Think Big Go Far – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Episode Notes

Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the StartupFoCo podcast episode 5.  I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.

In this pre-event episode, we have 8 guests who remind us to think bigger and go further.

Let’s get into startup week speaker interviews.

Lu Cordova1 Million Cups 

Denny Otsuga

Barbara Bauer – Ask Me Anything – Women Angels and Investors

Emily Wilson & PJ Willams

Cindy Skalicky – RVC Pitch Academy (Fundamentals)  Master Your Message: How Your Communication Adjusts as Your Startup Grows

Joe Somodi –  FoCo Speaks Out!

Peggy Lyle – Plug In: Be Part of City of Fort Collins Arts and Public Arts Programs  February’s Fort Collins Artists’ Community Hot Dish Event 

Ep05 – Think Big Go Far – Startup FoCo Podcast Transcript

[00:00:00] Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for taking the time to join. Lu you are the new head of the Techstars Foundation, and you are keynoting the Fort Collins Startup Week 2018 your panel is going to be a Wednesday February 28 at 9 a.m.. And you’re going to be talking about leading Techstars Foundation. Lu can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees get from hearing you share your message?

Lu Cordova: I think that anyone coming to startup week in general should get a sense of community that welcomes them into this vast ecosystem of entrepreneurship the Techstars Foundation is about making that community a diverse one. Where everyone feels included. We feel the only barrier to entrepreneurship should be dreaming something worthy.

Vanessa Pagan: Wow. That’s a great vision for what community can look like and reaching out beyond our borders so as Startup Week. What do you hope an attendee can find out if it’s their first time coming like what would you hope that they get out of it and what advice would you give [00:01:00] them?

Lu Cordova: Each person coming to a Techstars week like this comes with their own idea of what they could do they come with it their own dream or with the curiosity. They don’t even know what they want to do. They just are drawn to some reason, and I would like them to feel welcomed to come in. Sometimes it’s intimidating to see other people who look trendy and look like they know what they’re doing and maybe you’re from a background that hasn’t had access to that before. You have access. Come in. You will be welcomed and I want people to feel that way when they come here and with the foundation we’`re doing specific initiatives to help them feel more wanted and more connected, and that’s what I’m hoping to talk about what some of these initiatives will be. How they can plug into them, and how they get can get that access that they haven’t had before.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great, and Lou from your vast experience and background is there a top lesson learned that you can share with attendees?

Lu Cordova: You know Vanessa, I think that my biggest lesson is yet to be learned because I have to figure out what diversity means when you step [00:02:00] outside the United States. I’ve been to over 60 countries, and I will tell you the cultures are so different. What diversity and inclusion means to us is not what it means in another place. So that’s why we focus on barriers.

I’ve got to learn how to break down those barriers internationally for entrepreneurs.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great mission. I’m often reminded that when I travel outside of the US, my identity is not the state I was born in it’s the citizenship that I hold as an American that defines who I am when I leave my home country and when we break down those borders. We become not just our nationality, but we become our common denominator of human beings.

Lu Cordova: It’s so true and in fact I was grateful that you had said you know here’s a bonus thing if you want to thank somebody in the community, and it goes back to that because I want to thank you for the opportunity to finally publicly, thank Pat Stryker. And it’s not because of all the amazing philanthropic work she’s done or it in a very circuitous way Striker is a cause of why I want up in [00:03:00] this position. The reason I want to thank her is for something she did almost 20 years ago that has an impact today. My daughter was in a Bilingual School at the time in Boulder in my effort to make her culturally diverse so that she could become a global citizen. Pat saved bilingual education in Colorado. That means she saved bi-cultural understanding and now my daughter is in Tunisia as we speak. She was in Honduras earlier Kenya before that and she’s working around the world to help government be more transparent in what they do. She wouldn’t be doing that if she hadn’t had the bicultural, bilingual education that she got when she was in school. So I hope to meet Pat someday, never actually met her but I’d love to thank her in person for doing what so many of us aspire to do which is actually make the world a better place.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for sharing that beautiful story with Pat Stryker. Because the seeds that she planted of her efforts over 20 years ago have such a huge impact on you and your daughter and the ability to break down cultural silos. I’m also rooting for you to meet her in person when you come to Fort [00:04:00] Collins Startup Week.

Lu Cordova: Yes, well the Techstars credo in general is give first. And once you understand what that means you will see the amazing effect it has on everything you do and how it brings out the very best in others. So I hope after my keynote people will walk away thinking. this is my time to give first, and then they will see what it brings to the world.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge your personal story of how seeds that we plants can have long ranging effects into the future and make a difference in people’s lives who may not even be born yet.

Lu Cordova: Yes well my pleasure. Thanks Vanessa.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line I have Denny Otsuga who’s the director of Venture Community Development of the Rockies Venture Club. Denny is moderating several panels related to secrets of attracting Angels investors part 1, part 2, part 3, and also bootstrapping your business. He’s also going to be speaking with the Mayor on the session called Arting up Science New Directions in Cross [00:05:00] Discipline Collaboration.

Hi Denny.  Thanks for joining me, so you’re being very active in the 2018 Startup W eek at Fort Collins. What do you hope attendees get out of attending this week?

Denny Utsuga: So I think people are people going to get out of Fort Collins Startup Week is they get to see how active the start-up activities is in the city. As well as how many artists are in the city. Most of the startup teams are small and artists tend to be just working on on their own, and they’re scattered throughout the city, so it’s really hard to see how active they are because they’re so spread out but with events like this they all come out and you get to see them all at once and that really provide scale and the level of activities in the city. So I think that’s a biggest thing people are going to get out of this.

Vanessa Pagan: It’s great. And of the panels that you’re involved in what do you hope attendees [00:06:00] get out of learning about what it’s like to attract Angel Investors.

Denny Utsuga: Yeah, so I’m organizing four sessions and attending why I’m as a speaker, and my main theme for all of these is Capital Access. In simple terms, it’s basically how people get their initial chunk of money or seed capital to start implementing their ideas and dreams so there several different ways to get to those capital and hopefully people attending my session will get better idea of how to approach Angel Investors or start making money right away and bootstrap business and grow their business.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. I know I’m personally going to be attending the bootstrapping session.

I know you’ve got three other, sessions, but I’m bootstrap almost all my companies, so I can’t wait to hear what you have to say in that one great the next question. I wanted to ask you is if there something that you share from your background and experience that you can share with a startup week [00:07:00] attendee as one of your Lessons Learned.

Denny Utsuga: Yeah, I said before I think entrepreneurs and artists tend to work on their own or in a small team, so I think it’s a really important for them to realize that they’re part of a bigger community and attending sessions or participating in startup week. They get to meet their peers, and then exchange knowledge and experience and most importantly create a new network and even create a community. with meetup or other way so that they will find a way to communicate and network among themselves.I think that’s a really important thing for entrepreneurs and artists I think.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. Thank you and the next question I have is related to what do you see as the vision for the future of Fort Collins?

Denny Utsuga: So I think I am going on my six year living in Fort Collins, and I’ve been bringing [00:08:00] in the knowledge experience  and the capital to Fort Collins community, and I really do believe in the huge potential in Fort Collins, and it just need to be capitalized so that it can take off. And my vision for future of Fort Collins is really becoming a model city for a dynamic and vibrant venture community, which I really believe is integral part of developing triple bottom-line community with sustainable social environmental and economic growth, and that’s that’s kind of my vision and hope for this community.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. I would like you to share triple bottom when you say that. What are the triple? What are the three?

Denny Utsuga: Yeah, so triple bottom line is a concept that takes into account social, environmental and economic growth all-in-one [00:09:00] and not have lopsided growth in any one of them. That always considering other factors at the community go and stuff Fort Colin is expected to double in size and next 20 years or so and it’s really important to make sure we have open space and making sure that everybody in the communities that care of while pursuing economic growth for the community.

So that’s kind of that triple bottom line concept.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for giving us some context to what that means and what that can look like because there’s so much potential for the future of Fort Collins, and I also hope that it is a very stable foundation that we’re growing on top of.

Denny Utsuga: Absolutely

Vanessa Pagan: Great. That’s it. Those were wonderful answers. Thank you so much Denny.

Denny Utsuga: Alright. Thank you very much.

Vanessa Pagan: So as a very quick introduction Barbara is the director of the Women’s Investors Network for the Rocky Venture club in Denver, Colorado, and your AMA as us in the Reddit world [00:10:00] call it is really a chance for the Fort Collins community to be able to ask you whatever questions that they have in mind, is that right?

Barbara Bauer: Absolutely. Everything from why is it so hard to get early stage investment to why is it so hard to be an early stage entrepreneur.

Vanessa Pagan: A lot of it why is it so hard questions, I’m feeling.

Barbara Bauer: Well, and I think if you were to talk to entrepreneurs and also to experienced investors all of us would agree that it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of initiative, persistence and flexibility to find a match between the early stage venture founder and the right investor. Most early stage founders seek funding from friends and family. That’s a very classic way to start and probably almost always required as a way to start, but once that early-stage founder [00:11:00] is really ready to expand her company. She’s looking for an investor that has the right match for the phase, in the industry sector she’s in, the kind of venture it is. Is it a you know a classic software venture? Is it a retail opportunity? Whatever it is you really have to work hard to find the right investor and people with experience can help. So that’s really the motivation for the session because we want early-stage Founders people with good ideas who have really started their company and really want to grow it to success we want them to have as much information from our experience as possible so they’re not wasting their time on anything. You know if you’re an early-stage entrepreneur unless you’ve done it before it’s all new and it’s pretty [00:12:00] obscure.

Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, that sounds like a very important topic and one that I also feel segues into what is your perspective about the general value of startup week overall

Barbara Bauer: Well, it’s it’s clear that Fort Collins like many other communities in Colorado is just full of people with good ideas. And lots of hard work, and it’s a challenge though to connect people with those ideas and ventures to investors Rockies Venture Club has a collaboration with a group of investors in Fort Collins and so once a month we are up their meeting with investors and presenting pitches from early stage companies. We also host a monthly event called a mastermind where founders can come and meet with me or others from the Rocky Venture Club staff and literally bring up any current [00:13:00] challenge they have with their venture frequently it’s about funding, but not always. And I know that because of the University because of the general business community, Fort Collins where only seeing a tiny tiny fraction of what’s really possible in Fort Collins, and so I think the whole objective of Startup Week in Fort Collins is to bring focus and resources and attention and ideas together so that that collaboration can then really produce more results for Fort Collins.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful Barbara that leads me to my next question of what advice would you give to a first-time attendee coming to Startup week?

Barbara Bauer: Oh go to as many events as possible and take a look at the entire agenda and pick out the ones that match what your current priorities are. Because there are so many different things that you can attend as an example [00:14:00] my colleague Dave Harris from Rockies Venture Club he will be doing a session how to pitch and that’s an essential opportunity for any early-stage founder who thinks they’re going to get front of an investor. I mean we do events to help entrepreneurs learn how to pitch all the time and many entrepreneurs come in with what they think is the right pitch, but they haven’t really understood it from what the investor is looking for and we really want to save them a lot of time and energy and we certainly don’t want them to fail when they get in front of an investor, and so take a look at the entire agenda of events and pick the ones that are that really are aligned with what your current priorities are. And sign up early.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great Barbara. What would you say is your vision for the future of Fort Collins?

Barbara Bauer: Oh, my goodness. It’s one of the most powerful economic development engines in the state. It has [00:15:00] incredible traditional agriculture and natural resource assets. It’s got the university in the university is really an amazing economic development engine. I think we haven’t yet fully exploited all of the ways that we could collaborate and gotten opportunities events and activities that might start in startup week, but continues through the year because entrepreneurs and investors won’t just need one week a year. You know we need a full calendar of events that really bring the entire community together wonderful.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you, Barbara, and your session is Monday February 26th at 11 a.m.. Ask Me Anything Women Investors and Angels. Thank you so much for joining me.

Barbara Bauer: Oh you’re welcome. Thank you. It was a pleasure.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m on the line with Emily Wilson director of communication for Innosphere. Hi Emily.

Emily Wilson: Hi hello.

Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for being here. [00:16:00] There are several sessions going on with innosphere for Startup Week, and I wanted to mention that on Thursday March 1st at noon is a session called Raising Capital for Your Company’s Successful Exit How your merger and acquisition strategies affect Capital with PJ Williams. Could you talk a little bit about what that course is about?

Emily Wilson: Yeah? We’re really excited about Techstars Startup Week, Fort Collins this year because what Innosphere is doing is really opening the type of curriculum and sessions that we usually provide to our client companies, but for some of these sessions we’re opening it up to the broader community, so they can get an inside peek into the issues and struggles that high-tech entrepreneurs go through on a daily basis. So this is one of the sessions we’re excited about to invite startup week participants to attend here at Innosphere and PJ Williams is the Innosphere staff person leading that session and he’s here with me [00:17:00] today to talk more about it.

Vanessa Pagan: Hi PJ.

PJ Willams: Hello. Are you doing?

Vanessa Pagan: I’m doing great. Thanks for being here.

PJ Willams: I’m glad to do it, so I’ve only said you know we’re really excited about this opportunity and for the session obvious speaking yet, you know what we want to focus on is for startup companies and Colorado here. We really want to help them be focused on strategic planning from the beginning. You know as a startup startup company have a lot going on a lot to manage if you’re single founder. There’s so many requests for your time and sometimes you get so focused on the short-term you don’t have time to plan for the long-term and when you’re building your business we just want to make sure that they always have a plan for where they want to take their business. They have goals laid out and strategic plan to get there and so really we just want to point out some steps helping them think about how to do equity modeling how to do financial forecast, how to know when and who to talk to from a potential investment standpoint. I’m in really just help them create a plan to achieve the success of looking forward their company.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great begin with the end in mind right

[00:18:00] PJ Willams: exactly.

Vanessa Pagan: Excellent PJ if there was something you could share as a one of your lessons learned from your career. What could you share with start-up attendees?

PJ Willams: I think it goes back to what I just talked about a lot is just you know sometimes a company will sit there and again be focused on the short-term and take a action today or make a decision today and not think about how it’s going to affect them down the line, and you know those decisions could cost them money cause some equity cost them customers whatever it may be and so again wanting to always think about both the short-term and the long-term in conjunction with one another decisions for the company can be made.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you so much for sharing.

Emily, there is another session that innosphere is hosting on Tuesday February 27 at 10:15 a.m. called from Ideas to a business establishing your competitive Advantage. How your culture and investment philosophy defines your strategic competitive Advantage with [00:19:00] Bud Michael.

Could you talk a little bit about what that Workshop is about?

Emily Wilson: Yeah definitely so we are packing a lot of information into two hours here from 10:15 to 12:15. For all of our sessions we usually always try to keep it to one hour, but there’s so much good information in this topic. We really wanted to take advantage of everyone being excited about events during this week and have a two hour session on this topic to talk about beachhead markets and the tools that entrepreneurs need to really choose and focus on their beachhead market so that they’re not all over the place also building scale and to talk about some laws that impact your company’s scale and then we’ll also talk a lot about customer development interviews how to go about those, and how your customer development interviews affect your validation of the product you’re looking to achieve and Bud Michael who’s leading this session he runs our Enterprise software so B2B software program and also works with hardware companies. [00:20:00] So he’s a really valuable resource as well when it comes to just being a mentor and advisor in our community to software and Hardware startups.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and there’s also a session on Thursday March 1st at 10:30 a.m.. Called Investor Relations with Doug Johnson. Could you talk a little bit about what that Workshop is about?

PJ Willams: Yeah, so what this topic is about covering investor relations is really helping companies understand the difference to investors that are out there when and how to engage with those investors. The expectations those investors will have from a due diligence perspective and then post successful investment from one of these investors. How do you manage the ongoing relationship? How do you communicate? How things are going with the company? How do you communicate Financial Health of the company? Just wanting to make sure that you stay engaged with your investors to build that relationship.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you PJ, Emily. PJ. Could you share a little bit about what your vision is for the future of Fort [00:21:00] Collins,

Emily Wilson: so we here at Innosphere we definitely are looking into the future because now that Innosphere has been around we’re approaching 20 years in operation we definitely want to be here in another 20 years. And so long-term financial sustainability and building a program that enhance job creation and entrepreneurship in Northern, Colorado are extremely important for us specifically when it comes to the life science industry we’re really looking to build up capacity there. Not only in programs, but also in facilities to expand lab space so that entrepreneurs that are in life science companies have the facilities they need in order to grow their biosciences and Innosphere has locations all along the Front Range in Colorado to better support all Colorado entrepreneurs, but we will always be headquartered here in Fort Collins.

Vanessa Pagan: Is there anything that you either of you would like to share that we didn’t get a chance to cover in the the questions here?

