father’s passing or if it’s the fact that I have been on the road for 11 months straight traveling more than 36,000 miles. It’s probably a little of both! The first signs appeared at the end of August when I was leaving Seattle after a brief stop for my birthday and to see family and friends over Labor Day weekend. I had a great time being back but it was pretty short-lived and something felt off as I was leaving. I now realize it was a subtle feeling of being the last time I’d see and chat with Dad in his normal state. When I arrived in NYC it didn’t go away. Talking with my coaches during the month of September the words Fear, Scared, and Worry were surfacing. Those aren’t words I use very often and I now realize I unconsciously was aware of the situation with my Dad was already in motion. 

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The entire month of September was a bit of a slog, mostly due to NYC being a beast of a city and my original housing situation fell through at the last minute so I was left to book Airbnb’s on a weekly basis and turned out they were quite spread out around the region. I was bouncing from one side of New York to Jersey City and then back. A few customer partnership deals were put on hold or fell through and so our quarterly and Q1-Q2 outlook took a bit of a hit. All these affected my outlook and for the first time on the tour I was feeling a bit off and shaky. This is not complaining or woe-is-me. Trust me, I had a great time in September and October, and I am still on an epic tour of my life. But after having the “best month” after “best month” back to back for 5 or 6 straight months things have naturally course corrected. S’all good. But I mention all of this so you are aware of the challenges and things even I must overcome. This thing ain’t easy.

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I find myself more frequently describing my current state as Mile 22 in a marathon. I have not ran a marathon and I am not sure I ever will but I am aware of the feeling around Mile 20-22 where you pretty much hit a wall and really have to push hard to kick your adrenaline back in for the final few miles. That’s where I am now.

At this very moment I have no idea how the next parts of my international travels will come together. I don’t yet have in-line some of my places for housing later in the year. I still have flights to nail down. There are people who I don’t know in cities I can barely pronounce who will be offering their hospitality for me during my stay in their community. Can I trust people in foreign countries? (Yes.) But I keep repeating to myself “it will come together”, “I believe”, and “the universe is conspiring for our betterment.” There’s simply no other way to look at it. 

One of the last things I told my Dad as he was taking his last gasps of oxygen was “I learned something very important the last few months. It’s all a big game.” Pointing to my head, “it is all a big game right here, between myself and myself. I have the power to determine how I want to play and how I want to win. I have the ability to change the way I think and speak to myself, which then changes how I interpret and experience the world. Changing how I see and experience the world leads to insights and opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.” I now believe success lies within the white spaces of our insights and opportunities.

This entire post is just part of the game I referred to in that discussion with my father. Nothing is set in stone. Each experience and outcome is a re-set of choices and opportunities, which is what I so much enjoy and respect about the Tour. Everyday is different and very random. The whole experience has taught me to keep a much more open mind, open and available to take a right vs a left, and (really work at) being lighter and friendlier to myself. It’s easy to come down on yourself if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. It’s tempting to shout obscenities when a potential deal falls through (without them hearing of course), but are these the correct actions? No, they’re not. Unknowingly, when one does this they reinforce negative energy and unproductive thought processes which create a circular influence inside their mind, repeating those exact outcomes. I am not perfect by any means, but I am working hard to remove these negative thoughts and actions from my daily habits.

I have a long ways to go! So many more miles to travel and people to see.

“Thank you Dad.”

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Below are some of the pictures I took over the last few months – mostly NYC.

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(PODCAST) – Special Episode of Catching Up With Conner and Nick – Life and Death

This is a special episode of Catching Up With Conner And Nick, the weekly podcast I do with Conner Cayson.

Conner and I created this show for moments like this. To document the unexpected journey of life from a personal and professional perspective. We mostly talk about entrepreneurship from a professional perspective, but after the passing of my father this past week, we do the show in honor of him. I reflect on the entire experience from learning about his complications in London, flying back, spending his last breaths with him in the hospital, to the lessons learned from my father and how that pushes me forward to live with purpose and pursue my goals. Listen below, this is for you Dad!

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I’ll Miss You Dad. The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Taught Me

It’s been a tough few days.

As I write this my father is laying in the hospital taking the last breaths of his life. It’s too soon to even fully comprehend the experience of watching it unfold or to pull out my thoughts and feelings around losing a parent.

