Customer Development, Generous, Productivity, Social Networking

Brantford, Ontario – Why You Need to Get Out of Your Bubble And Visit Places

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.)

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Waterloo,+Ontario,+Canada&daddr=Brantford,+ON,+Canada&hl=en&geocode=FV53lwIdwBcz-ykrZ_5fVvEriDGQHSPHKHsDBQ%3BFWd2kgIdtkU3-ykPc-p44mUsiDHg-WakpaU9NQ&gl=us&mra=ls&sll=43.152999,-80.263754&sspn=0.15679,0.363579&g=Brantford,+ON,+Canada&ie=UTF8&z=10&output=embed
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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?

I had no plans, I’d been asked by someone who was speaking, and many of my new friends were going to be there too (including @kevinamagee, @cateringfungi, and of course @mattscobel.)

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:

  1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere – you just need to find them
  2. 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.)
  3. We should all get out of our comfort zones more often and go visit places we don’t know, just because.

And Thanks

Thank you to my newfound friends in Brantford and Waterloo (and Toronto, too), whom I otherwise wouldn’t have met without Alex and Josh helping me to get there. You are @cateringfungi, @kevinamagee, @mattscobel, @alexkinsella, @jasondyk, @those2girls, @octopusred, @remarkk, @artsblock, @davecarrol, @marclaferriere, @kidsgummymum, @daejin_v2, @secretagentlist, @madamconnect, @tweetstockca, @joshbean, @bigdaddykreativ, @rossannawyatt, @ymcbookalicious, @michellekostya, and many more who I’ve missed. And a special hello to @unmarketing, who was mentioned everywhere I went. (And who I got the pleasure of meeting in person – thanks Scott.)
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13 thoughts on “Brantford, Ontario – Why You Need to Get Out of Your Bubble And Visit Places

    1. Stephanie –

      Thanks for your presentation on wine! It was great stuff and also a wonderful Ignite talk – let me know if you’re headed out Seattle way …

  1. Greg – I have talked to the town folk of Brantford and we also would like to make you an honourary Brantfordian. Kevin A Magee will second the nomination. You are only the 3rd person to receive the dedication – those2girls (Lisa and Diane) were 1 and 2.

    Thanks for the love and the awesome write up. Let us know the next time you are coming up and will throw you your own tweetup.

  2. Wow, thank you! I am honoured (not just honored) to be mentioned and appreciated in that way. You guys all deserve it and I am just glad I got the chance to attend your meetup and to participate. Great stuff.

  3. Sorry we did not connect at Tweetstock in Brantford … as you pointed out, lots going on here, driven ahead by social media, for sure … @thehubman @the_green_hub

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