Emily Wilson: There’s a [00:22:00] lot of things Innosphere is excited about. so before the week kicks off on Monday, Innosphere actually partnering with the Institute for Entrepreneurship at CSU to hold a startup weekend event that’s happening here Innosphere the weekend before the big startup week and then on Tuesday åwe have our big two hour session during the day, but at night we are hosting here the Northern Colorado Food Cluster annual meeting, which the Food Cluster has been doing a lot of great things to support food entrepreneurs. So we’re extremely happy to have them here in the building at the same time on Tuesday night Fort Collins Internet professionals are also meeting here, and then on Wednesday night there will be a Meetup of AWS which is Amazon Web Services meet up, so you can go on the schedule and find a plethora of a lot of different [00:23:00] whether it’s meetups or educational, sessions, but I just I hope that everyone realizes that there are so many resources and mentors in the community, and if they’ve ever wondered where those people or organizations, are they definitely need to attend something during startup week because no matter what you attend there will be at least one nugget of information that you will take away that will affect how you drive your business forward, and there’s a lot of webinars out there, but this week with all of these in-person sessions, there’s nothing that can really replace that and when it comes to advisers and mentors one thing we’re really excited about is that Innosphere has a robust advisor program called the Sage Advisors and some of it Innoshpere Sage advisors are partnering with the mentors at the Small Business Development Center and holding free office hours to give a free Consulting [00:24:00] sessions to people at startup week who sign up for those one-on-one mentoring sessions

Vanessa Pagan: Are those on Monday, Mentor Monday?

Emily Wilson: Yes so if you have a lot of specific questions, maybe when it comes to needing advice someone with a law background or marketing background or Business Development background check out those mentoring hours and sign up for those.

Vanessa Pagan: This great I’m so glad that you were able to tell all about the different activities and sessions that Innosphere is participating in with Startup week. That’s a wonderful resource. Thank you.

Emily Wilson: Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

PJ Willams: You’re very welcome. Take care.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line I have Cindy Skalicky, who is the owner of On Point Communication. She is doing a speaking session on Thursday March 1st at noon called Master Your Message. How your communication adjusts as your startup grows. Hi Cindy.

Cindy Skalicky: Hi. How are you Vanessa?

Vanessa Pagan: I am doing great. Thanks for being here.

Cindy Skalicky: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Vanessa Pagan: What would you [00:25:00] say you hope that people get out of coming to start up with there’s going to be so much going on during this whole week and all kinds of different areas. What do you hope people get by being a part of it?

Cindy Skalicky: That’s a great question. I would say I hope that people come to Fort Collins Startup Week and get motivation to press on with whatever their current project or venture is. I hope they get community connections with people that they haven’t met before that can help them further their idea or business, and I also hope they get thought-provoking events that are put on by really great speakers who can help others really build in some of the places. Maybe they’re not able to build by themselves where a great community and Fort Collins is an excellent place for people to connect grow and thrive.

Vanessa Pagan: Of the people who get to come to your session specifically. What do you hope that they leave with?

Cindy Skalicky: Absolutely. I hope that when people come to my session they bring with them a sense of awareness about [00:26:00] themselves for one because what I’m going to do is walk people through three different stages of communication, but I have seen across all kinds of different startups a lot of times when people start a new business, consulting agency whatever it might be. They begin with networking conversations, and so a lot of people go out have a lot of coffees, lots of one-on-one conversations, so those are unique because there’s the non-verbal and the verbal component of a coffee conversation and you want to be able to master that so once you’ve really gotten a good Network going you want to get your idea out there in a more professional way. A lot of the companies I work with are getting ready to do some pitch competitions for example, and so we’re doing a pitch competition at the startup week, which I’m really excited about and that’s an area that I definitely help people achieve message mastery by doing I help them with pitch deck. disconnects in terms of slide decks,  presentation presence, delivery and [00:27:00] importantly how to rehearse that delivery and then the third piece if you really get beyond that pitch you had investment interest maybe some fat checks right that everybody would love to put in their pocket. It’s time to go out and do some media interviews and consider how you’re going to disseminate your message through press release writing and social media platform messaging and those are some larger stage areas where messaging is really important.

So there’s a progression from small to medium to large essentially and I hope people will come with some ideas of how they can do that.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome that gives people a chance to say wherever you are on your journey of your startup or your projects or your mission that there’s a message that can be tailored just for them.

Cindy Skalicky: Exactly so that’s going to be our focus and I’m looking forward to seeing where everybody is will have a chance to stand up and do introduction right then so you can practice a little bit and get friendly feedback, and [00:28:00] we’ll get some strategies and action-oriented tips by the time they leave the room.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, okay, I have one more minute and my last question is Cindy, I know you’re from Chicago right? So you are one of the wonderful people who have been attracted by the magnetism Fort Collins.  What would you say is your idea of the future of the city?

Cindy Skalicky: That’s a great question so when I started to work with startups in Fort Collins over the past few years it was immediately the case that I saw the rich culture that was here. There are just so many wonderful. People with innovative ideas and a real grit to get it done. The other piece is the collaborative nature that I noticed right away. People are so giving and compassionate about ideas and the time that they will spend with you to just talk ideas around so it’s a rich culture for startups so the vision when I think about Fort [00:29:00] Collins, I just know that there’s so much potential here.

We are definitely a star on the map when it comes to places where startups should grow and then go. So for me as a pitch coach. It’s my goal to be a part of that vision and help speakers get on the stage and nail it so that they can get their investment and their business will grow and they can expand to the to the goals that they’ve created for themselves and their business and ultimately grow the economy. I think it’s a wonderful week to celebrate that.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you so much for being on the line Cindy.

Cindy Skalicky: You’re welcome. Thank you Vanessa my pleasure.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line. I have Joe Somodi who is the founder and producer of FoCo Speaks Out! He is leading a speaking session for FoCo Speaks Out on February 26th, which is Monday at 3 p.m.. Hi Joe.

Joe Somodi: Hey, how’s it going?

Vanessa Pagan: It’s going great. Can you tell us a little bit about what you think attendees can expect out FoCo Speaks Out?

Joe Somodi: I think they’re going to get a flavour [00:30:00] of what the larger presentation was on December 6th. We had a 90-minute presentation we held at a local theater in Fort Collins and with an amazing reception of almost 200 people that showed in a theater that sits 116. And they’re going to get a flavour of what that like after that then we’ll get a chance to really dig deep and have a dialogue around the potentiality for cultural change of this kind of idea because what we’re really looking for Vanessa is a way to galvanize a group of people community members who really want to see social change around social justice, more equality, more diversity more equity, and it’s really important that we get clear on those paths at possibilities, and that’s where the group will come in. We really want everyone to be very dynamically involved in interaction and we’re going to create 30 minutes of discussion around that.

Vanessa Pagan: Sounds great, and it sounds very interactive a lot of energy in terms of bringing ideas together with the the ability to network and have community building.

Joe Somodi: Yeah, I [00:31:00] mean this is really about being a part of the solution so  it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be involved in that part of it, but you definitely can bring your ideas to the table and we’d love to hear how you’ve seen it done before or even just spontaneous ideas that come up to you as you see the presentation. I’m going to show up a very quick 3-minute video that I created from the December 6 event so people can actually see what happened there and get energized by that but mostly I want people to be a part of the pulse of this conversation because there’s so much positivity in Fort Collins around this concept. Lots of different types of groups of people want to be involved in this. Meaning the city of Fort Collins to foundations to corporations, so it’s important for me to hear from community members how they see this happening, and how it can be effective.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. What would you say to someone attending startup week for the first time there’s going to be over a hundred and thirty sessions and over a hundred different speakers. What would you tell the person who’s coming for the first time?

Joe Somodi: Be very open to listening and writing lots of notes [00:32:00] and being very bold with shaking hands and being uncomfortable when you shake those hands and being ready to ask intriguing questions to people about their life, and not make it so centric about you necessarily, and what you need, but really be open just to hearing people’s stories getting people talking about what their life is all about and what they’ve been up to and if you kind of distance yourself from your own agenda you can get out of the way a little bit and just allow the kind of the fluidity of this kind of event all these amazing people who are coming together to really come to you and let inspiration lead you in that way, and then maybe down the road after the whole event over with you’ll start to see where the alignment is naturally, and if you find one or two amazing alignments over this week you’ve done a lot for your life. And and I would say that’s a that’s a huge win on your part.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Joe. Can you tell us a little bit about the vision that you have for the future of Fort Collins?

Joe Somodi: I see a lot of diverse leaders in our community, where [00:33:00] business businesses are run by diverse leaders, the city staff and council members are diverse as well. So there’s a sense of nurturing those leaders keeping people in our community is really important, so we want to create an environment where people want to stay for decades so that they’re willing to invest their energy and their talents into this community and I also see a time where we don’t hear hate. We don’t hear intolerances that people can handle themselves with a lot more grace and peace and love. And whatever differences that we see and the community around us we can hold those in a more special place in our body in our mind in our spirit.

So it doesn’t cause more tension and so that we can be more welcoming to the homeless. We can be more welcoming to all the different kinds of people that want to live here that makes it makes everybody feel like they matter.

Vanessa Pagan: And Joe if there was someone that you could recognize for the hard work and effort that they’ve done to make Fort [00:34:00] Collins the great City that it is right now. Who would you want to recognize?

Joe Somodi: That’s a really great question, Vanessa. I’m not going to actually answer that specifically with one person. I would say that what I’m experiencing from the community is everyone’s good and unique flavor and unique voice and unique talent, and I’m seeing those people who really want to make a difference they’re stepping out there. They’re getting into their discomfort.  They’re dealing with the challenges of building something in this community, but they’re moving through all those challenges, and they’re finding a way to share their voice in their talent people are doing that through music, people are doing that through art people are doing that through creating a business. People are doing that in small ways in this community, so I really feel like I’m seeing a lot of people wanting to be more invested in Fort Collins, and I think that’s the thing that matters. And that we should all feel really encouraged by where’s my voice. Where’s my talent? How can I move it forward? Pay it forward to this community because that’s what’s going to make it really work down the road. We can be a little [00:35:00] less self focused and a little bit more group community focus, and I think that’s the future.

Vanessa Pagan: That was a great answer. Thanks. Joe.

Joe Somodi: Yeah, thank you Vanessa.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m on the line with Peggy Lyle. She’s the director of the downtown Fort Collins creative district and an organizer of ArtUp Week. Hi Peggy.

Peggy Lyle: Hi.

Vanessa Pagan: You are moderating a session on Tuesday February 27th at noon, Plugged In: be part of City of Fort Collins Arts and Public Arts Programs. Can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees get from the session your moderating?

Peggy Lyle: Well, I would love to make sure that people have a sense of how they can be engaged in our community and especially in comes from wonderful programs at the city of Fort Collins offers for artists to make public art, be engaged and really connect with other artists.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great, and what do you hope attendees get out of coming to our top week and startup week?

Peggy Lyle: I really hope that they come away with a sense of [00:36:00] possibility. I think many times people just need to have that little kernel of information a best practice or making a connection with somebody to realize that some of their business dreams can actually turn into a successful business model. I would love to have people walk away with some of the right tools to move their businesses forward and think of art as a business. The whole week has so many resources and we have so many great connections and support organizations in Fort Collins if I can move people a little closer to those connections. I’ll consider it a success

Vanessa Pagan: And Peggy from your background and experience could you share with us one of your top lessons learned?

Peggy Lyle: Yeah, definitely my top lessons learned I think when it’s thinking about artists and creatives. I think one of the things that happens is people often are worried about being in business and that somehow that will violate their art or their [00:37:00] passion, and I think it’s just the opposite. They need to think of themselves as business people and use some of the conventional tools so that they can have a successful career in what they love.

And in vice versa is people don’t consider themselves creative sometimes I think being able to be creative about your approaches makes you more holistic. So at the end of the day really both entities need each other to be successful in their businesses as far as my own personal experience I think plan really well, but then be flexible. So you know what kind of you’re going for you’ve got your strategic goals set out. You know your business, but then when another opportunity comes your way or something else interferes with your plans you’re still mobile enough to be successful and to kind of modify your plan.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. I actually really like the idea that art and business aren’t exclusive to each other and that they can be in the same, the same person or same [00:38:00] organization. So I’m glad that you’re you’re sharing that.

Peggy. Could you share with us your vision of what the future of Fort Collins can looks like?

Peggy Lyle: Yeah, I think it Fort Collins has it really on an amazing trajectory as the city I think we have so many entrepreneurs here so many people thinking creatively about what they can do in the world we tend to be a city of starters. Which I love I think I’d like to see us sort of expand our city’s brand to encompass creativity so that we’re really raising that quintessential way of life, and why people choose to live in a community all creative and that includes Arts that includes you know passions like brewing beer so I think expanding notions of what we are as a city I think that’s really important. I’d like to see us have even more kind of world-class campuses, so maybe having creative activity [00:39:00] campuses you know Community Arts Center. More campuses like the music District would be amazing. You know having more murals and displays of kind of our culture around. So again immersing the entire city and all of our wonderful passions just putting them on display and how can we do that. I also think it would be wonderful to kind of focus on our reputation maybe of cultivating new talent and sowing the seeds for people to really grow and be fostered here they may not stay the entire time, and I think that’s a challenge to get them to stay. So how can we be okay with being the place that people are incubated and that people start and we cultivate that even if they move on to larger markets after that. I think that’s a great thing for us to embrace about ourselves and not worry about trying to keep everyone here. We’ve got a lot of new talent coming up all the time.

Other great things. I’d love to see performs. I’d love to see a little more Innovative technology kind of deployed into transportation [00:40:00] into some of our sort of our systems, so we’re going to be Innovative I want to see Innovative and creative signs I want to see more unique thinking kind of like what we’ve had with Mason Street Corridor, and you know our broadband and some of our things like that I like to continue to see Fort Collins excel in that range.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer you have you’ve got a vision for every part of the future. I love it.

Peggy Lyle: Well. Yeah, I mean I guess I I’ve been here for a while. I also I get one last thing that I would love it. I would love for Fort Collins to not just be a place of starter, but be a place of finishers and so that when we start endeavors. Maybe they’re more collaborative endeavors, and them are consolidated so that resources go to one place and really it thrives instead of five little things all starting and trying to kind of unfortunately probably compete with each other. We just have like one or two big things start and that way we can really triple down and succeed together. I think that and I know the cross spent all the different like nonprofits and [00:41:00] for-profit businesses. Just seeing those efforts kind of working together. We collaborate, but we don’t always put it under one roof, and I think that would be beneficial.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great perspective. Peggy, if you could give recognition to someone or an organization in Fort Collins that you feel has not been recognized who would you like to give a shout out to?

Peggy Lyle: Oh gosh, you know one that I think really really deserves recognition is the Larimer County Small Business Development Center. Really just such an amazing resource, but I don’t know if everyone in our business Community knows is here. I mean almost like all of their consulting is free. You know if you’re getting free business advice from people who have expertise and so many different areas. They have workshops. It’s this great accelerator that people can use if you’re a brand new start up and have zero business knowledge, or you can go in as an established business and say Hey, I want to take it to the next level or [00:42:00] you know I I’ve been in business for ten years and things, are you know sort of not staying fresh, and I business needs some help. Or I need to understand my numbers again. Why are my numbers going down that all that kind of support is in this amazing little office over in the Innosphere building, and so, I wish that more people knew about them, and it could take advantage of them.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great shout out.

Peggy Lyle: Yeah, and again it’s it’s really accessible to everybody so and with more in a more engagement they can probably provide even more kind of services to the community, but I think it’s something I worked for the downtown, Fort Collins Business Association for 13 years, and we were Partners, but you know between that and the Chamber and all these other business-oriented resources in town. I wish that they were funneling even more people to the center so that they could really do their businesses justice and take it to that next level that be great.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful Peggy. You did it. This is the whole interview all the questions answered. [00:43:00] Alright, Peggy. thanks so much. I will see you face-to-face.

Peggy Lyle: Yeah. Thank you so much. OK. Have a great day.

Do The Work – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Episode Notes

Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the Startup FoCo podcast episode 04.  I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.

In this pre-event episode, we have 8 guests who remind us to do the work. From getting our message right to resources available at the library.

Let’s get into the interviews.

Leslie Oliver, Comcast

Angel Kwiatkowski

Chrysta Bairre

Ariana Friedlander

Katie Auman

Renee Walkup

Nick Armstrong

Kristin McMahon

Episode Recognitions

Andrew Schneider
Nick Armstrong
Jessica Rawley
Janna Knapp Sanchez and LaunchNo.CO
Ann Baron Northern Colorado Community
Darin, City Manager
InnosphereEmily Wilson, Mike Freeman
Mayor Troxell
Sarah Scobey
Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
Larimer County SBDC

Do The Work – Episode 04 – Transcript

Vanessa Pagan: Leslie, Comcast is a sponsor for Fort Collins Startup Week, correct?