[UPDATE: Dad peacefully passed away Oct 14th, a few hours after I posted this.]

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Dad, This is how I remember you. I’ll miss you.

But today it only felt right to share previous thoughts I have written about my father and the lessons he has given me. The below post was written years ago on the day of his wedding and hope they give a bit of inspiration to you.

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The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Has Taught Me

This is a special day in my life as my father is getting (re)married.  In fact I am extremely honored to stand by his side as his best man to celebrate and witness this great commitment.   Recently I have had the opportunity to think a little deeper about what my father, Jim Hughes, has taught me.  Many things graced my thoughts, but 3 things stick out and continue to be huge influences in my life each day.

If you are an entrepreneur maybe they will help you as well.

Devotion – Live What You Love

As long as I can remember my father has lived his passion and his work has been his life.  Amazingly, his faith is part of his work as well – he is the the Director of Stewardship & Development for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, ID.   He lives, breathes and speaks faith.  He does not try to convert one who may not be aligned with his way of seeing the world, but anyone who meets him can sense the calmness his faith brings to his life.  He is the most dedicated and devoted person I have ever met.  His faith is his life and his work is his faith.  You will not meet anyone doubting my father’s devotion and commitment to his cause.

Basically my father raises money to support the expansion of the Diocese just as a CEO would raise money to extend the life of his company.  Say what you want about religion, faith or “believers”, this post is not a sermon; it is a lesson on how to fully devote yourself to a cause or purpose.  If my father was not fully devoted, it would be unlikely people would feel empowered to give money towards an important cause.  When spotted, an entrepreneur needs to take note of someone who is fully devoted because they are rare in this world but the best of examples.  How are investors supposed to put their faith and money in you when you aren’t fully devoted you your cause?  Show me a devoted person and I will show you someone who is making things happen.  Life just does not work any other way.

Appreciation – Life is a Gift

If you have met my father you would know exactly what I am talking about here, his appreciation for life and people is like a potent fragrance that can fill an entire room.  You know it when you shake his hand and look him in the eyes.  It’s piercing.  You sense a respect that falls like a warm blanket on the connection between the two of you.  He appreciates you for just being… you.  When you talk with him he looks right at you, transfixed on experiencing all of you and the conversation at the moment.  It is this endearing respect for all people I intuitively picked up on as a young boy watching his father, and I cannot thank him enough for the unspoken lesson which has helped me navigate through life possibly lighter than others.

As an entrepreneur I think the principles of appreciation is often overlooked, which can be a big mistake.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own situation and look out for number 1 first and foremost.  But here a few thoughts to ponder:  When you meet people, what do you think you look like – from their point of view?  Do you look them straight in the eyes?  Do you give them all your attention?  Do you let them know – without saying anything – they are the most important person in the room at that given moment?  I guarantee you will attract better talent with this approach.  Even if you are talking to your newest hire or old janitor, not understanding this principle will be an Achilles heel in your life as people will come to learn deep down you might not think so highly of them.  Success can only be found in respect and appreciation for others.

Patience – Good Things Come in Time

After my parents were divorced my father remained single for roughly 25 years and we all were wondering if it would ever happen again!  He took his (sweet) time to find the woman he felt he could commit to for the rest of his life.  But I never doubted he would end up happily with another person.  As everyone started asking him what he was thinking, who would he end up with and when it would happen.. he quietly understood the principles of patience.  Patience (knowing the right thing will eventually present itself) is what brought him to today – the right time, the right person and the right perspective.

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[Note: This picture was taken at a Founders Live Seattle event a few years ago. Little did I know writing the original post for his wedding day – FOUR YEARS before the very first Founders Live event and 8 years before today – how the lesson of patience has allowed me to grow myself and Founders Live into a global phenomenon. Amazingly precedent. Again, thanks Dad.] 

All too often we rush into something too quickly, forcing our will onto the situation thinking that if we just force the square peg in the round hole, it will fit.  Ironically this is the exact trait for which makes for an entrepreneur – sheer will.  The will of an entrepreneur can at times be a positive force, working to help us overcome challenges and move forward.  Yet many times sheer will clashes horns with a silent, but stronger patience.  Sometimes it just isn’t the right time for your vision to come together and you must pull back a bit and take a different route.  Indeed this is tough.  But smart entrepreneurs understand heeding patience and know good things always come with time.

