A road trip to Ontario, and new peeps
A couple of weeks ago, I went to go visit Waterloo, Ontario – I was there to take my first visit to Research In Motion as an employee and to go visit some of my new peeps like Alex Kinsella (pictured above representing …)
A funny thing happened when I was there. Alex and I had some extra time and he invited me to Ignite Waterloo where I enjoyed some lightning-style speeches and finally got myself to an Ignite event (cool stuff.) I also was completely captivated by one of the speeches at the event, by Kevin A. Magee. Take a look for yourself – it’s a worthwhile 5 minutes of your life.
Great speech, funny, a little bit controversial – it’s everything that makes an Ignite talk special. When I was talking to Kevin after his talk, he shared with me another event called Tweetstock in Brantford, ON, CN. If you’re not familiar with how to find Brantford, don’t worry (I wasn’t familiar with it either.)
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Um. Let’s Immediately Go To Brantford
I’ll admit it. Even though I was really impressed with Kevin’s speech my first reaction was not “Let’s go to Brantford!” but something more like “that’s nice” or similar cocktail party noise.
Then I met Matt Scobel in person. Matt reminded me that he had promised me a drink if I ever made it to Waterloo (Matt’s a big Gist fan), and so proceeded to deliver on that promise, and then told me about how he was speaking at Tweetstock the next night and that he had an extra ticket. Could I go?
Ok, I’m going
My first impressions of Brantford were of a failed industrial town trying to reinvent itself. But I think this narrative’s a bit too simple – when I looked around at the development projects in process, some of the old buildings and newer buildings, and some of the vibrant city feel of the place, I got the feeling that this wasn’t much different than Philadelphia, Boston, or Seattle. The key difference, I found, is that people really love their town. (Even if the town’s not loving them back right now.)
The Entrepreneurs in Brantford are as dynamic as anywhere else.
My other key observation having seen some of the presenters and speakers at Tweetstock (Matt, your speech was also really good – thanks for inviting me) is that these are people who would thrive in any entrepreneurial community anywhere.
Take the example of Deborah Lowther (@kidsgummymum), who in a year has launched a line of kids’ vitamins that are now available all around the world – she’s proof that “mompreneurs” or any entrepreneurs can exist anywhere (which is truly what I love about the internet.
What did I learn?
I learned a few very important things when I got out of my bubble, including:
- Entrepreneurs are everywhere – you just need to find them
- The same sorts of people who are cool on Twitter are cool in person, whether they live in San Francisco, Chicago, or Brantford, Ontario, Home of Telephones, Tractors, and Wayne Gretsky (The Great One.)
- We should all get out of our comfort zones more often and go visit places we don’t know, just because.