Leslie Oliver: Correct. We are a returning sponsor this year for the 2018 Fort Collins Startup Week.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Could you tell us a little bit about what’s important about Fort Collins Startup Week for Comcast?

Leslie Oliver: Well at Comcast we see Fort Collins startup week as really the perfect opportunity for companies like ours to engage with entrepreneurs local leaders community members and really help convene opportunities for people to connect with each other and our community and to highlight all of the innovation that’s the future of Fort Collins and the state of Colorado.

Vanessa Pagan: That was good. It was a great take away. Could you tell us a little bit about a share from your experience of one of your best lessons learned that you think attendees would benefit knowing about?

Leslie Oliver: Sure. The obvious answer is that you know attendees should join as many sessions as they can, talk to as many people as they can, and come with an open mind, you know for us we thought engaging in Fort Collins startup week is really learning what makes Fort Collins unique and what makes the startup community, what powers the startup community.

Comcast and has a large presence in Fort Collins we’ve got a new customer service center, that’s employing currently around 300 people. We’ve got a new Xfinity store located at the shops at Foothills and so many other employees across our business who call Fort Collins home, and what we found is there’s really nothing like meeting and connecting in person with the community, with the innovators, with the entrepreneurs that are our friends and our neighbors up there and just be a part of that thought process and that you know that partnership that really is driving the innovative spirit in Fort Collins.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. How would you describe your vision for what the future for Collins can look like in five years or ten years?

Leslie Oliver: Fort Collins is full of innovators and an entrepreneur spirit. It’s a forward-thinking community that offers businesses a competitive advantage with all the educational opportunities, the thriving economy, and it’s really an advantage for not just Fort Collins, but the entire Northern Colorado area to have an opportunity to create and grow. We really think that bold ideas and entrepreneurship are a core part of our DNA at Comcast, and we’re really proud to support that Fort Collins in Northern Colorado Community of these great inventors and Founders and innovators who are building businesses there.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Leslie, if there was someone that you could publicly recognized for their hard work in the Fort Collins Northern Colorado area who would you want a shout out to?

Leslie Oliver: Big big shout out to Andrew Schneider. He’s one of the organizers of Fort Collins startup week, and he has just worked tirelessly to ensure the Fort Collins startup week runs flawlessly year after year. He’s just been the heart and soul of the week and his creative thinking and positive attitude, and you know continuing to to come up with new and different ways to engage in the community have just been key and critical to the success of the week. So we’re really proud to work with Andrew and proud of all the hard work. He’s put in to engage with us in so many other businesses in the area.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Thank you so much.

On the line with me now is Angel Kwiatkowski, who is the founder of Cohere, the first and largest community manage shared office space in Fort Collins, Colorado. Angel, hello.

Angel Kwiatkowski: Hi.

Vanessa Pagan: Could you tell us a little bit about what you hope people get out of going to Fort Collins startup week?

Angel Kwiatkowski: Sure. I hope that people meet a new friend. I think that’s important, and it’s so hard to do if you’re stuck in the same office every day. I hope that people learn new that helps them either personally or with their business, and I hope that they kind of get their minds blown in some way I don’t know how yet.

Vanessa Pagan: I like that. I  like that. And on Monday February 26th at 9am your session is co-working supercharge your business and have fun doing it. What do you hope attendees will get out of hearing you speak?

Angel Kwiatkowski: I hope that our session, which is just a bunch of people who are already members of co-working spaces, I’ll help them tell their stories about how coworking has helped them and their businesses. But I would love to sort of demystify what coworking is for people who’ve been reading about it or seen in the news, but never actually experienced it. That it’s so much more than just a place where you bring your up and work. It’s really about meeting friends and getting to know people that you never maybe would have. To kind of dismantle the loneliness that happens when you work for yourself or work at home, and I hope to just inspire people to explore coworking a little more deeply and to take advantage of all the free co-working days that have our happening all week.

Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, that’s a wonderful thing. I’m a big fan of co-working, and I’m glad that during startup week there’s going to be co-working opportunities for everyone to try it out every day.

Angel, if you could share one of the top lessons learned that you’ve had from your experience with start-up week attendees what would you tell us?

Angel Kwiatkowski: I wouldn’t tell people to go to some sessions that you know absolutely makes sense to you, and you know you kind of have an idea of what you’re going to learn and that will be helpful for you, but then I would also encourage people to try out sessions that make no sense to you in my particular instance it’s anything to do with Block Chain. I just I absolutely don’t understand it and so whenever I see something about watching I try to challenge myself to go to it so that my face looks less confused when people talk about it and to even try to go to places you’ve never been we’ve got some venues for start-up week that are outside of Old Town. I would encourage people to jump on the Max, or take the shuttle that’s being offered and head a little further south to attend some sessions down there.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful and while you’re talking about the ability to get out of Old Town could you tell us  about what you hope your vision for Fort Collins is?

Angel Kwiatkowski: I think my hope would be that Fort Collins can continue to find its way in the world of startup without subscribing to the way startup is talked about on the internet. The concepts that startups are built to be sold, need to get VC, have to have funding have to go really quickly, have to lose themselves into the startup in order to start up I think is a false fairytale, and I think Fort Collins knows that on a deeper level. And I hope that people who start businesses in Fort Collins and come here and want to start businesses understand that wants to do it a little bit different, and we’re not going to be the next California, and we’re not going to be the next Boulder. We’re going to do it our way, and I think it’s the better way.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great keeping the authenticity of what makes Fort Collins, Fort Collins is a great message because I hear you with the idea of a startup –  startups have to have theirs these expectations of what it means to be a startup, and the reality is a start-up can have many different variations depending on the founders the product the audience they’re serving. So I am a proponent to keep Fort Collins, Fort Collins

Angel Kwiatkowski: Yeah, and I want to give a shout out to Andrew. He’s done so much for all of us by changing startup week from what it was just a few years ago and every year it comes around it gets more authentic and we see a broader type of people in type of business doing presentations and getting involved, and I think it’s perfect and absolutely what our community needs.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you for being on the line Angel.

I have Arianna Friedlander on the line with me who is the founder of Rosa Bella Consulting and the author of the book, A Misfit Entrepreneurs Guide to building a Business Your Way. Hi, Ariana.

Ariana Friedlander: Hey Vanessa.

Vanessa Pagan: Could you tell us a little bit about what you hope start-up attendees get out of attending Fort Collins startup week this year?

Ariana Friedlander : Oh man I hope that start-up attendees get. some inspiration that’s actionable so and and some grounding. I think it’s really important to just get a true sense of what it takes to be an entrepreneur and to take an idea from your mind to market, and then really get some insights into what do I need to do to make that happen because I think that real learning occurs when you can change your behavior, and you can see ways to improve how you’re showing up in the world and with your ideas.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s Great, and you have a session Tuesday February 27th at 9 a.m.. called the Neuroscience of conversation what every entrepreneur needs to know. What do you hope attendees get out of your session specifically?

Ariana Friedlander : For me personally learning about the Neuroscience of Conversation has been life changing both personally and professionally and so when when we’ve all been part of the conversational dynamics I think where something’s just not working the things are going south. It seems like we’re on the same page, but then we walk away, different things occurred and we anticipate. And so for me understanding what’s happening neurochemically in those moments has just been transformational and giving people that insight so that you can understand like there’s actually something neurochemically happening that impacts the way we engage in conversation and then can impact the way our conversational partners are engaging with us, and once you start to understand that you can change your neurochemistry in the moment. And so you can go from being argumentative or stress about a conversation to connecting on a deeper level with somebody and being able to co-create some amazing solutions to problems and for me being able to apply that and in my efforts to build a business, it has been amazing because my customers have amazing insights and I want to be able to leverage them and build products and services that fit their needs. And when I can have those kinds of co-creative conversations that’s possible. For me, learning conversational intelligence has leveled up my game.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome that’s a great share. You’re giving us tools to be able to have new words of saying what we do.

Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, and understanding just those things that we feel like we all have been in a conversation where seems like we’re getting along really well, and we’re on the same page and then someone goes from 0 to 60. It could be yourself or someone you’re speaking with and all of a sudden they’re shutting down, turning Away not engaging. And there’s actually something happening neuro chemically that explains that and so those feelings aren’t just woo woo.There’s something there. So it’s nice to be able to provide some scientific basis for it, So that it’s like oh we get it. It makes sense now and you can do something about it when you understand.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s powerful. Arianna if you could share one thing about what you found most valuable that you’ve learned as in your professional career, what would you share with us?

Ariana Friedlander : I think for me, it’s been really learning to trust myself. You know when you decide to be an entrepreneur and serve business so many people that have ideas of what you should do and maybe getting for years I really took that advice to heart and questioned and doubted myself and made decisions based out of fear instead of out of what intuitively was right for me. And learning to check myself and distinguish, I say in my book distinguishing between the voice of my inner critic and wisdom of my inner genius has just been hugely beneficial because every time I listen to my inner critic, things didn’t pan out the way I was expecting them to and when I listen to those insights for my inner genius, and we all have one you know, that’s where amazing things have occurred.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing. I like that. The inner genius and the inner critic.  Excellent.

Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, yeah, it’s a way to for me it’s a kind of frame it and see that there’s these two distinct voices and one is very helpful, and one is generally just causing me to get off track. Every once in a while you need that fear, fear voice, but not as often as I think. For me, it was presenting itself.

Vanessa Pagan: Great. The next question is what do you see for the future of Fort Collins in five years ten years?

Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, that is I feel like such a hard question to answer. It’s such a big one is you know I want so much for our community I think that we do have a fantastic community as it is. And we have a lot of room for improvement and growth and I know things like affordable housing and poverty and discrimination that happen in our community are really I think concerning and I don’t think that we really bring those to the forefront enough to address, and I think that’s so they’re important issues to address and like I said think there’s some great things that are already happening in our community, and I just do this continuing to happen our commitment to sustainability and walkability and things like that I think are really powerful and profound and it’ll be exciting to see how those efforts level up.

I just imagine those continue to invest in ourselves and and learn from things that are working and things that don’t quite work out right, but I really hope we address some of those on systemic issues in the future. I think that’s really important for a thriving and innovative community.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome and last bonus question, is , is there someone that you would like to acknowledge for their hard work and effort in what they do in the Fort Collins Community?

Yeah, I think there’s so many people that are doing such an amazing work. I mean everyone. That’s organizing startup week. You know really just you know their hearts are in the right place you know. I know Andrew Schneider and Nick Armstrong, then the tremendous amount of work in our community for startup weekend for other events like Comic-Con and things like that.

I think Jessica Rawley’s done amazing work really in the entrepreneurial sphere both at CSU and beyond. She has moved on from CSU and Janna Knapp Sanchez and launchNo.CO are also amazing since there’s just so many great people in our community, and I think all of those people deserve recognition and so many others that I probably forgetting to name and I apologize about that.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s okay thank you for naming the names that you have because this is our chance to recognize and say these people work hard thank you.

Ariana Friedlander: Yeah. Yeah, I am so grateful for the sense of camaraderie and collaboration that occurs in Fort Collins. It’s definitely one of the things I love about our community.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for being on the line with me.

We have Chrysta Bairre who is a career coach speaker author and founder of Live Love and Work. Chrysta, thanks for being here.

Chrysta Bairre: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited about Fort Collins start if weeks this year.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m excited about you you have three sessions. Yes. I do you have three sessions you have two that are on March first the first one is at 10:30 selling your services without being sales e and then at 4 p.m. She leads. Women leaders in the boardroom and Beyond and then Friday March 2nd at 10:30 a.m.. You have overcoming imposter syndrome Chrysta, what would you hope that your attendees get out of your sessions?

Chrysta Bairre: What I really want my attendees to get out of sessions that they come through of mine is to be able to walk out of that room feeling prepared to make more offers to their ideal clients and to be able to make more money with the people that they’re working with. Typically I find with a lot of the people that I work with in a lot of the speaking that I do is around how we can own our own value and get paid what we’re worth. Like we’re already doing a bunch of awesome workout in the world and a lot of entrepreneurs and Freelancers, solopreneurs just aren’t getting. Is the right value for the work that we’re actually doing.

Vanessa Pagan: What would you hope that an attendee of startup we get so there’s going to be over 130 sessions? What is your hope for the attendees?

Chrysta Bairre: I would love for people to come to Startup week and really get connected to the amazing entrepreneurial community that exists here in Fort Collins. I often meet with and talk to entrepreneurs that are connected with any kind of community here in Northern, Colorado, and they just don’t know of all the different resources that we have available to us and it’s really hard to be doing this type of work in a vacuum all on your own. And it’s great when you can get connected in with the right resources and the right communities so that you know where to go to for support and camaraderie and just being able to have someone to ask questions and that kind of a thing to help businesses be even more successful.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great because startups don’t exist on an island either we all need other people Chrysta, is there was something that you could share with first-time attendees. What would you tell them?

Chrysta Bairre: I would say definitely go to sessions that might challenge you if easy I think a lot of us might look at the schedule, and you pick out a few sessions that sounds interesting to you but I would encourage you to really challenge yourself with the sessions that you pick out. And go to one that might feel like it’s a little bit over your head, or you’re not really sure if it’s for you, but something about it just sounds interesting because one way that we can really grow individually as well as professionally and in our business is to challenge ourselves to take things to the next level and if we stick within our comfort zone we’re not going to be doing that.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. So out of the nest we go. Out of our comfort zone! Chrysta, if you could share with us what you hope the future of Fort Collins looks like what would you share?

Chrysta Bairre: I would love to see Fort Collins become even more inclusive and supportive of women business owners. I feel like there is some support that’s out there right now, but oftentimes I feel that it misses the mark a little bit in actually appealing to and helping women business owners. There is a boys clubs kind of environment that exists in Fort Collins particularly within the business world, and I think there’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of people that want inclusivity and want to help women business owners succeed just as much as other business owners. There are ways that we can do that was just some tweaks on what the community is already providing and offering.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome is there anything that you’d like to share Chrysta?

Chrysta Bairre: I think when people think of an event like startup week, networking is a natural or thing that we think of and people tell you that it’s good to do, and I have to say that I’m actually a little bit anti networking and I want to explain what I mean by that and that is that I really encourage people to go into startup week thinking about building community and connections versus networking.

I don’t tend to think that most of us have benefit from just trading business cards. It’s really having those conversations and finding those people, building relationships with people that are going to have long-term lasting impact and that really goes beyond just trading business cards. So whether you’re an introvert like me and the idea of networking seems little terrifying or even if your much more comfortable with the idea of networking really think about how can you connect with people on a deeper level, and not just on a surface level. And go beyond trading business cards into actually starting relationships.

Vanessa Pagan: That was awesome because when you said not networking I was like. Oh, what follows that sentence and really you change the meaning of networking from this superficial business card swap to what it means to build community. Which is a much deeper relationship that you have with other people. That’s great. Thank you so much for hopping on this call with me Chrysta.

On the line is Katie Auman, who is from the library representing here for us during Fort Collins startup week. Hi Katie.

Katie Auman: Hi good to talk to you.

Vanessa Pagan: Glad to have you on the line because the library is coming strong for start-up week you guys have three sessions. It’s awesome. On Monday February 26 at 1:30 p.m. there’s a session called business resources at the library on Tuesday February 27th at 12 p.m.. is a session called intro to self-publishing through the library and on Wednesday February 28th at 3 p.m.. Is FoCo non-profit networking group.

Can you tell us a little bit about what is the library hoping to have as an impact as having these sessions?

Katie Auman: Alsolutely. so one of the reasons that we’re excited about participating again with Startup Week is that there’s still a large sense of our community that doesn’t immediately think of the library as a natural partner for them in their start-up or the expansion of a business or whatever part of the life cycle that they’re in. So the different types of programs that we’re offering and some of the resources that will have available we really hope that attendees come to recognize the library is sort of a natural partner for them in fostering their business growth whether that working with our research databases or working directly with some of our specialized business Librarians to get the research and information that they need really to succeed in our community.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great, and what do you hope attendees get out of the entire event so there’s going to be over 130 speakers sessions. What do you hope attendees get out of being part of this?

Katie Auman: It kind of goes along with our own Library goals. There are amazing resources and opportunities here in Fort Collins for businesses whether it’s a you know a tech type startup working with Innosphere or more of a creative startup, food beer, artistry all those sorts of things really have a place here in Fort Collins and really strong community support. I feel like our city government and all of our various agencies the library the Small Business Development Center really do a great job of supporting local business and helping them kind of achieve their dreams.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful, and if you could share with us one of your top Lessons Learned with the startup week attendees. What would you share with us as your insight?