These principles my father taught me have been life changing, I hope they may have the same impact on you.

ANNOUNCEMENT – The Official Launch of The Founders Live Podcast. Listen To 001 – AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles From Boston

ANNOUNCEMENT – We are excited to officially launch the Founders Live Podcast, where we cover unique and inspiring stories of entrepreneurship from around the world. Listen to 001 – AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles: What’s The Connection Between Athletics and Entrepreneurship, where Nick Hughes talks with AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles about startup life, his new company Elete Styles, transitioning from Athlete to Entrepreneur and under-represented founders.

NEW MASTERMIND: Founders Five – Master the 5 Essentials Required To Survive And Thrive As A Founder. Starts Oct 14th. Save $200 This Week!

Back by popular demand, I am excited to announce the return of an entrepreneurial online course, and it might be just what you needed to jump-start your year of greatness for 2020.

What is Founders Five?

I have grown Founders Live from a small event in Seattle to a thriving global movement currently spreading across multiple continents in a short 3-year period. Through this process, I’ve learned a thing or two about starting and growing a brand and want to help others launch their dream companies as well.

Founders Five is a 5-week Mastermind course to help develop your founder mentality and startup philosophy. The goal is less about launching something by the end of 5 weeks (you may already be running your startup) but more about diving deep and learning what it takes to thrive in the world of entrepreneurship. My goal is to equip you with the tools and thought processes to better navigate your path, so you leave the course with more confidence and conviction. With traveling more than 23,000 miles and living in almost 20 cities and talked with over 1,000 people this year alone, I know something about conviction and hope to help you find yours too.

To make sure we all get the most out of it, this course is open to a limited amount of people and offered for a limited time. We hope you join in and use this fall as a launch pad for your entrepreneurial journey.

Quickly Sign Up Here!

Dates – The course will run 5 weeks, from Oct 11th — through the 17th of Nov.

Cost – $500 for the entire 5-week course.  Normal pricing starts Oct 4th.

EARLY BIRD PRICING of $300 AVAILABLE UNTIL Oct 4th.

What’s Included?

  • One online livestreamed and recorded hour-long group discussion per week (Mondays, timing dependant on your time zone). A recording will be available if you cannot make the live talk.
  • Weekly course content provided to read, listen and watch
  • A weekly assignment to complete in relation to the weekly topic
  • Estimated time investment each week – 4-6 hours

Results and Benefits

  • Discover your inner entrepreneurial energy, founder mentality and starting point for your founder journey.
  • Understand the Founders Five and how to navigate and improve them.
  • Meet and closely connect with a core group of founders at the same spot as you are in your journey. That means me as well!
  • Discover new resources and develop a learners mentality to help you stay sharp after the course.
  • Leave the course with a more holistic view of yourself as an entrepreneur and confidence for the path that lies ahead.

RESULTS – A previous course participant recently won a Founders Live event in their city, has seen encouraging market responses to their product and is now fielding podcast appearance requests!

Recommendations From Previous Participants

The Founders Five course is just what I needed to start accelerating my already existing early-stage startup -and me as well. An excellent source of education and advisement, indeed acres of diamonds for your venture.  Nick expertly guided us through a 5-week course choked with valuable discussions amongst classmates, study content, and video and podcasts from entrepreneurial experts. If you are launching the next great company, please join Founders Five and meet Nick Hughes! You will not regret doing so. – Stephen

Being a solopreneur, it can be easy to put on the blinders and charge ahead to each milestone, rarely taking a step back to evaluate the steps and tools needed for longevity. Founders Five forced me to evaluate the foundations of the current growth and provided learnings to help my company achieve scalability. The resources were focused and insightful, yet varied in their delivery. Regardless of where you are in the entrepreneurial journey, there is value in the program to help you move forward. – JB

“Founder’s Five set me on a massive course correction that saved me from the brink of founder burnout and helped me learn to love my startup again. Nick has an incredible ability to inspire passion and growth while also telling the hard truths that get people out of their own way of success. I would recommend this course to anyone who is ready for a seasoned, successful, and totally in-tune leader to shine light on why their startup is not where they want it to be and help them literally craft a real plan to get it there. The positive ripple effect this course has created for myself and business will serve me for a lifetime.” – Melissa

Requirements

  • You seriously desire and put in the effort each week to position yourself as a successful business owner.
  • ONLY CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE IF YOU ARE SERIOUS AND READY TO MAKE THIS YOUR FOUNDER LAUNCH PAD.

