Eight days was not enough. It was great to get away and head to that high desert beside the front range known as Denver. My Colorado friends laughed and told me I must have brought the rain with me, because they “never have a whole week of rain.” It rained 5 of my 8 days in Colorado. The landscape was very green for this time of years, and we saw plenty of snow up on the mountains. No matter. With high temperatures in the 90s back in Florida, I was happy to soak in some highs in the 50s……even if they came with intermittent rain.
The whole family made this journey, as we continue to enjoy our flexibility and value our experiences.
Mrs. IS and the Little Man stayed with family while I attended Startup Week, then we reunited and attended a family event. It was great to be able to be gone 8 days, without the need to beg a boss for the leave…….or worry about the vacation time I was burning. Instead, I only needed to answer to my small group of regular clients. That is a huge relief.
Even sweeter was that a little travel hacking gave us free roundtrip flights for all three of us. The Little Man continues to be a great little traveler. Little surprise given that at the tender age of three he has visited 28 states. Mostly on our various road trips. We paid about $100 dollars for these flights, total, which amounted to the federal fees associated with the flights. Not too shabby. Not bad at all. Those cheap flights provided us with great experiences, and a whole lot of learning in my case. We aren’t travel hacking experts, so I’m not going to provide guidance in this area…..but I suggest that you look into it if you like to travel. The rewards are tremendous once you get the hang of it.
Culture and Energy
Over the last few years, Denver has developed and cultivated a startup culture that I haven’t seen outside of California. The perks that employers advertised at the conference even feel like California. The employers seemingly tried to one up each other, vying for the attention of prospective employees. Some of the sessions were held at the offices of various companies, and most were decked out with stocked kitchens…..ping pong tables……flexible hours…..and even free craft beer. Honestly the beer did surprise me a little bit. I would think they would worry about the liability of a workplace accident or DUI on the way home. Apparently not.
The vast majority (likely 80%+) of the people I spoke with at startup week, were Colorado residents. Interestingly, many of them shared a common story of moving to Colorado from the east coast. The mid Atlantic states seemed to be the largest contributor. From personal experience, many….many…..many of my former coworkers have now moved to Colorado from Florida. We considered moving there ourselves about 5 years ago. We are very happy in Florida now, but we might just hail from Colorado 20 years from now.
Denver Startup Week
In case you haven’t gathered from the comments above, Denver Startup Week was fantastic. There were sessions ranging from the future of key industries like robotics, blockchain, AI/machine learning, and coding……..to opportunities to pitch VCs on your company. A veritable “something for everyone”. The sessions I enjoyed most were about using Google tools (Adwords and Analytics), the future and applications of blockchain technology, and building with shipping containers. My next post will outline what I learned from my sessions, and how I intend to use what I learned in the coming years. I will definitely be back next year….and not just for the free coffee, craft beer and food. Yeah, there was literally free stuff everywhere! No I like to research and learn about industries and technologies I don’t understand. My industry and startup experience has centered around hydraulics, construction, land development, and engineering. This conference was much more about technology, especially in the health……finance…….and customer arenas. Still I learned a ton and will share with you all in a few days.
MMM meet up
Being a frugal Florida boy, I had yet to attend Mr Money Mustache meetup. Well my friend Carl (1500days.com), changed that. He invited me to a gathering of the Ft. Collins mustachian group, which was hosting a potluck down in Longmont, CO. When I got there, Pete himself opened the door. Apparently the event was being held in his building, and he was definitely a friendly host. Anyway, I spent a couple hours hanging out with a couple friends and a couple dozen mustachians I didn’t know. It was a fabulous time, and I had the chance to share my story while also hearing many of their stories. Funny how the stories really start flowing once the craft beer was also flowing. Anyway, interesting people with an exciting energy and a whole lot of hope for a bright future. A few were mildly intrigued at my discussion of flexible independence, but most still prefer to pursue financial independence. That’s fine. There are as many styles of FI as there are people chasing the dream.
On that note, I’m going to wrap up this post with how blessed we feel for last week. When I quit my last traditional job 19 months ago, we knew our lives would change……but we had no idea how much. After several months of travel with our two year old and Labrador, we came back to west central Florida determined to design a new….more sustainable…. life. Mrs. IS went to work in a community building position, that she is super passionate about. I organized a new volunteer group at church, spend a large part of my time with our 3 year old, and work on projects I am passionate about (like travel, stock investing and real estate development). We don’t have enough capital that we can do nothing….but that’s not who we are anyways. We do have ENOUGH money however, to spend our lives largely how we want. We are blessed, and I am thankful.
Which conferences and meetups were the most meaningful for you?