Katie Auman: You know one of the funniest things that actually that you ask that because we hear it not just at Startup Week but occasionally in other areas in the community and people are shocked that were more than just books. Certainly the library have a passion for books, and we will always have books, but when we start talking about all of the other resources available or services available whether it’s a 3D printer or the fact that people can test out of GoPro or a Fitbit. They’re just sort of in awe  of what a modern Library actually has available. And so last year when we participated there was a lot of great discussions, not just around the resources for business and startups, but also these other fun conversations like oh yeah, you can download comic books, or did you know that you can check out a Colorado Parks pass and get into a state park for free, so it’s it’s really that idea that libraries, a modern library really caters to information and entertainment and creativity in a lot of ways.

Vanessa Pagan: Katie, you know this is coming. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Katie Auman: Sometimes we do.

Vanessa Pagan: I know I know. And I know that’s not your lesson learned, but I just feel it’s so appropriate to say right now.

Katie Auman: It fits in so many situations doesn’t it?

Vanessa Pagan: OK no more book jokes with the library. I got it. I got it. Alright, my my last question for you Katie is as someone representing a very modern Library what would be your vision for the future of what for Collins looks like?

Katie Auman: That’s a big question and you know I I can only speak sort of on what I’ve experienced as a staff member with the library and and the different things that we’ve been involved in but I feel like the community is moving in a very positive direction and not just with its support for businesses and entrepreneurs, but we’re seeing some really strong conversations around key issues that that certainly we at the library encounter around homelessness and mental health and diversity and those are starting to become very critical conversations in the community and our neighbors and friends are having voices in those conversations.

I think that to continue to be a strong and fantastic community we have to have those conversations, and the library is very excited about being part of those and in fact hosting some of those conversations.

Wonderful that. That was a great answer. Thanks so much. Bye.

I’m on the line with Renee Walkup, CEO of Sales Peak. Hi Renee. Get Hollow Hi Renée. Hello. You hsessions during startup Hi Renee.

Renee Walkup: Hello.

You have three sessions during startup week on Monday February 26th at 1:30. You have a session Value of Mentoring and Being Mentored. On Tuesday February 27 at 3 p.m.. Top tips for securing new customers and you’re moderating also on Monday the 26 the 2 p.m.. Mentors speed dating.

Renee, can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of the sessions you’re a part of well.

Renee Walkup: It’s a very exciting week and so for the mentoring program our hope is that mentees, business owners people will come and find a mentor during this kind of speed dating session. The mentors will you know maybe find a mentee as well, so we hope this will be a valuable session. I’m going to spend a few minutes on top tips of mentoring and top tips for being a mentee during the session, so hopefully people will get some new ideas that they can use when they are speaking out somebody to either help or be helped by.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful, and can you share with us a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of the overall startup week event?

Renee Walkup: Well, I just want to say this is this will be my second startup week. Last year I was new to the area, and I will tell you that startup week changed my life. It was just amazing. I didn’t know people in the community. I didn’t have connection in the business environment and in the area so by going to startup week I made lots of friends. I had learned new things it was just a very exciting way to get to know people in the community and learn more about Fort Collins and the area so that was great and I’m more of that this year this year one contribute and give back.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. That’s so great to hear that that has been your experience and you’re already turning it around and giving back enhancing what’s available out there.

Renee, can you tell us a lesson learned in your. experience from your career. That would benefit start-up attendees to know?

Renee Walkup: I think it’s important to go with an open mind. I mean certainly that sounds like a cliche, but you know going having an idea of you know attending different sessions being involved getting to know the community meeting new people having fun, a week of getting information. New friends and having fun if I were to synthesize it into three different areas, so it’s just it’s a really exciting time around and I can’t wait to see who’s there and what we’re going to do.It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s amazing Renee, can you tell us a little bit about what you hope the future of Fort Collins looks like wow well I just attended the mayor and the city manager’s event last night, so it’s fresh on my mind, so there’s so much exciting things. There’s so many exciting things going on in our community. This is such a great place to live and you know I think that for the future. We’re looking future is bright. We have a highly educated community. We have people who are motivated and excited. We have a friendly area. I shouldn’t be advertising this should I.  but anyway we have such a great place It’s just such a great place to live and I love it personally. I mean I feel like I’m finally living the life. I’ve always wanted, being in Fort Collins and living in this great place with so many kind wonderful intelligent people. So has its downsides to but I I just choose to ignore those, but most things are so great here. I love it.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and if there was someone that you could recognize for the hard work that they’ve done in the Northern Colorado area who would you like to recognize?

Renee Walkup: Recognize Ann Baron. Ann Baron is such a terrific connector and the community she brings people together. She has an organization NOCO Northern I never know the whole name of it, but anyway Ann Baron, fabulous. She brings people together has event always such a wonderful connector. I think that our city manager Darin is fantastic. He very supportive of our business Community. I want to recognize, feel like I’m at the Academy Awards. Innosphere is fantastic and all the events they have there. So Emily Wilson and Mike Freeman. Then our mayor too I think that Mayor Troxell does a fantastic job of connecting people and being supportive and being around I see him regularly, I mean we’re not personal friends. I just see him at events I see him at at places that you wouldn’t expect to Mayor to show up. Just because he really does care about Fort Collins, so I again. It’s just such a terrific place to live and there’s such terrific community involvement.

Vanessa Pagan: Those are great answers. Thank you Renee.

I’ve got Nick Armstrong who is the Geek In Chief of WTF Marketing on the line. How are you doing Nick?

Nick Armstrong: I’m doing great. How are you?

Vanessa Pagan: I am wonderful. You have been so involved in startup week Comic-Con tedx foco. There’s just so many events that you have been critical in putting together and rallying around in Fort Collins. What would you say is your hope for people who attend the 2018 startup week?

Nick Armstrong: My hope for people who attend startup weekend 2018 is that they meet people that they haven’t been exposed to yet an idea is that they have never heard of before you know traditionally startup week has been you know the place where you go if you have an app and you want to know how to monetize it. Well it’s not that way anymore. Especially with Andrew Schneider at the helm who I am just absolutely thrilled to work besides, and you know I was funny because. As telling people I you know, I really want to work with Andrew. I really want to work it with Andrew I’ve never had a chance to have a project with them and finally finally he let me on the team for startup week, and it’s been a lot of fun ever since. And so one of the first things that the Andrew did was he pulled in some content captains and content captains are folks who are in charge of different areas of expertise and so they’re going to be pulling on there folks that they know who are experts in certain areas so for instance Angel Kwiatkowski who is one of the I would say she’s the foremost expert of coworking in Colorado, if not the country. She is really high up there, and so she has access to all these freelancers who know different things about freelancer concerns and freelancer issues, and she takes really good care for her community, and so we’re exposed to a whole new plethora of knowledge just because of that introduction, then you’ve got folks from the Innosphere, you’ve got folks from CSU you’ve got folks who are in charge of nonprofits and Sarah Scobey from the Poudre River Public Library District and. Anne I don’t remember her last name at the moment, but Anne, from the McDonald, Anne McDonald from the Poudre River Public Library District who is doing some awesome stuff in the realm of business research, and she’s the business librarian for the Poudre River Public Library District, so you’ve got this awesome awesome amalgamation of knowledge where what you know normally that just doesn’t happen unless you pay a bunch of people or go to college, right and so you pay a bunch of people or you go to college you can get that plethora of knowledge, but just. This is the one place where it seems to exist outside of that realm.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. You have two sessions at startup week the first is on Thursday March 1st Storytelling pays as a marketing technique at 9:15 a.m.. And then at 10:15 a.m.. You have negotiation and conflict management for Freelancers Nick. What do you hope people get out of attending your sessions?

Nick Armstrong: Well the first is I hope that they stop doing boring things in their marketing. It’s really my run a business called WTF Marketing as you mentioned earlier, and it’s a it’s an entire company, built around the premise that marketing can be fun and not just slogging through stats and Google analytics and tweeting on Twitter every single hour and making sure that you have influencers who are creating content and all my goodness right everybody’s falling asleep when they hear that.

Why don’t we have fun with our marketing? Let’s make sure that we’re actually connecting with our audience our customers and having a lot of fun doing so giving them memories that they’re going to take back with them to their friends their family and people telling you will not believe what happened when I shop with such and such when I went into their store, and this is what happened so that’s what I hope to get out of the first one. The second one I want freelancers to stop being abused, and it’s really really simple for a new freelancer because I know it happened to me to be abused in contract negotiations, and there’s just no reason for it. The best bet for a freelancer to get good negotiation expertise to hear it from fellow freelancers and what I’ve done is in this session. I’ve compressed all of my knowledge about negotiation, conflict management contract negotiation rate-setting I put it all into one place so that a freelancer could come and learn from one of their fellows who’s been there and done that.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great also sounds like a great connection with Angel because I had an interview with her yesterday, and she was so modest about the the role that she’s playing in creating co-working as this expansive reach for all kinds of Freelancers and Founders to be able to have somewhere to go.

Nick Armstrong: Yeah, and Angel really Angel was one of the people that I came up with in Fort Collins as well, and so we back in the day hosted what was called freelance Camp back when pod Camp was a big thing that was happening around the country and so she and I sort of co-organized this freelance Camp thing, and it was the largest Conference of its kind at the time for its like 150 to 250 Freelancers that got together and 2010 and just started talking about best practices. It was an unconference, so everybody got to decide what they wanted to talk about in a sort of you know form focus groups around that but it was a really fun time and that same energy and spirit is very much present in startup week, and I think that no matter if your solopreneur or a freelancer or a CEO of five to five hundred-person company you’re going to get something out of startup week. There’s so much content so much community involvement. I think that it’s something that you’ll really you just go and five minutes, and you’ll absorb some amazing things.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you so much for sharing Nick. We are about of time, but I am so glad that we were able to connect and do this interview.

Nick Armstrong: Of course. Thanks for having me.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m on the line with Kristin McMahon the founder of Einstein Creations. Hi Kirsten.

Kristin McMahon: Hi.

Vanessa Pagan: You have a session on February 27 Tuesday at 4 p.m. called, How do I talk about what I do. Can you share with us a little bit about what you hope attendees get from your session?

Kristin McMahon: Sure from my session you know it’s talking to people about what you do, right? So my intention is that intend attendees will feel empowered and equipped to network in a way that is fun, easy and effective for the desired outcome. Whether that’s exposure of their art new connections for their business or increased sales, so there’s a lot of preconceived notions or ideas about networking. I hesitate to use that word because of that but networking can feel like big scary things it’s really intimidating, or you could be the person that feels really confident in your networking, but when you look at your results from time money and effort put in your business business may not be growing as you had hoped so we have to think about networking as more than making friends or connection. Networking is really your face-to-face marketing and when you do it with intention it can be really easy and super profitable. The trick is to develop a way to talk about the what you do in a way that connects your target market. So when you’re asked the dreaded question, what do you do? You’re prepared to respond in a way that feels authentic is comfortable and easy and generate your desired outcome.

Vanessa Pagan: Wow. That’s a that’s a very succinct and clear answer. Thank you. So Kristen my next question is what do you hope attendees of startup we get over the course of the entire week?

Kristin McMahon: So for me this is my, the favorite question that we’ve got and that is I hope that they get exactly what they’re looking for. At one of the most important things anyone can do before they attend startup week or quite frankly any endeavor is to set an intention of what they want to get out of it. Take a minute, write it down. Exactly what they want to learn who they want to meet what they want to experience see feel and encounter. I mean that list could go on and on they may be looking for new connections, new ideas, new clients or that one thing that will change their business. And I would recommend may even do this before they go into each session. Write it down in a note before the session begins. What happens is this gives your brain something to focus on. If they do this, their subconscious mind will be working for them to find exactly what they’re looking for their thoughts their words their beliefs and expectations will make all the difference and start up with being an amazing experience or not. Intention is powerful, and I want them to get exactly what they hope to gain and it’s all possible with just a little bit of planning.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. You’re talking about the strategies for Neuroscience.

Kristin McMahon: Yeah. That’s exactly right.

Vanessa Pagan: Kristen, could you share with this one lesson learned from your experience in your career that would benefit start-up attendees to know about?

Kristin McMahon: Well, let’s see one lesson learned. I don’t know that I could narrow it down to just one let’s see I would say. Have a plan more than anything. It’s that kind of this kind of this place of having two documents in front of you at every moment right.

I think there’s two pieces of information that an entrepreneur needs all the time in front of them. One is their purpose and their mission the why they are in business and the second is the business plan, right. The business plan is the map of where they’re headed –  their strategy. They work out the logistics of the business the how, the vision the goals of the business if it isn’t their strong suit there’s so much help around.

There’s so many incredible resources available that can guide them through that process. Their plan will never be perfect. It’ll never be done because as you learn and get in the grind of running a business things come up, and you have to change course. You’ll have to be willing to pivot businesses are always evolving and changing their like liquid right so fluid. Technology changes Trends change, and you have to stay relevant to your target market however having your purpose in your mission or your why in front of you that is the being of your business that doesn’t change. This is their guiding force of the business. Since it’s so important to keep your purpose, your why  in front of you, or you can get caught up in the minutiae of running your business plan and be pulled away from your passion the reason you’re in business to begin with I like to think of it as your Why your destination, but your plan may take you many different routes and detours to get there.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. Thank you Kristin. Can you share a little about what you hope for the future of Fort Collins?

Kristin McMahon: You know I have to tell you I’m super excited about the future, Fort Collins. We are so blessed to live in this phenomenal community the work of city has done in the Fort Collins Chambers done to help businesses thrive is quite frankly bar none. And it’s been a while the numbers may have changed, but the last time I heard it was forecasted that they’re expecting a population growth in northern, Colorado area to be around another 500,000 in the next five years. I get excited about that. I think it’s wonderful with more people comes more opportunity for them to experiences the businesses that we have and that we’re starting right now, so I think it’s a phenomenal time to be a business owner.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and in the Northern Colorado area is there anyone that you would like to recognize for the hard work and efforts they’ve done.

Kristin McMahon: You know since we’re talkin about businesses, and we’re talkin about startups. There’s so many great. Different nonprofits and people at work behind the scenes that I have a huge shout out for our local, Fort Collins area Chamber of Commerce. They’re the only five-star credited chamber and all of Colorado. That’s a big deal. It’s kind of like saying they’re the superstars right. They really are advocates for businesses in Fort Collins. Everything they do is to help support businesses, and you don’t have to be a member of the chamber to receive the rewards of their tireless efforts are going to accommodate these people that are coming, but then just to make our businesses thrive, and the other is really just for people who may not be aware of the Small Business Development Center the SBDC in town they offer incredible business connections to business resources. They have classes the classes that you wouldn’t believe at very low costs and free business consultations in just about every topic of business that there is doesn’t matter where you are in your stage of business. It’s one of the most I think underutilized resources that are available to businesses and business owners out there, and I just think that if we could just take advantage of what they have to offer it could have really helped your businesses grow. Just phennomenal resources.

Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for giving those organizations a shout out because I actually have not heard them before in the recognition and and I’m glad that they’re there because shining the light means that more people will have access to them even though they’ve been there, it’s just can we know that they’re available to us.

Kristin McMahon: For sure.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome Kristen that was our whole interview, thank you.

Kristin McMahon: Okay, you’re welcome.

Vanessa Pagan: Have a good day, bye.

Founders & Food – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Episode Notes

Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the Startup FoCo Podcast episode 3. I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.

In this pre-event episode, we have 8 guests who are from the Founders and Food communities of Fort Collins ranging the gamut from Human Resources to Catsup.

Interview Guests this episode and Sessions mentioned

Shelley Polansky Five Gestures of TRUST: Building a Customer Centric Business

Tina Todd and Nikki LarcharCrazy sh** employees do and what you can do about it

1099 Workers: How to minimize your risk and save money in the long run

Chef Kent

Sari Kimbell Start or grow a profitable food business

Shane Anderson Future Trends in the Food Industry

Curt Bear Peer Advisory – An Educational Demo

Carl Dierschow Value of Mentoring and Being Mentored

Episode Recognitions

McCabe Callahan

Elizabeth Mozer

Ben Mozer

Doug Cannon

New Tech


Episode Transcript

Vanessa Pagan: Podcasting from Fort Collins, Colorado, this is Startup FoCo Podcast episode 3. I’m your host Vanessa Pagan gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins. In this pre-event episode, we have eight guests who range from founders and food communities of Fort Collins across the gamut from Human Resources to catsup.

Let’s get to the interviews.

I’m on the line with Shelley Polansky, who is the VP of marketing and outreach for the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming. Hi Shelly. You’ve got a session coming up on Thursday March 1st at 1:30 p.m.. And it’s called the five gestures of trust building a consumer centric business. Can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of your session?

Shelley Polansky: Yeah, well really from BBB’s perspective we know that customer experience with a business can really make or break a company and since 2015 the BBB has been doing market research to identify really what it means to be a contemporary better business, and how companies can use core values to strengthen relationships with their customers and their prospects. And so our session during Fort Collins Startup Week will identify and share the results of this market research, and what those five gestures of trust are and how entrepreneurs really at any stage of their business creation can apply those principles to make sure that they’re building their foundation of their company built on trust ethics and integrity.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great on a larger scale for the entire, Fort Collins startup week event in general there’s going to be like 130 session. What would you hope someone attending and taking apart of the week? What do you hope they get from it?