The Founders Five – Course Overview 

1. Tenacity Mindset 

2. Connecting and Communicating Effectively

3. Problem / Solution Thinking 

4. Hacking and Prototyping Your Product

5. Growing and Scaling Your Business  

1.  Tenacity Mindset (10/14 – 10/20)

Building a successful startup is hard. Living life as a founder – at times – can be even harder. The first step to a successful entrepreneurial journey is embracing the requisite mindset and perspective to accomplish the impossible. In this first section, you will learn the fundamental perspectives of how to view the world around you, and your life circumstances specifically, in order to place yourself in the best mental and emotional position for success. Entrepreneurism is a full-contact sport and survival of the fittest is the name of the game. It’s best to view this first week as mental bootcamp and preparation for the following weeks ahead which cover more tactical and practical aspects of entrepreneurship.

2. Connecting and Communicating Effectively (10/21 – 10/27)

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.” Although it’s hard to determine the correct attribution of that quote, we believe it applies 100% to startups and entrepreneurship. At Founders Live, we add something else: “It’s not only who you know, but it’s how you treat those who you know that matters the most.” With our addition you will see that connecting with people is important, but more important than that is how you do it, how frequently you do it, and how sincere you do it. In this second week, we’ll jump into the strategies, tips and to do’s to grow your network and maximize your personal brand so you can rise above the fray to be seen, heard and talked about. In today’s noisy world we all must learn how to find our unique voice and figure out the best way to share it with others. Through the teachings of this week, you will hopefully see the path to a place where people approach and want to meet you, rather than the other way around.

3. Problem / Solution Thinking (10/28 – 11/3)

Once you have embraced your founder mindset and you’ve discovered your unique voice, it’s time to figure out how you want to impact the world. The question is, what will you do? Unfortunately, most successful startups aren’t some idea that was sparked in the shower which started with a “wouldn’t it be cool if…” Nope! Forcing a solution on a non-existent problem doesn’t lead to success. The most successful companies start because a problem was discovered by people living their own life, and then they set out to find a scalable solution which is 10x or 100x better than the current offering. And in the end, it is something that is validated by others in the world as a problem those people also experience. During this third week, we’ll help you learn how to evaluate markets and ideas to find problems and processes, then on to discovering unique solutions so that your endeavor is one which leads to success. We guarantee you’ll walk away looking at the world at least a little bit differently.

4. Hacking and Prototyping Your Product  (11/4 – 11/10)

Now that you discovered a problem and you think you have a unique solution, it’s time to start creating workable prototypes and getting them into the market for early customer validation. One problem: you might not be technical or you lack the capacity to create a working solution. Game over, right? Not at all! In this section you’ll learn how to creatively hack and prototype an early product to hit the market as quick as possible. You will also be provided many different options and directions to go if you choose to outsource or bring on a team to help you build your first version of a product. You’ll learn early success is due to the combination of problem/solution validation, customer/user acquisition, traction and growth in the market, and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metric growth through the early months of your venture. You may be asking “How do you get all those together and aligned?” In this section we’ll walk you through how to quickly and easily take your solution to market to test, observe and iterate initial market responses.

5. Growing and Scaling Your Business  (11/11 – 11/17)

Yes, it’s time to grow! Once you hit market traction and people are starting to adopt your product or service, it’s time to put processes and systems in place to scale your growing enterprise. In this last section you’ll learn the strategies and processes to take your concept and turn it into a thriving business. You’ll wrestle with questions such as, What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? What’s the purpose and Core Values of your organization? What are your 3-5 year goals? What are your yearly initiatives? What are the 5 most important priorities do you want to accomplish this quarter? How will you track your weekly progress? Do you need to hire a team to help you grow? Who will you hire? What will they be doing? What are your business financials, the funding strategy, and revenue models? Don’t worry if you don’t have the answers to all these questions, that’s what this 5-week course is here to help you answer.

I am excited to hold this course here on Founders Live and hope it is something you think is a good fit for you. If so, quickly sign up at the link below with your contact details and we’ll provide you with the next steps. Early registration ($300) ends Oct 4th. Full Registration ends Oct 14th.