Shelley Polansky: Yeah, I think there’s several things attendees can get we’re thrilled to be a sponsor for the third year in a row,. And we have sent several of our staff members to the past three years startup events and I think there’s always a takeaway someone can can get from the event. And like you said there’s over a hundred and thirty different sessions, and I think in looking at the lineup there’s something that could benefit everybody. Depending whatever stage of their entrepreneurial vision they’re at. So whether or not, maybe they’re still at that idea concept phase they’re sessions where people can go to learn more about how to maybe move that from concept phase to actually creating a business plan and look for investors or financing to help them bring their concept to life.

I think there’s sessions on the lineup for you know marketing and messaging and storytelling so if you’re at that stage in your company where maybe you’re trying to acquire more market share making sure you’re attending those sessions to get ideas on the newest and latest trends of all of those topics. So you know from our perspective the BBB’s mission of advancing marketplace trust we’re happy to see the wide variety of topics and classes and seminars that businesses, or those interested in starting a business can attend.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and Shelley from your personal experience in working with the BBB, what would you share as a lesson learned that our audience can take away?

Shelley Polansky: Yeah, I think in any type of situation like a Startup Week I mean you’re going the session first of all I think it’s important that you identify narrow down maybe your focus and identify your top three goals for attending those sessions, and then following those sessions making sure you that you’re putting action plans to life. I think From BBB’s perspective, we know where a one hundred-year-old brand and our mission is to advance marketplace trust we feel that what we stand for is really that foundation for building a company from the ground up doing the right thing, using standards that make sense to both the business perspective and to their consumers, so you know what we try to encourage, and we will be encouraging during Startup Week is that businesses can adopt the BBB standards for trust. Which are eight simple principles can really set the standard of how to conduct business ethicly and honestly. So from our perspective we encourage like I said is that framework as they’re creating their company because that always set themselves apart from their competitors and really set the stage to help them be a long-term successful business built on ethics, trust, honesty and integrity.

Vanessa Pagan: That was a great answer thank you so much. So since you serve the larger Northern, Colorado and Wyoming areas could you share a little bit about your vision of the future looks like?

Shelley Polansky: Yeah, of business in general? Well BBB our office is honored to serve the community of Fort Collins first of all with the Startup Week and with the Fort Collins business community is definitely vibrant and we’re growing and I think there’s when we talk to businesses in the area there’s paying points with that growth. One being making sure that we have a workforce that’s able to fulfill or fill the jobs that are open with the business community here. So you know our vision for the communities that we serve including Fort Collins, from our mission perspective is that we’re all working towards being better businesses for their stakeholders, their employees, their customers and that vision long-term vision is that we increase trust in the marketplace. There is a recent study done by the Edelman Trust Barometer. It was just released for 2018 and really identified that consumer trust in business and all industries across the board is it really had an all-time low. So I would hope that the business community, with our help and other organizations helps out there that we are able to increase trust in the marketplace between that buyer and the seller

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful thank you so much. That was a great answer Shelley. Are you going to be at any particular one of the evening mixers or luncheon events?

Shelley Polansky: We’ll definitely be at the VIP session and our speaking session and I believe there’s going to be the lightning pitch session on Friday so and we will have several of our staff members networking and attending a lot of the sessions so we encourage anyone coming to look out for us. We’ll have a name tag on that will clearly identify who we’re with and please introduce yourself to our staff would we’d love to get to know your.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you this has been great Shelley. I will see you face-to-face during Fort Collins Startup Week.

On the line with me is Nikki Larchar with Tina Todd of SimplyHR, which is Is on two sessions during the Fort Collins Startup Week this year. The first is on Monday February 26 at 3 p.m.. Crazy Sh^* employees do and what you can do about it and on Tuesday February 27th at noon is 1099 workers how to minimize your risk and save money in the long run. Hello Nikki. Hello Tina.

Nikki Larchar: Hello, Vanessa. Thank you for the nice intro.

Vanessa Pagan: Absolutely, So you have two sessions about HR related activities that sound entertaining and engaging. What would you say is your goal for having the attendees come to your sessions? What do you hope they get out of it?

Nikki Larchar: Yeah, great question so I think first and foremost, I hope their cheeks are sore from laughing so much because we really want to make you know obviously our crazy sh.. people do our employees do, we’re going to have a lot of interesting scenarios, but we also want people to walk away with some knowledge about what they can do as employers. And then obviously for our 1099 that’s really talking about contractor versus employees. So we really want and hope that people walk away with an understanding of how we if we add workers to our business how that impacts our business operations, how we perform, and how we attract those individuals, so really excited, and I hope people walk away with some really good information, but then also some really good laughs along the way too.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful because you know a lot of people don’t know the difference between what it means like the classification of a contractor versus an employee, So I’m glad you’re going to be shedding some light on that.

Nikki Larchar: Yeah. We’re really excited.

Vanessa Pagan: Tina, what would you hope someone attending Startup Week gets, so there’s going to be a hundred thirty sessions, 100 speakers contributing and workshops and presentations during the week. What do you hope someone gets out of attending startup week in general?

Tina Todd: Right. So hopefully it will have many attendees taking advantage of all of the awesome resources that are occurring that week. I really hope that especially new entrepreneurs are inspired to take action and just get started on their ideas of plans even if they don’t feel like they’re 100% ready or prepared yet. I think that if there’s business owners were to wait until they’re completely ready we’d never get our projects off the ground. So hopefully by attending they’ll feel empowered and engaged inspired and should launch their concepts before somebody else does it passes them by.

Vanessa Pagan: Nikki, could you share with us one of your top lessons learned from your experience?

Nikki Larchar: Yeah you know there are so many lessons learned. Obviously as an entrepreneur, business owner, but I think probably my biggest lesson has been to ask questions. So when I first started my business I was really asking a lot of questions was trying to gobble up as much information as I possibly could and then there was this point of time where I felt like OK I’ve got this. You know I know how to do marketing now sorta kinda ish and I stopped asking those questions. So I think my biggest lesson learned now has been just to continue to ask questions to continue to reach out. Even if you think it’s a silly question or a dumb question. Although people always say there’s never a dumb question, right. So just making sure to keep asking those questions because that’s how we innovate and we create new ideas we expand our business can grow that’s probably my biggest lesson learned so far.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. Tina, what would you share as a lesson learned?

Tina Todd: I guess as the entrepreneur and a business owner I’ve learned through the process of starting our business, well it is to take partners. There are so many ridiculously smart and innovative people and our communities so supportive of each other. I would recommend any new business owner to find partners who are supportive and enthusiastic, and I think both of them should hopefully find success in the relationship.

Vanessa Pagan: I want to ask my next question about what do you see as the future for Fort Collins? What would your vision look like first? If I’m actually like visualizing it.

Nikki Larchar: Like flying cars is definitely there, but of course I have no means of designing or putting together a flying car. Maybe somebody at the Bleak that’s part of their business plan. I got moving craft six, but all in all seriousness you know in Fort Collins, we have such a great community of small business owners and also a great community of individuals that are helping those organizations and our businesses grow and thrive. So really my vision for Fort Collins is to see that community just expand and obviously our small business community have more of us out there more a small business owners with it, so those resources like the Small Business Development Center, and the Larimer Workforce Center you know really having their input and their guidance on how we as business owners thrive. I think that’s all included in my flying car vision.

Vanessa Pagan: Your flying car vision is not far away. You know Elon Musk just put a car in space. So there is literally a car flying around orbiting Earth right now.

Nikki Larchar: Right! My husband’s like did you see the spaceman? Have you been watching it? I was like. Oh my gosh that’s perfect. That’s totally my vision.

Vanessa Pagan: Tina, as an entrepreneur in Fort Collins, can you share a little bit about the vision that you have for the future of the city and NoCO?

Tina Todd: Sure. Well, obviously Fort Collins is truly a growing pretty dramatically, so I hope that as we grow in numbers Fort Collins still continues to be a really collaborative and supportive community for businesses and entrepreneurs. We have so much to offer and as a small, sort of eclectic and innovative community through events like this. I really think we can maintain those common ties and that common vision. So hopefully keep that small-town feel while really pushing the invention and Innovation out of the individuals who are here.

Vanessa Pagan: Nikki, of all the people that you have come across in Fort Collins is there anyone that you would like to recognize for their hard work and making this community wonderful?

Nikki Larchar: Man, that is like the hardest question Vanessa because really there’s just so many people so instead of like an individual, I think I would probably want to shout out to a collective of people and that’s everybody that is the behind the house, the wheels the of the operation for things like Startup Week and all of the wonderful meetup groups that are out there the networking the training the presentations know alot of blood, sweat, tears I know that goes into organizing all of these events that help our community and our small business community connect and thrive, and so I think I would want to say a million thank yous to all the individuals that have a hand in that and help in those ways.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. That’s a wonderful shoutout. Tina, if there was someone that you could recognize for their hard work in the community who would you like to say hello to?

Tina Todd: Well so we haven’t worked with him directly but in speaking with around every business owner, entrepreneur, everyone in this city seems to be very inspired by McCabe Callahan, Community Funded. He’s clearly a strong and consistent thread throughout the community and has a huge impact on Northern Colorado as well as now communities across the US. So it’s really inspiration, and hopefully we can help recognize him every now, and then if he doesn’t get it enough from the community people working with across the country. It’s cool, that he’s from here and is doing so much.

Vanessa Pagan: You’ve answered all of our questions for the short interview. I feel like I know you now.

Nikki Larchar: That sounds good.

Tina Todd: Thank you Vanessa take care. Bye.

Vanessa Pagan: Hi, Chef Kent. Thanks for being on the line with me.

Chef Kent: Hello Vanessa.

Vanessa Pagan: You are a top caterer for the Fort Collins community and Northern Colorado, and I wanted to ask you your involvement with Startup Week this year. Chef Kent, what do you hope attendees get out of coming to Startup Week this year.

Chef Kent: I hope they get a great perspective of all the amazing businesses that exist and products that Fort Collins produces here that are actually making an impact on a global level. We work with a lot of great local ranches and farms and also the great producers of product and in many realms Fort Collins is leading the way just because of its ingenius creativity that exists in this magical place right now, and I’m hoping that they are able to share and meet and also get excited themselves about becoming involved.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. There is a wonderful food track for Startup Week this year. I am glad that there is more interest in support around building up the food ecosystem in town. Chef Kent, can you share with us a little bit about actually could you share one piece of like a lesson learned that you think attendees would benefit knowing from from your experience and your history?

Chef Kent: From last year, we had just started as a new business, and then we were showcased at Startup Week, and it has perpetuated the growth of my company exponentially. The contacts that I made have turned into friendships and those friendships have assisted me and allowed me to continue to grow and I could have never I could have never done that on my own.

Startup Week was a big part of that.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m so glad you could share because yours is a story of one that has come to Startup Week and was able to flourish, and if you could tell us the name of your company or how we could find you?

Chef Kent: It’s Z Catering Staffing and Events and we’ve done just a lot of grassroots marketing and referrals, and now we’re getting to a stage where we’re working with reality marketing and Britilly Digital and then also BlueShoe Media. We’re going to film pretty soon. We are going to be if you look up on Z Catering Staffing and events and our website is the is our website, but you can also follow me personally on Facebook at L as in the letter L. And Lima and then Kent K E N T and Cottle or on the Instagram at ZChefKent we get a lot of track in that way, and hopefully will be shooting a reality TV show pretty soon, so you’ll be able to see us that way too.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. I mean I know I love looking at pictures of food on Instagram. So thank you for letting me know how to find what you’re putting out there.

Chef Kent: Thank you, and we’re just really excited about what we do and we try to stay cutting edge. We do farm to fork all the way to molecular gastronomy so we love to take great food and serve it as it is we take the hard work the local farmers and ranchers of what they do, and then we also take that and reconstruct deconstruct food and create in ingenious ways working closely with the them and also with the Brewers the distillers, hemp company work with them.I’m a chef for them as well. It’s just fantastic and in NOCO itself, and then the food cluster here, the city. It’s just realities for children. There’s just so many great businesses and groups up here that we’re so happy to be a part of and support.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. I’m really glad that you can share with us the success that you’ve had on the journey. Can you share a little bit about what you hope your vision is for the future of this area?

Chef Kent: We get to interact with so many people from the musicians to painters, sculptors, to the tech group, to the biosciences, the university, to nonprofits to the ranches and Farms we see great things for this area and especially Fort Collins. What’s happening right now. I really think Fort Collins is going to be recognized as a leading city in the world with its change and its motivation to to help people and to think of themselves happy encourage people to think of themselves not just locally but globally and I see a greater stronger Community coming and Startup Week is a great catalyst for that and a great place for. people to come together.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Chef Kent you did great. This was a wonderful interview.

Chef Kent: Okay. Thank you Vanessa bye.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line with me today is Sari Kimbell, who is the founder of Cultivate Consulting, and she has a speaking session on Tuesday February 27th at 10 a.m.. called start or grow a profitable food business. She’s also a moderator for several of our food sessions during startup weel. And I want to say hello and welcome to Sari.

Sari Kimbell: Thank you. Thanks for having me here

Vanessa Pagan: Sari, what would you hope someone gets out of attending your session on starting a growing a profitable food business?

Sari Kimbell: Well, I think they can get a lot out of it. I’ve been sessions when the past that are just about like,so you want to start a food business that are really general, but we’re going to get into more specifics about what actually makes a great business model and a successful business model because I’m finding in my in my work that I do with food businesses is that they’re not asking the right questions they they’re just so passionate which I love them for their passion to share their food with the world, but it’s an expensive hobby. And so I really hope that that these food businesses and people in attendance can ask themselves some really tough questions, and we’ll get pretty specific on what is it that makes for a successful Food business so that they understand, maybe the challenges ahead and then can decide about something that they’re up for or or do they want to just stay where they’re at and have it be a hopefully a break-even hobby be competitive world in food business landscape, so I really hope people pome away with a greater sense of whether they want to continue and an excitement and inspiration to go forward.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and this year at FoCo’s Startup Week. I’ve noticing that there is a lot on the food track in your moderating four panels during the week, yes.

Sari Kimbell: I am. So that’s in collaboration with the Northern, Colorado food cluster. So I work with them as well in addition to my own food consulting business. So we put together we kinda headed up the food track this year, and so putting together some other great sessions everything from like culinary 101 to teaching some of the people in Fort Collins that are just the best at what they do whether it’s coffee or being a chef in a restaurant or chocolate, cottage food. Just these people who are really passionate and are taking their craft to a whole new level. We’re also doing an awesome session called women who Brew taking women Brewers so everything from beer to cider distilleries coffee kombucha and talking with these women who are kind of trailblazers in this industry as women because we don’t typically see women in those areas. So kind of talking about their story how they got started and concealing some lessons from way for me to have a future of food trends and landscapes, so this is really about like it’s not just about what kind of food is coming into your living room your kitchen, but it’s about what are some of the opportunities where we see food and technology joining up and where is the opportunities to really take a hold of doing other kinds of businesses in the food world. Everything from quad kitchen to solving the delivery issue as well as those kind of just general food trends that we’re seeing.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome and could you share with us. What could you share with us that would be one of your top lessons learned from your experience?

Sari Kimbell: Well, I definitely thought about this a lot, and ultimately it’s that we can’t go it alone. We just as an entrepreneur and whatever you’re doing whatever field you’re in you need a strong network of people around you, and you need not just not just the close people that are you maybe your advisors or partners, but you need a really broad network to be successful, and so I hope that that’s what Fort Collins Startup Week helps provide. My role I consider myself a connector. I’m always working with clients and saying like how can we get you hooked up with each other and with the right people that you need so they can kind of get outside of your little bubble and. have opportunities to grow bigger and really be successful as a Startup.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and could you share with us what is your vision for the future of what Fort Collins looks like?

Sari Kimbell: Well, I’ll look at it through the lens of food. I actually have grown up in Fort Collins, so I’ve been here a long time. I’ve seen a lot of change. I left came back, so I have a wonderful visions for Fort Collins, but as far as the food system goes I see that we have a really great opportunity to really latch on and become an even more vibrant local food economy, but that were also utilizing the amazing local input that are around us. We’re very fortunate to have so much agriculture and growing in our area, and I don’t know that we are always taking advantage of that. So it’s really combining both the makers and the growers and that we’re supporting that local food system as a whole.

Vanessa Pagan: Sari. if there was someone you could recognize or group of people you could recognize for their hard work in making Fort Collins a great place who would that be?