Sign Up For The Course Here

ANNOUNCING – Founders Live Social Impact Program, Our Commitment To Entrepreneurial Equality And Your Opportunity To Join Us

Sharing is part of our company foundation, like the “opening the door for others” and “telling stories around the campfire” core values that makes Founders Live such a powerful and vibrant community.

Over the past year I’ve been logging lots of travel miles, (Over 23,000 at the current month of September) meeting innovators and learning a lot about what it takes to turn aspiration into reality. The stories people share with me are as different as the people sharing them, but they all have a common thread: they could never have done it alone, and none of these people look exactly the same or come from the same background.

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The many nights on the road and that theme pushed me into a lot of reflection, mostly because I know a lot of that is true for me too. My path is abundant with people who have gone out of their way to do something great for me without expecting anything in return (thank you, thank you!) but the thing that keeps surfacing for me though is how much privilege influences one’s opportunities with the outside world. Being of lighter skin and from a modest middle America upbringing, I now acknowledge this has influenced my path more than I cared to pay attention to previously. But it pains me to see others just as capable and talented not receive the same treatment or acknowledgement from the world at large – and specifically our own industry – due to the color of their skin, their gender or other obvious differentiation. In fact, it pisses me off. Read this to more fully understand where my heart sits on this subject. I did not pen the article but 100% agree with what it says.

Without access to social networks, social and financial capital, and facing bias in investment decisions, women and underrepresented people of color encounter significant obstacles to launching tech startup ventures, gaining venture capital investment, or becoming tech investors. Just think of how many more great entrepreneurs, concepts, ideas and companies would be in the world if this wasn’t the case.

  • Nearly 98% of venture-backed technology startup founders are White or Asian, and 83% are male.
  • Of the gatekeepers to capital investments, 97% are white or Asian,
  • 1% of venture capital dollars went to African American and Latino founders in 2016
  • 2% of venture capital dollars goes to women founded companies

Source: The Leaky Tech Pipeline (2018) – Kapor Center for Social Impact

The disadvantage of these people comes at a cost to all of us. Overall, researchers estimate that if high-ability children from disadvantaged groups would benefit from the same circumstances as the best-off groups, there would be four times as many inventors in the US as there are today.

And the cited research suggests that it is not just income and access to education globally that matter. More importantly, poor living conditions globally are compounded by the fact that most children in most places are exposed to very few role models in research and innovation.

With that in mind, I believe Founders Live (all of us associated, here in the US and the many other countries we have a leadership position) has a unique opportunity to share our vision, creativity and commitment with the broader community to help make change and be a part of the solution. We can lift the places where we live and work as we grow our businesses. Together we can transform communities as we transform industries and marketplaces.

Today we’re excited to announce we’re launching our own initiative to give back in hopes to creating a more diverse and inclusive community of entrepreneurs.

And very soon we’ll be calling on the entire Founders Live community to join us by taking the Founders Live impact pledge, which states those founders will embark on their own social impact program. Check out our new social impact resource page (coming soon) to learn more about what Founders Live is doing and what you can do to join the cause!

The two initial components of the Founders Live Social Impact Mission include:

  • Our learnings, education and efforts in creating a more diverse and inclusive community of entrepreneurs worldwide
  • Encouraging others to take the Founders Live Impact pledge  (Coming Soon in Q4)  

The Founders Live Social Impact Mission – We aim to help create a more diverse and inclusive community and ecosystem for entrepreneurs

  • Founders Live is a community united around sharing. We share our knowledge, insight, and enthusiasm to lift each other, no matter what we look like or where we happen to reside.
  • Founders Live believes that a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial community is a not only a driver of innovation, it’s the way the world should operate.
  • That’s why we’re now working to connect those that are underrepresented in the start-up sector, with knowledge, networks and mentors so they can bring their ideas to reality. We want to do more to get women, people of color, people who identify with underrepresented communities, and those from all economic backgrounds building companies and experiencing success.
  • We’ll start to work more closely with and learn about incubators, accelerators, funders and mentors who focus on diversity and connect aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources they need.
  • We’ll also be reaching out to our own members to find mentors and advisors who can help support entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
  • Armed with these learnings, we’ll aim to build out programs and experiences which will help to achieve our goals above.
  • Lastly, this wouldn’t be Founders Live with inspiring others to act, so we’re also (very soon) calling on all of you to commit to giving back to the community and take the Founders Live Social Impact Pledge. We’re not asking you to take on a big initiative or one similar to ours, but to take the first step if you haven’t already in determining your social impact. And to make it easy we’re providing you with how-to’s and tools to make social impact a part of your business. We’re here to let you know it’s possible to make a difference in the community.

We acknowledge all this will take time to fully take shape but we are committed to incorporating them into our day to day activities as a company. We hope it impacts you too and moves you to act in your own positive way.

Thank you again for being a part of this amazing global community, we are very lucky to call you a member and founder friend. Today we are asking you to think about what you’d like to see improved and positively impacted, and at some point make a commitment to deliver on that promise.

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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World Tour 2019 Month FOUR Overview –Ambitions The Size of Texas

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.

In month four of the Founders Live World Tour, I found myself in Dallas for most of the month of April. I must say after 2 full months of living in Texas, I now have a much stronger appreciation for the Lonestar State. It’s much greener and more beautiful than I expected and during the spring months, the weather is pretty darn good (outside of a few crazy loud thunderstorms) which were amazing to see and hear. And the startup talent could hold it’s own against many other Founders Live cities!

We arrived in Dallas on a Monday and got settled into the Bishop Arts area, our new neighborhood for the month. We stopped at a coffee shop to work for a while as we waited to check in at the Airbnb. I looked around and quickly thought A new city and new adventures are in front of us, I wonder what crazy shenanigans we’ll get into here?!”

The first week of April was Dallas Startup Week so we had a central location to go to each day and check in with what was on the agenda. For this first week, out homebase was Ross Tower in Downtown Dallas, which was the location of Founders Live Dallas event to happen on Thursday of the week. I didn’t partake in much of the startup week activities but there were many talks and panel discussions on startup and community topics. I tended to be heads down working on Founders Live, as well as gearing up for the event and filming to happen on that Thursday.

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This is The Great Sand Dunes of Colorado… I just like the pic so I put it first. I’ll get to that part of the trip later!

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Founders Live Dallas was held on April 4th during startup week at Ross Tower. It was an awesome event, with roughly 125 people in attendance and great energy in the room. Our city leader David Ezell (and his supporting team) did a great job leading the event. It’s been fun to stop through our cities and observe how the various city leaders run the events. Of course, me being present at the event influences and changes how they approach it in some ways, but still, it’s a cool way to not only quality check but to pick up nuances and pointers from the leaders on how to best run the events.

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The winner (featured in the image above) was Moments By Design, by female founder Leslie Flores: Moments By DesignMaking life easier with custom curated parties in a box! Leslie’s pitch was very crisp, on point and well within the time limit. She earned every vote and came out the winner of the night. All the pitches were great, the other companies ranged from a smart connected robot quarterback for pro and college football teams, to a bulletproof clothing material, to a company which collects online Food and Recipe Videos for healthy eating. All the presenters were impressive and on point, which I attribute to David and his team for the excellent training.

Monarc really impressed me and I was able to get to know the founding team a bit better over the course of the month. They’re designing a robotic quarterback – the idea here is that receivers will be able to practice routes and drills entirely independently by utilizing their tracking tag with the robot that will predict their path and throw them an appropriate pass. As we continued to talk I started to see how this and other intelligent systems are the future of sports. Well done gentleman!

Another interesting founder I met was Jacqueline Twillie and her company Zerogap.co. She is focusing on Leadership Development and aims to decrease the pay gap and gain equal representation between executives at companies large and small, which I very much agree with. “Success in Leadership Engagement requires consistent learning and development. This allows emerging,mid-level, and executive leaders to innovate new concepts. The Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on their senior management teams had a 34 percent higher total return to shareholders than those with the lowest women’s representation.” Jacqueline will go on to do great things.

During the Founders Live Dallas event, we filmed a sizzle reel for Founders Live. This will require a bit of backstory I am hesitant to divulge too much but oh well, here we go! I recently connected with some people in LA and we have a growing conversation about how to turn this world tour into a more established TV show. When they heard about what I was doing on the road they asked quite obviously “why is this not a TV show?” Think of an Anthony Bourdain type of show where I travel to a new cities, investigate the innovative nature of the city, highlight five new early-stage entrepreneurs, help them through their process and then culminating in a big pitch competition where one is voted the winner.