Sari Kimbell: Well I do want to recognize if I can the growers and the makers like I said we have wonderful vibrant agriculture economy out there we have people you know growing. Growing our fruits and vegetables as well as raising our meat and eggs, and and then we have people who are just making amazing products out there and really trying to further local food and crafts food, so I just want to recognize all those people that are getting up every day and taking care of the chickens and making the food products that we love.

Vanessa Pagan: Excellent. We’re good.

Sari Kimbell: Thanks. Bye.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line right now we have Shane Anderson of Colorado Catsup. Hi Shane. You have a session Friday March 2nd at 2PM future tends in food industry. Can you talk a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of coming to your session?

Shane Anderson: Yes, a great question so one of the things I hope having been a person that sat in on a similar panel to this last year during this time is that when people arrive what I think when I reflect back of what I got out of it last year is that you know there’s a lot going on out there obviously with the acquisition of what Amazon did with Whole Foods. They saw a great need for value there, and I think what a lot of people are looking for right now. Is that niche something new something different. I mean even in if you look at our business as far as the catsup goes, and I just talked a little bit about that spelling, and how what’s old is new again.

I think people are searching for that and so when they sit on this Food Panel what I really hope people understand about it is that there’s a lot of technology that you need to implement I think today to survive. You know especially if you’re going to take on big corporate conglomerates like in our case you know Heinz, and you know obviously you can’t compete at that level, but how can you implement yourself as a small business by utilizing a lot in other aspects out there to follow those trends and find success.

Vanessa Pagan: That brings me to my next question so this year at Fort Collins Startup Week there’s a really great food track with lots of different speakers and workshops related to the food ecosystem that’s here in town. What would you hope someone gets out of coming to Startup week in general?

Shane Anderson: I just looked at the overall scope. I think Fort Collins has done a great job as far as like offering a lot of a la carte about any topic you want really is far as like whether you’re going there to learn about VC or you’re going there to learn about some different consulting or terminology or food.I think they’ve done a great job as offering all of that. I guess. I just all people. It still get back to have a plan obviously, but I’m a firm believer in like something that Mike Tyson said years ago that everybody has a plan until they get in the ring be punched in the face and in business you will get punched in the face, and if you’re so stringent on your plan that you’re not you don’t have the ability to pivot a little bit off of what maybe you thought you were going to do, then I don’t think you can survive. So I think when they go to Startup Week be great. Go ahead engage consume but also it can be overwhelming because like if you don’t apply some of that action or just take a few takeaways of how it’s going to work on your business and what you want. I think you’ll soon find yourself in this stage of where you’re just kind of complacent like you don’t know what to do next because you’re like oh, I went and I consumed all this information that was awesome it’s there. It’s available. but you gotta think you got to get back to the whole thing is that its action. You know you still got to go out and apply it, and so I would always say go there find the things that you want you really want out of that week that you feel like could benefit for your business and go there and no questions a dumb question be open ask questions engage, but then you know take away a few goals I would say you know like don’t make yourself 10 goals of everything you want to do because I found a lot of people make 10 goals. They only still accomplished two or three. So it’s like make yourself two or three goals and then go out and conquer. You know go out and apply those to your business off of what you learned from different sessions you might have sat on.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. I love the boxing reference because I don’t know if you’ve met Joe Buckner. He’s the founder of Beautifully Savage Boxing studio in town. He has a lot of the boxing metaphors for life, and we all plan and then yeah, we get punched in the face, and it’s like okay. It’s real now. Let’s keep moving forward here.

Shane Anderson: Yeah really. It’s totally true. I you know I see it doesn’t matter if it’s like a food related business, or just business in general what I see a lot of people do is that they’re always planning. They’re planning. They’re planning they’re planning, but it’s like at some point you still have moved off of that and go you got to go implement now, and it’s like you got to be in action. You got to be in motion and it’s like it’s easy to get caught up I think when you’re a small business, and you see somebody out there. You know I can do better than that well. Maybe you could but guess what, you still got to give them respect because they’re out there doing it, and you’re not right now. So it’s like you’ve got to get out there, and you still got to implement, so I’m never saying don’t have a plan, but I’m saying be flexible with that plan you know because you might learn things from startup week that you never knew existed that might help need a little faster for your business.

Vanessa Pagan: That is a wonderful piece of advice for everyone listening because the plan isn’t the end goal. It’s just it’s like the prelude to your masterpiece and it’s just setting the tone for what’s going to come.

Shane, if you could tell us a little bit about what you hope the future of Fort Collins look like what would you share as your vision?

Shane Anderson: Oh, man I have a big one. We, my partner, and I Matt Parker, who’s in this Catsup game with me now is you know we always sit back because we both work in a food manufacturing facility, a very large facility. That’s how we met each other. That’s how we found out our aspirations and our passion for sauces in general especially barbecue sauce. And we sit back in as you venture through starting a food business it can be there’s a lot of times that you’ll come across in your like my gosh like I wish there was a resource that would have told me this or that or you know that everything you do is kind of on your own to some degree and you get a lot of mixed messages when you’re trying to start it, and so there’s a lot of point along the railroad track where you like up I’m going to get off. I’m going to get out like in, but we just you just got to stay on the train. you got to ride it to the end of the line.

And so what I but we sit back a lot of the times and say when we look at our business, and how it transpired over this last 9 10 months from basically no product this time last year to being in four or five restaurants, and you know having gone through a couple Farmers Market sessions now Summers and winter and we sit back and we say man, if there was just one resource if you could really merge this good facility is great facility something like what we have where we work for this big manufacturer, but my kind of a micro-scale for all these food producers because I know there’s options you got commissary kitchens like what we operate out of and then you’ve got Co-packaging facilities, but there’s a reluctance I see on some people’s part to give up some of that control when their product when they want to go that route, so it’s like you can merge those two ideas in this quasi micro Factory that kind of was a One-Stop shop in a way where you got Consulting floor that was specific to the food related business of how to navigate you know the state laws and regulations and how to you know apply whether it’s social media, or you know Facebook Twitter all of that and then also like your resources because what we found a lot of times too, and we’re trying to source bottles or or even just raw materials like there’s so many moving parts and you can find that a lot of this consumes a lot of your time right.

And so it’s like if you had something that was like supportive of Fort Collins now it’s a huge undertaking obviously but in overhead, but I’ve see what some of these smaller producing food outfits like myself. We’re all out there kind of renting kitchen space and some of it at very high dollar amounts. I would say if you could kind of combined everybody into this one facilities one-stop-shop, and it was like a platform that was driven off of technology to where it was easy to schedule time and things of that nature, I think that would just like spurt that much more.

Especially awareness like a lot of this is about awareness that these products are even being made in your community because we got some people out there with great passion in this community. I mean it was a big reason we decided to go ahead and collaborate on our relish recently. You know what we knew that we could make relish there was no doubt in our minds, but it was like what we got another company that’s basically at the same stages where at they had started up. Why don’t we partner with her. She makes a great relish. It’s one way to kind of share our crowd with her crowd and pair our products together and in so it’s like I think that’s a big part because we’re all trying to fight for the same thing right and it’s like why not do it together, and I think that Fort Collins is doing a pretty good job of that like everybody’s pretty open as far as working together, but I think there’s just other aspects that are missing where you kind of just share a little bit tribal knowledge and some aspects like you’re sharing a little bit what you learned with the next person, but it’s like yeah, this was all just kind of encompassed in one thing it might make this easier and get us back to doing what we want to do best that’s actually making our products and getting them out there on the shelf stand in front of people.

Vanessa Pagan: This was great Shane.

Shane Anderson: Thank you so much for this time really appreciate it right.

Vanessa Pagan: Have a good one. I’ll talk to you soon

Curt Bear is the founder of Loco Think Tank. Curt, thank you so much for joining on the line. What do you hope people get from attending start-up week

Curt Bear: That’s a robust question. There’s so many things to get from it ranging from connections to topical expertise starting a business is a very complicated thing with a lot more things I didn’t know that I realized when I first started trying. Connecting with people that have been there done that some is probably the biggest thing that I think is the value here.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and what about your session? What do you hope people will get out of attending your session?

Curt Bear: I’m a big advocate for peer advisory. In one of the structured lightly like our think tanks are or whether there’s a lot of structure to it, or if it’s totally self-managed. I think that we’re gonna provide some tools for the people that may not be ready to have a membership in LoCo, but to attach themselves to other people of influence in their lives to try to create kind of this this peer advisory recurring accountability place that you can trust people element. We’re going to provide a few tools to do that and some of the things that we’ve learned in the years that we’ve been running LoCo that work well in terms of both selecting who should be in a group as well as kind of learning how to process through questions in a way that is more than just a gab session.

Vanessa Pagan: Gotcha. So if I were if you were to break it down for us a peer review group is ?

Curt Bear: You know peer advisory is basically finding a group of people that will act as your board of directors and for whom you’ll also act at the board type role. It’s the sharing of things that you’ve learned. It’s the accountability that comes oftentimes in a small business only with trusted peers. The small business owner is often on an island and so peer advisory allows people to find that kind of trusted connection where an awareness of what’s going on in my business without adding like a formal board of directors because most small businesses are too small to really afford the expense and the organization of a significant board function in their lives.

Vanessa Pagan: Great, and if you had some advice for someone who was attending startup week for the first time what would you tell them?

Curt Bear: Reserve a lot of hours and go to as many sessions as make sense for you. I attended for the first time last year and set aside what I thought was quite a few hours, but then as I started seeing some of the other sessions and meeting some other people I was wishing that I would have set aside more time. I would say make startup week a big part of what you do that week regardless of how many you know you can bump some of the other projects and whatnot a little bit if you can so that you can make sure you don’t miss anything that you should have had because there’s a lot of content jammed into one week, and if you only hit 10 hours or six hours you’re going to miss a lot of what creates the overall value add.

Vanessa Pagan: Great Curt could you share with us a little bit about the vision that you see for the future, Fort Collins?

Curt Bear: You know I think Fort Collins continues to be a choice city nationally and make a lot of list because being introspective about what are we trying to create a lot of times cities are so focused on just growing you know growing the employment-based growing the industry out there attracting new businesses to it, but Fort Collins is really being thoughtful about who are those next industry sectors that are going to be beneficial a lot of value to mankind. How do we get from where we are from a cost-of-living versus income standpoint to something that the easier maybe for people to enter the marketplace attracting those people in terms of like city management and self investment through the CSU and bringing some of that research into commercialization I think that’s only going to grow is a great way to kind of help higher education become relevant and valuable faster than it might have in the times of yore and so I’m excited about you know the CSU Ventures and the Innosphere and those kinds of things and I think because of those kind of things the people that have the great ideas and a certain extent probably less or the people that have some capital to try to put into those great ideas will continue to kind of move toward Denver Boulder, Fort Collins, Northern Colorado to try to effectuate those ideas.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great, and if you could give recognition to someone who’s doing great things in the Fort Collins area who would you give a shoutout to?

Curt Bear: Elizabeth Mozer and Ben Mozer deserve a shared shout-out Elizabeth has LoCo food distribution and has served on the food cluster board and different things and her business really has empowered a lot of small manufacturing businesses and things like that to to be able to exist and scale without having to figure out how to distribute their product by themselves which is always a stumbling block. And Ben with the Lyric Cinema Cafe you know continues to speak into the intersection of culture and economy if you will and how to make this a livable city for the artists community and bringing really that true independent theater to a small town like Fort Collins is an impressive task. So those two are really continue to make impact beyond their years.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thanks so much for sharing Alright Curt have a good day. Thanks.

Curt Bear: Thank you.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line with me today is Carl Dierschow, who is the Small Fish business coaching owner, and he is part of Mentor Monday for Fort Collins startup week. Hi Carl.

Carl Dierschow: Hey Vanessa. How you doing today.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m doing great. So you are on the Monday February 26th session at 1:30 called value of mentoring and being mentored. I’m really glad that there is a day to do mentoring for Startup attendees, but what would you say is your hope of what attendees would get out of it going to a mentoring session or learning about mentorship?

Carl Dierschow: Thanks for asking. I’ve done the mentoring thing for a few years now, and I find it this really interesting because a lot of the people that I talk to kind of figure that they struggle to get out there and be vulnerable with other folks because you’re supposed to have your act all together and figured out and you’re feeling just a little bit snowed under by all of this stuff lying around that you maybe understand and maybe don’t but you know to to open up in front of other people and say I haven’t got it all figured out yet can be really tough.

That’s where this one-on-one kind of conversation can be very valuable it’s what I do with my coaching, and this kind of mentoring session is quite similar you know it’s a place where you can open up and say let’s let’s struggle through this. Let’s puzzle through try to figure something out whether it’s what am I going to do with government compliance or uh hiring my first employee or oh my God. I I think I just had one of my suppliers cave on me other all kinds of things like that and so this is just very simple it’s a an opportunity for one-on-one conversation with somebody is going to take you seriously in listen and let’s see if we can figure something out.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great so often when you’re building a start-up, or you’re an entrepreneur and you have an idea you have that sense of isolation and loneliness yeah, and reaching out to a mentor and having someone to talk to it can remove the bottlenecks that you’re seeing.

Carl Dierschow: Yeah, you know that the way I describe it is that you can’t talk to your boss because you’re your own Boss and boss doesn’t listen to you. You can’t talk to your employees because you’re supposed to be the ones with the answer, and you can’t talk to your spouse because you don’t want him or her worrying about oh my God is this whole thing just going to fail on me, and you know what worried them with business concerns on top of family relationship.

Where do you turn? And very often where you turn is a best friend a mentor coach somebody who will listen and take you seriously and not beat you up for all the stuff that you haven’t figured out yet. Not the most people do that actually. I think people could be a lot more vulnerable than they typically are but I understand it. You know it’s hard to get up there in front of a bunch of people and the admit that you haven’t got it all figured out.

Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, we really like to see that honesty and authenticity. It’s hard. Oh absolutely. Yeah, it’s it’s what makes us relate to other people is by being honest about where we’re at.

Carl Dierschow: Yeah, but you know when you’re up there asking for half-a-million dollars maybe that’s not the time that you want to say that.

Vanessa Pagan: Maybe there’s a different way to say that. Yeah.

Carl, we’ve talked about mentoring in the value of mentorship. What do you hope attendees get out of participating this year?

Carl Dierschow: Well, you know I have found this to be such a valuable thing because people make connections with others often you’re getting new ideas and new approaches but heck if all you come away with is 10 other names of people who share some common concerns and have some experience that you don’t have and stuff like that that’s fabulous. And of course there’s all the the learning sessions, and so that’s a great place to get some new ideas to validate things that you’re testing in your own business and that’s great, but it tends to overload you a bit. There are so many sessions in there such high quality that it’s really hard to remember what you attended two days ago much less last week. You know you want to capture as much of that as you can but for me it’s been primarily about building relationships and building inspiration. You know like you said entrepreneurship can be very lonely journey sometimes. And so to be able to get re-inspired to say yes, I can really do this and I’ve got some new ideas. I’m going to explore and and make it happen and I got my energy back again. That’s tremendous thing for going off and doing a week of something like this.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and could you share with us Carl something that you consider one of your personal lessons learned from your career.

Carl Dierschow: Oh my God. Hahaha well. I’m 62 so I’ve had a bit of a career when I reflect back on what the big learnings were it’s really about the importance of the people that I have had a chance to work with over many years the projects come and go the work tasks businesses come and go and get acquired. There’s all kinds of stuff like that, but what really is enduring is who is it that you have relationship with. Who have you helped along the way, and who has helped you and how have you been able to show gratitude for that. For me that even gets kind of to the purpose of life a bit. Let’s hope that what your legacy is how many people that you positively affected while you were here for the the few short years that you were able to be on this planet. That’s a bit philosophical, but that’s that’s kind of what I bring away from it.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great because it leads me to my next question. What do you hope is the future for Fort Collins?

Carl Dierschow: In general my my hope is just that this continues as a vibrant community. One where people are a bit more creative and inspirational than average. You know we all have our concerns and the sense of community that we have something we’re sharing together and it matters. It’s not just a place we happen to live, but it’s something that has a life of its own, and we care about it. We we want to make that better. That’s kind of what uh I want Fort Collins to continue to be I think it does a pretty reasonable job at that right now but as we grow.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful, and if you could recognize someone for their hard work and effort that they’ve put into the Fort Collins community who would you want to recognize?

Carl Dierschow: So many people that are unknown you know I’ve had some wonderful people I worked with over the years person that comes to mind who is very timely Doug Cannon. I worked with him for a couple of years now, and he’s fighting some really severe medical issues right now, and I’m going to miss him after he’s gone and be keeping him on mind during startup week because that’s important to me to remember that people do have important things that they’re giving to the community in big and small ways and you know we’re all going to have to give that up at some time and move on to whatever comes after life. New Tech and LaunchNoCO just an amazing group of people

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. Thank you for actually bringing the larger philosophical reasons about why we are who we are not just as sense of a start-up or my great big idea, but who we are as human beings and the impact that we can have in our world.