It’s The Profit meets Shark Tank, with the local flavor of Parts Unknown, and the authentic sentiment of Undercover Boss, through the innovative lens of the app generation. Yep, I like the sound of it too!

So first step in the process was to get a sizzle reel – or short film example (think pitch deck but for visual entertainment) of what Founders Live is all about, and what a full hour-long show could include. I put out a craigslist ad for a videographer and received more than 30 responses for a one day shoot! I picked one and we got to shoot on the day of the event – me talking to the camera, sitting down and interviewing each founder about their concept and their questions, and then real footage of the event. It was a unique and fun experience, although a bit challenging to coordinate it all at the moment during the day of the event. These types of things are what I need to get used to if I am to have a TV show. Having a camera one foot from your face is not the most comfortable feeling, but I know I can get used to it. At this point, I am not sure where this will all go but I can tell you one thing: we are laser-focused on doing what we can to highlight and share the stories of entrepreneurship around the world, however that can happen. We’ll see where it all leads!

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This is us having a movie night at Eisenhower State Park in N. Texas.

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Due to housing issues (and no place to stay for one night), one Sunday we decided to hit a state park for the and camp for a night. We drove up to Eisenhower State Park on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, worked on the water during the day, took in an incredible sunset, had a movie night outside and went on a trail run the next morning.  As you can see Texas has stunning sunsets.

One thing to note – The weather. Dallas has the most intense thunderstorms I have ever seen. One minute it’s clear and sunny, the next you then see massive clouds, and here comes a crazy thunderstorm. Standing in the rain is like taking a shower, so much water at one time the streets just start flooding and little rivers are formed within 10 mins. Crazy stuff.

Another interesting aspect of visiting all these new cities is how you adapt to your surroundings and establish a routine and familiarity with the new community. In Dallas, our neighborhood was Bishop Arts, just 10 mins south of downtown Dallas. I quickly found my running route (3.5-mile loop around the area) and our go-to places for coffee, food and go out for a few beers. We even got to know some of the local bartenders at a brewery over the course of the month. It started to feel like we were locals, at least for a few weeks.

Many people have asked me what traveling like this feels like. It’s really really fun. But after being on the road for more than 4 months I can tell you there are downsides of travel – specifically not wanting to leave! Once you land and get established in a city you get attached to people and places and you don’t necessarily want to uproot and leave. Establishing a relationship and connection with someone can take some work, and once you do it’s very difficult to then turn around and just take off. The way I can describe it is you basically divebomb someone’s life, create whirlwind relationships and experiences, then you leave. This can be exciting and fun, but it tugs on your emotions as well. It’s something I have had to get used to during this intense time of travel. It’s actually very difficult at times. 

The last week of April it was time to leave, and we drove in the bus from Dallas to Denver. Our first stop was Sante Fe – and take in the cool, artsy, random, eerie parts of New Mexico. I told Raleigh, “ya know, New Mexico is a pretty cool place and after all said and done with company growth and some sort of exit, I could see myself here!” It’s beautiful, crisp, warm, and off the path enough where you have space and time to be creative.

We checked out Meow Wolf (the neon pictures below), even saw a concert by The Midnight, Hiking to Hot springs and camped outside in the foothills. We then Drove into Colorado, and took in the amazing terrain and got some great pics. We stopped at The Great Sand Dunes, hiked up to the top of the dunes one day, and camped at what felt like the top of the world overlooking the entire valley. No words to describe this stuff, just look at the pictures below and think of your own words to describe it!

Finishing out the trip we stayed at Dakota Hot Springs outside of Denver. If you do enough research on this place you’ll discover it’s uhhh…clothing optional (that which we didn’t participate in!) but we both quickly realized that is the modus operandi of most of the hot springs here in Colorado. Cheers to seeing and experiencing new areas of the world!

On a sad note, this was my last week in the Van Gough Bus. Raleigh is now on his way back to the Bay Area for his next job assignment and to start the next phase of his life. I greatly appreciate the time we spent together on the road and his graciousness, hospitality, honesty, and friendship will be missed.

Now I am in Denver and looking forward to another incredible month, new relationships, experiences, and awesome Founders Live events! If you know anyone in the Denver/Boulder area and want to connect the two of us, please reach out.