Carl Dierschow: Yeah, I mean we have to remember that we are humans on a human journey, and it’s not just about doing a job and amassing amount of money and things like that. It’s no are we building something that’s going to be enduring. Are we going to build something that benefits humanity.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you Carl. I will be in touch with you by e-mail, and I hope to see you face-to-face Mentor Monday,

Carl Dierschow: Right. You take care.

Vanessa Pagan: Thanks so much. Bye.

Thanks for listening to the Startup FoCo Podcast if you like our show and want to know more check out

2018 Fort Collins Startup Week is February 23 to March 2nd. Sign up for our newsletter and join us for our next podcast episode when we talk Do The Work.

Creatives Unite – Artup Week & Music Tracks – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the StartupFoCo podcast episode 2.  I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.

In this pre-event episode, we have 6 guests from the Artup Week and Music tracks of Fort Collins ranging the gamut from Graphic Novels to sold out concerts.

Episode Notes

Interview segments with:

Chris Bates –

James Lopez –

Kit Baker –

Mike Baron –

Sara Durnil –

Steven Dourmashkin 

Episode Recognitions

Todd Simmons, Wolverine Farms

Jeanne Shoaff

Dawn Putney

Andrew Schneider 

Nathan Scott

B Sharp, FC Symphony

Lou Ann and Kim Yee

Ann Baron

Episode 02 Artup & Music Transcript

Vanessa Pagan: Podcasting from Fort Collins, Colorado, this is StartupFoCo podcast episode 2. I’m your host Vanessa Pagan gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins. In this pre-event episode we have six guests from the Artup Week and music communities of Fort Collins ranging the gamut from graphic novels to sold-out concerts.

Let’s get into the interviews.

So I’ve got Chris Bates on the line. He is a local artist from Fort Collins, and he owns Hi Chris How’s it going?  Great. I want to ask you a little bit about what you hope people get out of start-up week.

Chris Bates: I just really hope that I’ve got to be part of one way the other last couple years I think it’s just a great opportunity for people to broaden their horizons, meet new people, get some plan going forward on their business ventures creative ventures and chance to collaborate and up your game on whatever you’re trying to do in life.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and you’re doing a session with collaboration. Can you talk a little bit about what you hope the attendees of your session gets?

Chris Bates: Just from my side just one person’s view on how to kind of build a local business by involving people in your creative process how to take your talents and meld them with others to create things that are greater than could be accomplished, otherwise and the benefits of in such a personal ego-driven career such as music and arts and theater and how to use that to your advantage to work with other people to create bigger and better things.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. That sounds like what is a piece of advice that you would like to share from your experience as an artist?

Chris Bates: Think over the last decade of working trying to become a more and more successful visual artist is to find a nice balance between really pushing hard to make things happen and putting yourself in situation and letting things happen. Also, just preparing yourself for the opportunity as they come and just being ready to say yes by setting on your own personal guidelines and things that you want to see happen for yourself and your career and your life and situating yourself in position to make those things happen for you.

Vanessa Pagan: As a local Fort Collins native, could you talk a little bit about the vision that you hope Fort Collins has for its future in five maybe ten years?

Chris Bates: I really like to see the creative community come together even more than it has to kind of leverage their, I don’t know if power is the correct word, but whether their influence I guess on the community to really show and understand their value as it fans culturally and also financially and monetarily and then just have that kind of boil over to have the decision-makers the people that work within the city and the community at large kind of reflect that value as well so the creative community that we have right now. They will be able to live and work here and innovate and be strong and stay in town that’s been growing more and more expensive and difficult to stay in for people in the creative community, but that have a lot to offer.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Is there anyone that you would like to recognize for their hard work in the local, Fort Collins community?

Chris Bates: There’s a ton of people and I guess the kind of people that really stand out to me Todd Simmons is someone that’s been working in their creative community through Wolverine Farms and Publishing and really kind on the literary side, but now he has a base it’s real solid and is doing so much for meeting space and comedy and spoken word and authors. Whatever he can he’s always a willing person that really is there to push things forward, so I mean and the like a person within like the city that I just really respected is Jeanne Shoaff she’s previously running the Lincoln Center, she’s done stuff at  the FCMOA, and she’s just I feel like underutilized huge advocate for the arts and have been in the town for a long long time. Dawn Putney with Art Lab and toolbox creative she’s also someone whose just always been trying new things  and really gets it as far as how to operate within the creative community and how to try to raise the level of business intelligence and acumen with creatives and how to work with them and get them to really light a fire under their under themselves to just be better at what they do.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome alright Chris this was the whole thing.

Chris Bates: Awesome. Thanks so much. Take care. Good luck.

Vanessa Pagan: On the line I have James Lopez, who is the station manager of KRFC. He’s a former copywriter and marketer who’s worked for nonprofits and for profit companies. He’s also a full time performing magician. Hi James. Thanks for being on the line here. So this is Fort Collins Startup Week there’s going to be like a hundred and thirty sessions. What would you say is something you hope an attendee gets out of this entire week?

James Lopez: Well just like last year. the Fort Collins Startup Week  really focuses on creatives, and the creative industry. So really what I hope for for people to get out of startup week is to feel inspired and to feel like that they can be not only creative, but can figure out  a way to support themselves in those creative endeavors.

Whether that be through like partnerships or figuring out how to you know convert, whatever they do into some sort of profitable thing. It’s just a nice week to come together and inspire each other to continue to do what we want to do and and find the money to do it.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. And Friday March 2nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there’s going to be podcasting at KRFC. Can you talk a little bit about what you hope attendees get from that day?

James Lopez: Sure. So here in KRFC we’re the local Northern Colorado in Fort Collins community radio station and one of the things that we really wanted to focus on in 2018 is helping develop the voice of Northern Colorado, so really kind of inspiring people to do amazing things with their stories and to connect with their communities and one of the ways that we thought of doing that was through podcasting. So during that day we’re actually going to be talking about and discussing the KRFC podcasting network, which will eventually be a tool that people can use to come in and produce their own podcasts and shows to share. So for the whole entire day what we’ll be focusing on is teaching everybody the ins and outs of podcasting. So everything from how to produce a show, how to develop a show, to how to edit your show, and then get it ready for distribution. The goal is to basically introduce people to the resources that we have at KRFC. Introduce them to  podcasting in general and hopefully get them sharing their stories.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. I am a big proponent of KRFC, and I’m really excited about the opportunities that you have for podcasting in the Fort Collins community. James, you have quite a rich background of experience. If you could share with us one key nugget of insight that you’ve learned from your personal experience. What would you share with us?

James Lopez: Oh man is all about your network. The main thing that you can do that I’ve learned in the last like decade, decade and a half that I’ve been working is try to be a connector. Right. Try to connect people and fit needs and services with wants and desires. Most of the work that I’ve gotten over the last 10-15 years hasn’t been because of my experience. It’s been because I’ve looked out for other people and they in return have looked out for me. So it’s been super awesome to develop this oh, and it’s a super diverse network too. Don’t stick in one specific area make sure that you spread out across multiple studies, and professions and everything because once you create that diverse network if anything is ever to happen to you, you’re flexible enough to move around. And that’s the biggest lesson that I ever learned in anything that I’ve ever done.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for sharing. So we’ve talked a little bit about the voice of Fort Collins and about having a wide and diverse network. Could you share a little bit about the vision that you have for the future of Fort Collins?

James Lopez: Yeah, so one of the things that I have worked on a lot and a lot of my friends, and I constantly discussed is that even though Fort Collins feels like a small town and even though Northern Colorado feels quite small it still feels very aggregated and very segregated, so there’s pockets of communities everywhere that aren’t connecting with each other. So even though a lot of people share the same interest they can still feel isolated and lonely and one of the things that I would love to do is see Fort Collins and Northern Colorado become these incubators and hubs that connect people. Physically connect people. Digitally. And gets people with similar interests who feel like they’re alone, or don’t have anybody their, connecting with them. And just building this whole entire.large support system based on passions and fandoms and desires.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great goal. If there was someone that you could acknowledge for their hard work in the Fort Collins and Northern Colorado community, who would you want to give a shout out to?

James Lopez: Of course one of the biggest one is is Andrew Schneider. He really has been super passionate about everything that he does and tries to make this connection and these community developments happen. Another person is Nathan Scott one of my personal mentors. That he taught me is all about your network, and it’s all about building those connections and relationships and Maya Djarum who the volunteer coordinator at KRFC she’s done a fantastic job of building a strong network as well and really knows how to connect resources and get people together. So those three people have really I think made a huge impact at least on me if not the Northern Colorado Community in general.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Thank you for sharing James. I hope to see you face to face during the podcasting at KRFC day, and that is our call. You got it talk soon James. Bye

I’m on the line with Kit Baker who is a writer and arts administrator for Create Places. Hi Kit. Thanks for being here. You are having two sessions during startup week. On Wednesday February 28th at 10:30 a.m. Arting Up Musicals and Operas New Tools New Context New Opportunities, and the second session is at 2:30 that same day Arting up Science: New Directions in Cross Discipline Collaborations. Can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees would get out of your sessions?

Kit Baker: Well, I think for both sessions Andrew Schneider whose the force behind Artup  Week shared a story about someone who attended last year. And she had an idea for a new business and a new startup, but really didn’t know where to take it was sort of kind of just simmering somewhere without really much happening, and then she managed to make all these connections and build her network during startup week. Now she’s launched it.

So generally speaking, I think that’s really what I want to offer opportunities for people to really find the people and resources they need to realize the projects primarily artistic. Individually. I think the Art and Science panel really addresses the possibilities in Fort Collins. We already have a very active startup scene with all the research that’s coming out of the CSU and then with all these new companies being created like Spearay and which is keeping Fort Collins on the cutting edge of  innovation, and so I’m really interested in hearing what the mayor says and and there’s a playwright who’s just written a play about the kind of science and mythology of dirt, which I think is fascinating. And then we also have on the panel someone who work in the Rockies Ventures Club who can actually trace the steps that somebody needs to take to actually start up their own project.

So I’m very excited about that you know plugging into what are clearly Fort Collins strengths, long-established strengths in science and providing kind of like the rising roll of arts as an interpreter of science to the public. That’s a particularly interesting strand.

And then with the musicals and opera there’s a lot going on in that field. Musicals are if anything more popular than ever and you have a lot of artists who are actually taking new approaches to musical beyond Broadway. I mean Broadway is still important, but there are so many other possibilities these days especially with the rise of digital media and VR. And we have a real range of people we have the presenter of Lincoln Center. Jack Rogers  who’s been working in theatre and music theatre for 24 years and brings in musical, and he’s got a really interesting slant on both the establish musicals and the new stuff, and then we’re bringing up Chimney Choir, which is actually a band in Denver that create these experiences really that really are you can’t really define them. They’re concerts. They’re interactive performances. The puppetry ritual. So really looking at what bands can do to in a way expand the Concert Experience into Musical and Opera, and so I think that’s I would be really happy if people came out of there and said wow, I can do so much more with my band or my company and incorporating music in a way and again that addresses a known strength of Fort Collins in music.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great that you’re able to put these together because the intersection of the performing arts and science or technology means that the reach that we can have in Fort Collins is exponential.

Kit Baker: Absolutely. Absolutely yeah, and I think with Fort Collins. I mean I was born here, and then went away for a long time. Lived in London, New York Berlin. You know Fort Collins does have this international prominence that was kind of what was there all the time, but but never really having that kind of in a way that international brand it has now. So the possibilities are exciting. We just have to think in new way to look to non-traditional sources of the support that artists need and scientists need to actually get their work out into the public and get it to be effective.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. So as someone who has seen for Collins grow and change can you tell us a little bit about what you hope the future of Fort Collins look like?

Kit Baker: Yeah, I have a very strong interest in the arts. That’s what I devoted my career to and my hope is that we can really look at the ways that the arts in the broadest sense, I mean in the 21st century with digital media for example, but also just in terms of the art really rapid rise and strengthening of arts engagement with environmental issues, with social justice issues to really be smart about how the art can contribute to growth management. How Fort Collins can actually in a way provide resources for the arts to enable them to offer the quality of life that people come here for the mountains etcetera, but the quality of the art A really good example of that is B sharp program with the Fort Collins Symphony. And the Fort Collins symphone collaborated with CSU Alzheimner research, and then created this research project, which really basically demonstrated that participation in the life of a symphony going to concerts going to receptions hearing the music really had beneficial effects on people’s health. And that kind of research isn’t that well-known, but actually it operates for everyone. The arts actually boost performance in schools. It basically is a bit of a glue that keeps our communities together, and I would like to see the Arts play a more Central role in that.

Vanessa Pagan: Well Kit I can’t wait to meet you face to face during startup week.

Kit Baker: Yeah, me too. It’s going to be really exciting. It’s great. I’m very excited to see not only Startup Week continue because I went last year. It was fantastic, but to see so many more arts panels in it and sessions on it is very exciting.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you so much Kit this has been a great interview. Talk soon okay.

Kit Baker: Yeah. Take care. Bye.

Vanessa Pagan: Our guest is Mike Baron the creator of Nexus and Badger Mike hello. Your session is going to be Thursday March 1st. The current worlds of illustration graphic novels cartoons and comics.

Mike Baron: Yes, I’m going to be joined by Greg Guler whose head designer at Disney for Phineas and Ferb so and Greg knows all about animation and cartooning.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m glad you’re doing a startup week session. What do you hope that people can get out of coming to start up week?

Mike Baron: Well, I’m going to talk about graphic literature, how it works and it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. We may know them as comics, but we call most of them are circulated now as graphic novels. Which is a fancy word big collection of comics in a hard bound setting, but now graphic novels have come into their own. They’re no longer based on serial comics like Batman or Spider-Man, but the shelves at Barnes & Noble are overflowing with original graphic novels.  T hat are often autobiographical from every imaginable place like Waltz with Bashir which was a Persian graphic novel or Bill Griffiths memory of his mother’s affair with a famous cartoonist. It’s called Hidden Ink Is another wonderful graphic novel.

There are so many and a lot of them are being optioned for films right now. The films that they tend option are based on real simple translatable ideas because that’s what we’ll be makers like but graphic literature can be used for many things. The armed forces have used them for decades to instruct soldiers on things like how to dismantle a weapon, care for it and put it back together and proper procedure in the field. I’ve worked on a lot of educational graphic products for various businesses like a credit union or Popeye’s Chicken. We did one for them and some are local for companies like insurance companies that are trying to transmit difficult ideas simply. And comics lend themselves to that.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. If there was something you could tell an attendee of startup week. What would you advise them, or give them as inspiration?

Mike Baron: If you have a story to tell, I’m going to tell you the most important thing about that which is what’s the story about. That’s the question everyone gets asked, and when you get asked that question you have to be ready. You have to prepare your answer in advance. So that it’s not only succinct but entertaining and makes the reader want to hear more.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. What would you say is the vision that you have for Fort Collins?

Mike Baron: You know I like Fort Collins as it is. I am thrilled that they built a new bike trail that connects us with Loveland because I’m a big biker. You know I think Fort Collins is going on just fine. I don’t think the city council needs a foreign policy. They should stick to fixing the potholes, but other than that. I think Fort Collins is on the right track. We’re obviously a tech center. I mean so many technical innovations start here, and it’s also an early adapter city and by that I mean the people I know many friends of mine are very quick to pick up on new technology and use it.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Is there someone that you would like to recognize in the Fort Collins Community for their hard work and efforts?

Mike Baron: One karate instructors Lou Ann and Kim Yee who run Karate West are two of the most selfless people I’ve ever known and they hold multiple fundraisers every year for Realities for Children, and they’re having one coming up in a week or two for St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital. So I think the Yees ought to be recognized for that and also my wife Ann who’s just a world-class networker. And she get’s people jobs because she knows every job up and down the Front Range and she’s gotten countless people jobs but the Yees, yeah.

Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for taking the time and jumping on this call with me Mike.

I’m on the line with Sara Durnil who was the co-owner of Maple Street Music Agency a management company for professional musicians. She’s on a panel called pack the effing room Sara, hello.

Sara Durnil: Hi. Oh you’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Vanessa Pagan: I’m really glad you’re here because this is probably one of my favorite most descriptive session names that’s going on during startup week.

Sara Durnil: Yeah, definitely creative.

Vanessa Pagan: Yes, the creatives are going to know. Oh, I know at this one’s about. What would you say is your hope that attendees get out of attending your session?