Below is a group of images that I feel sums up the last month on the road.

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On to the next!

World Tour 2019 Month THREE Overview – Heating Up The Southwest And Texas

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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:

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Rocking out on the bus!

 

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Peace Pheonix, you were great to us!

 

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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.

 

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Just a day in the office in Austin. There are so many outdoor cafes and bars to count. I love it.

 

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Visiting Big Bend in Southern Texas.

 

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Just a PSA to stay present.

 

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Austin, you’re the best. But now onto the next one!

Texas, Big Bend National Park, SXSW, and Austin – How I Am Getting Used To This Life On The Road (More Pics)

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

Ya know… I’m starting to get used to this crazy on the road lifestyle. It’s fun, exhilarating, and constantly stimulating.

But it’s not for the faint of heart!

People ask me what it’s like to be on tour, constantly in the travel mode and having very a little downtime. I usually say something like “ya know, it’s interesting, I recently fell into cruise mode with all the travel… it now feels normal to be in new cities every few weeks and meeting all these new people. There’s a small and constant buzz to it. Like, I can’t wait to see what crazy inspiring thing or conversation is going to happen today?! I feel in the FLOW of it all. And others now see and feel it too. And that’s why it’s working.” 

The biggest lessons I am pulling in right now are about persistence and presence.

Persistence – working at something as long, as hard and as diligent as you can until you reach your goals.

People now approach me looking at Founders Live saying “this is so cool, you’re in 30+ cities and touring the world. Good job!” I like to tell them it’s a great overnight success that took almost 10 years to make happen. Trust me, I have had my full share of tearful, sleepless and worrisome days (years!) wondering when MY TIME will come. Now that it’s here, I so appreciate the work ethic developed in those tough days so many years ago. Stay on track. And stay positive. Your day will come. If you are in those challenging days currently, please don’t hesitate to reach out and chat about them. I have perspective!

Presence – being HERE NOW, here in the moment. At each moment. Undivided. Whole.

I’ve learned this is the utmost (and only way) to live. This tour has already brought so many mind-blowing moments to me – some of them in nature, and some of them with a drink in my hand chatting with a person I just met. But all of them are coming in more frequently and intense now.

Stay with me here… I am trying to put better words to all this. The energy created when you are present, giving the other person your full attention and energy so both of you fully experience the moment is truly fascinating. It’s this energy which flows through both people when you are on the same wavelength that helps to put the outer layer of bliss on top of what you are enjoying. This could be at a bar, at a Founders Live event, or walking in a national park. I’m experiencing it all over the Western US and I’m excited to experience it all over the world very soon!

These lessons are helping me not only get used to life on the road but actually really embrace love all aspects of this tour.

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.

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Lovin’ this mobile office!

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Being in Austin and attending SXSW has been fun! 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!

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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!

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Our Founders Live Austin event was Thursday, March 14th at The Riveter Austin, which just opened. Thanks Amy Nelson! The event was great. Congrats to Elyse Kingdon and iWinsome for winning the latest Founders Live Austin. The CRM for the gig economy.  https://iwinsome.com/

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Be where you are, now.

A Tour of The Beautiful Southwest – Utah and Arizona Parks (Caution, HOT images)

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

If you want to go somewhere in the U.S. where you can climb incredible cliffs, see breathtaking rock formations and experience amazing sunrises or sunsets, you must go to the Southwest. Month three of my world tour has brought me to Utah and Arizona. Below you will see some of the places I enjoyed and the pictures I took over the last few days as we drove from Las Vegas to my next stop in Phoenix. The lesson here is to get the heck out of your city and see the world!

We started at Zion National Park. Here’s Angels Landing. Yes, we climbed it to the top along small ridges and thousand-foot dropoffs!

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This is our ride! I’ll be touring the Western US for the months of March, April, May and June in this bad boy 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!

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We then drove to Bryce Canyon and saw this…

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Then we woke up early and caught one of the most incredible sunrises at Bryce Canyon the next morning.

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We then drove into Arizona and checked out Antelope Canyon, simply no words to describe the formations of the rock and sandstone in these caves. It’s like a whole other world.

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Yep, I know what you are thinking….

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And this is my favorite. Took it with my iPhone.

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In between these excursions I worked on the bus on the wifi. Life is good. Can’t say enough about everyone taking their own World Tour.