Sara Durnil: Well I’m hoping that there’s a obviously there’s going to be a lot of musicians who are looking to improve their show attendance by the name of the session obviously, and I’m hoping that they get out of it more than just the standard advice of doing posters and Facebook giveaways for sharing. What I’m hoping they’ll take away  is that it’s necessary to truly work every show from booking to advancing to the follow-up of the show. And really going to I know that I’m personally going to encourage bands and musicians to treat their music like a business not a hobby of course. It’s good. If it’s okay if it’s their second job, but when you put yourself in the mindset of being a professional it’s easy. It’s much easier to get your mind around how much work it is to be playing a show.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and what would you hope attendees of startup week get in general, so there’s going to be over 130 sessions, there’s going to be something of all kinds of variety of interests and topics. What do you hope attendees get out of the Fort Collins Starup Week?

Sara Durnil: More than anything there’s going to be an underlying message you know of the you can do it attitude and hope people who especially those people who maybe be at a crossroads and be getting burned out of being an entrepreneur because that happens. They just find some inspiration and some ideas to really keep going and make it happen and improve.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome and Sara if you could share with us one of your top lessons learned from your experience and your career, what would you share with us?

Sara Durnil: Oh holy cow. It is a constant learning curve. There is no magic formula in the music business. As soon as you think you have something figured out, it’s going to change. So my biggest lesson has been to be very organized and to really keep track of what you’re doing and making sure you’re consistent and being flexible because things change. Venues change. The climate changes and really what people are looking for changes and technology is changing just as fast as we’re learning it.

Vanessa Pagan: What would you say is your hope for the future of Fort Collins?

Sara Durnil: I need to get those in line for what I think is really going to happen. Right now musicians need to up their games because there is a market saturation happening and the most talented, most talented people need to be the ones who are showcased. So my hope is that the most talented bands, the most talented musicians rise to the top because they’re also the best business people. What is currently happening is sometimes just the best business people aren’t necessarily working on their craft enough not really to say that there is there’s mediocre musicians out there, but I’ve seen so much talent and just because they’re not acting as much like business people as they need to they’re not getting getting the recognition they deserve.

Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, reminds me of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth where he talks about you’re so busy being the technician. There’s no one leading the helm of the overall organization and even musicians your music is the business. So being able to wear the hats really that really resonates.

Sara Durnil: You know there is nothing wrong with the band or a musician who’s willing to work for beer and pizza and really just wants it to be their hobby, and they play every couple of months and have a good time, but I do think that the time for that is going to come is going to draw to a close simply because there’s so many bands out there. It’s going to be harder and harder to get gigs if you don’t have a professional presence.

Vanessa Pagan: Sara, we are out of time, but this has been wonderful. I can’t wait to see you face to face

I’m on the line where the Stephen Dourmashkin, who is founder and CEO of Specdrums. Steven, Welcome to the Fort Collins startup week podcast.

Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah thanks a lot for having me.

Vanessa Pagan: So Steven, can you tell me a little bit about what you hope people get from attending your session.

Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah, I hope that I can kind of like share my lessons about developing a music tech product like specifically like a hardware product.

Vanessa Pagan: What is it?

Steven Dourmashkin: Sure, so Specdrumss are they’re app connected rings that they simply turn colors into sounds. So the point of it is you can then turn like any object into an interactive instrument. So meaning you could like color your own piano, or you could play drums on your clothes. So that’s what it is.  Yeah, and we just had a Kickstarter campaign in the summer, which got funded or actually over 12 times our goal. So we’ve really been working, to finish our manufacturing and we’re updating our app, and we’re about to about the fullfill all of our orders, which is pretty exciting, but  definitely learned a lot along the way, so I hope I can share that and also just get people to know more about Specdrums since we’re Boulder company. So it’s kind of trying to spread the word.

Vanessa Pagan: What do you feel is on a bigger stage? What do you hope people get out of startup week in general? There’s going to be over a hundred and thirty sessions jam-packed

Steven Dourmashkin: Well for me. I guess I can kinda relate it when I first moved to Boulder, I went to Denver startup weekend. That was the around a year ago. I guess it really helped because I really got plugged into the entrepreneurship community. So I hope that it’s kind of the same thing in Fort Collins meet other entrepreneurs and do a lot of networking plus like learn a lot from all like the speakers and all the different events if they’re kind of just getting into entrepreneurship, so I think it’s really good learning experience.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and what would you tell a first-time startup week attendee? What would be your advice to them?

Steven Dourmashkin: I would say that it’s really. I think it’s good to plan out what you want to be seeing kind of plan out the day before you get there because there’s so many different things to choose from and yeah, just do a lot of networking because you end up meeting like a lot of other entrepreneurs there and for me it was a great networking experience.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. What do you hope for the future of Northern, Colorado?

Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah, I just hope that it continues. So part of the reason I moved here was because it’s a really great entrepreneurship community. So I just hope that it continues to grow and yeah, especially in like in regards to like new tech & hardware.

Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for listening to Startup FoCo Podcast. If you like our show and want to know more check out Fort Collins Startup week this year is February 23rd to March 2nd.

Sign up for our newsletter and join us for our next podcast episode when we talk Founders and Food.

You Say You Want a Revolution with Charisse Bowen – StartUp FoCo Podcast

In this inaugural episode, we have an in-depth conversation on what Revolution means with Charisse Bowen. We go into the lasting message in the lyrics from the Beatle’s song from 1968, Revolution that apply to current events happening today and how we can make change happen right in our part of the world.

Episode Notes

Watch Beatle’s Revolution

Charisse Bowen’s Tedx Talk:

See Charisse at Startup Week! 

Tuesday Feb 27 9:30 am Resilience in Business 

Tuesday Feb 27 3pm Business Model Canvas Workshop

Episode 1 – Charisse Bowen Transcript – StartupFoCo Podcast

Vanessa Pagan: Today for the Fort Collins startup week we’re joined by a Charisse Bowen who is the director of strategic initiatives for Blue Ocean Enterprises based here in Fort Collins, Colorado her current strategic initiative is developing forage International a new entrepreneurial training center and co-working community located in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

She was invited to build and lead the institute for entrepreneurship at Colorado State University this new calling became the Strategic shift in her life that sent her on a new professional course of teaching business and cultivating communities as a self-proclaimed entrepreneurial activist teaching and supporting start-up entrepreneurs as they achieve their goals is her life mission.

In her roles at CSU and later Galvanize and then Blue Ocean Enterprises Charisse has worked with over 300 startups from around the world and in just about every industry her unwavering desire to make the world a better place through business continues with her newest role at Forge. Where she is focused on bringing transformative change and guidance to the gifted entrepreneurs of the British Virgin Islands. Charisse, welcome.

Charisse Bowen: Thank you so much for having me so today.

Vanessa Pagan: We’re going to be talking about your experience and bringing in revolution and the guiding messages going to be through music.  Can you talk a little about before we get to the music, what is revolution about? When you say that what does that mean?

Charisse Bowen: I really want people to think differently about what it means to be revolutionary, and I do truly think that all entrepreneurs are revolutionary and their own rights whether they see it that way or not. I see when somebody can embrace being a revolutionary. It’s an incredibly powerful empowering term that hopefully lets them realize their full and truest potential to make great impact in the world.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. In order to get that big understanding of what Revolution means for entrepreneurs and Innovation you’re going to guide us through clips of Beatles songs.

Charisse Bowen: Yes, yes because John Lennon knew it. He knew it right.

Vanessa Pagan: He did and that message is so timeless, right? That music speaks to us today the same way it did 10 years ago, twenty years ago. The first song that we’re going to play a clip from is ‘You say when a revolution’. Charisse, can you tell us a little bit about what this first audio clip means to you.

Charisse Bowen:  Webster’s defines revolutionaries as somebody who does something radically new and Innovative outside or beyond established procedures or principles, and you know when The Beatles kick off by saying, “You say you want a revolution, we all want to change the world” that feels really big. This concept around changing the world but I want to encourage people to not see it that way. I think if we start to recognize our own ability to change the world that we live in and without feeling the need to change the entire world at one time it starts feeling achievable like something we can actually wrap our hands around.

And I encourage people to start by looking at their communities and looking in their own backyard and what positive impact can they make right here and in doing so they are truly changing the world. It’s their world. Which is inevitably all of our world. That concept around a ripple effect, and what that small change for the better can do for the greater good has this magnifying capabilities and so I want us all to believe that we all can change the world. If we want to.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. It reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa who talks about if everyone would just sweep the front of their door the entire world would be clean.

Charisse Bowen: Yes. Yeah, it’s so true so true.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. The next song that I’d like you to guide us through this revolutionary change is ‘But when you talk about destruction don’t you know that you could count me out’. What does that mean?

Charisse Bowen: Yeah that lyric ‘When You Talk About Destruction Don’t You Can Count Me Out’ is incredibly powerful today. I feel, unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s quite easy to find cases in situations of people being bullied. People feeling like they’re getting deep down or shut down or shut out of their opportunities and the concept of being a revolutionary has everything to do with building each other up not tearing each other down that we grow and we rise by lifting others along our way.

I love if you look at the word revolution. The word love is so perfectly placed in the middle of it. Written backwards are e v o l, and if you look at the love within the revolution you actually can understand that love is actually a key part, a key function of what it means to have a revolution. And in this world especially in the business world which can be highly competitive and highly cutthroat.

I truly believe that if instead of focusing on how we can take our competition out of the equation we can truly find a way to actually help one another on our various journeys. We will find our own pathway to success without needing to take other people out along the way. And at the heart of that ‘Destruction and don’t you know that you can count me out’.  That’s the key message there. It’s we’ve got to rise by lifting each other. We’ve got to stop tearing each other down.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great message. It applies not only in how a company can serve its customers, or its audience, but also how the company culture is built internally by who joins the mission.

Charisse Bowen: Absolutely, I mean if you look at the internal strife oftentimes that employees will feel as they work their way up the ladder per se and you hear about people acting as mentors or acting as advisors for maybe a younger or new employee to have joined the team and actually help them navigate their ways up the food chain at their various companies. I do truly think that that person that reached down to give a helping hand themselves rises with this young person as they go and when you hear examples of people who are protecting their place at the top by pushing others out of the conference room or pushing others out of the equation. I think it’s to their own demise. I think it crosses over into the corporate world as well as in entrepreneurial world quite well.

Vanessa Pagan: That reminds me of the work that you’re doing in the BVI. Can you talk a little bit about how you’re lifting up the people of BVI?

Charisse Bowen: Yeah, it’s hard to even wrap your head around the amount of destruction actually that has come upon the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean as a whole. Obviously they were heavily affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria last fall and the destruction that mother nature brought on has truly put them in a in a difficult position spending months on end really just working on having a roof over their heads and food and water and what they need to survive and I think I as I look at those that are the most resilient the ones that have bounced back and the ones that are thriving amongst a lot of this hardship have been the people who started this journey back from destruction with hands outstretched to one another. They’re the ones who look to their neighbors first to say what can I do to help you before helping themselves and as we look back here six months later now, I see those with their outstretched hands having found their ways to a much better place than some of the ones who spent little to no time looking to see who needed them. Who they could help at that time of need even though they themselves were in such a place of need. So, this I do think it is it’s like the secret to success focusing on helping one another before helping yourself.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful as a real-life example of what’s happening in our current reality of natural destructions that happens all over the world, and then we have complete demise and then we come together and rebuild.

So, in this next lyric ‘You Say You’ve Got a Real Solution. We’d All Love to See the Plan’ could tell us a little bit about what that line means?

Charisse Bowen: Yeah, as we revolutionize our worlds that were in it’s important that we focus on solving real problems. It’s not just about the fact that these real problems need solve, but I do truly think that when you’re solving problems that will help a lot of people that the collective energy of all of the people whose problem will be solved via the solution that you’re bringing are going to help carry your innovation, your business, your solution to fruition. That there’s this collective need and when they find that you’re bringing the solution to light they’re going to find a number of different ways actually help assist you in solving that problem.

People generally are going to want to help you and your desires to get this problem solved. And in creating a real logical plan, and it’s one thing to come out and say yeah, I’m going to rid the world of breast cancer because it’s a real big problem, and that’s important to me, and I know it’s important a lot of people and I’m going to go out and find a way to solve it but without a logical plan it’s not going to go anywhere. It’s just a desire. It’s just a wish, right. So building a plan around solving that it maybe it’s I’m going to create a nonprofit that supports various research agencies that are on the cutting edge of these new clinical trials that are in need of financial support that they don’t have it, and I’m going to create a platform that will help get draw attention and awareness to the this these research trials because believe that they may have the answer and I’m going to play my one little part and helping solve breast cancer through this non-profit I’m going to invent to then support these various research groups that are underfunded and need our help. And so, creating a logical plan that goes along with this problem that you’re trying to solve is important.

I’ve often talked about how with entrepreneurs when they come up with their great big idea that if that they really need to start by studying the problem that they’re solving. Is it a real problem? Is it truly a problem that causes a lot of pain? Or is this just kind of an additional convenience factor and asking themselves that if the pain or the problem that they’re solving isn’t significant enough it’s going to only make it easier for them to lose the desire the interest, the drive when they lack investor interest or customer interest or it’s that much harder to try to convince somebody to use your product or service. Because they don’t really see what the need is and that’s something that you just don’t ever want to be in that position as an entrepreneur. Really starting with solving real problems. These big ideas that we have and then focusing on building really solid plans and that’s going to get us there.

Vanessa Pagan:  That’s great. It reminds me of Dave McClure of 500 Startups. He says pitch the problem. Not the solution. Yeah, yes, they so true so and starts yeah, and I wanted to say one more thing about this plan. So, I think planning is entirely required. Now, how detailed that plan looks is questionable. So, I would like to invite everyone to attend, if you can. Charisse is doing a business model canvas workshop Tuesday February 27th at 3 p.m. Charisse, can you talk a little bit about what that workshop will entail in related to planning?

Charisse Bowen: Yeah, it’s a great planning session. In fact, business model canvases have been time tested proven tools for laying out your initial plans for your big idea. It doesn’t have to be like a full business you may even just have a good project that you’re taking on and I recommend still putting them through a business model canvas. You’ll walk away with a one-page visual canvas of really all the key concepts that are needed for understanding to get you to know what your next step is past that that big idea. And you may actually already be on your way with their business as well and putting it into a canvas format can really help you identify the holes and the areas that you need to focus your attention on or that you don’t have the answers quite figured out for yet. For visual thinkers, like myself, a 15-20 page business plan does nothing. It becomes a big stack of paper on my desk that doesn’t ever get looked at or referred to. For me, the canvas was always this great big kind of eye-opener because I could take whatever wouldn’t be in those 25 pages and put it on one 11 by 17 piece of poster board in front of me and hang it on my wall and look at it every day and live it every day. Way more powerful to present the new business I would be working on in that format. Versus a big stack of papers. Business plans are just so antiquated.

Vanessa Pagan: I hear you, and I’m really a big proponent of business model canvas, lean canvas because it’s the idea of having the whole picture and then you can see what do I need help with and this doesn’t just apply to companies like you said or startups this can be a project this could be an art exhibit, this can be a music project. I’m a big proponent. I hope people will be able to take your workshop.

The next lyric that we’re going to ask about and discuss is ‘You ask me for a contribution. We’re doing what we can.’

Charisse Bowen: Yeah, when we look at contributions, I really want to encourage listeners to ask themselves are they truly doing what they can? Are they truly contributing what they can to their various communities? I think that it was something that I learned early on in the Fort Collins community that this concept around giving before you get is incredibly important. Our startup equity around here I feel like is based on how much we give of ourselves to our communities without expecting anything in return, and it always comes back around 10-fold. I’ve never seen it not.

They say that your greatness is not based on what you have, but what you give and that is truly at the heart of the contribution. And it’s not always about money. Often times it’s about time. It’s about expertise. Do you have a skill or do you have an expertise that you can share with somebody or a group of people in the community because chances are they probably have some expertise or something that you might need as well, and it’s only through your own personal desire to share with them what you have that you will be then receive what it is that they have.

It’s interesting to go back to the BVI and what’s going on in the Caribbean right now. Right after the storms it was one of the things that was quite shocking was the lack of access to cash into money. You know the banks were closed. There’s no electricity so you can go to ATMs and get money out. And the only money that was still making its way through the country was whatever money was out and in people’s pockets at that time. And you started seeing this kind of emergence of the barter system and the ways of the old world before we had you know cash money to buy a purchase things. You started finding people, because there was no access to cash, offering food or various things in exchange for something that they may need.

It was quite interesting because I, for a just a quick second I kind of, could see what a barter driven society actually looked like. It was quite bonding from a community centric standpoint. There was such a tremendous amount of exchange of love and care when people are giving of themselves or opening up their homes to people who then in turn are going to help fix their roof and giving them a place to live and there’s this value exchange that actually seems so much more powerful than money. And it’s something that I think only in the absence of money being in existence do you really get to the heart of what do I have that I can contribute. And recognize that in doing so I will then be care for and get what I need and return.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. Oftentimes with money, we are so narrow minded in terms of amount of money means what reach I have. Well, a barter system encourages the view to go from this vertical definition of money to a horizontal definition of how wide is my reach in different areas. And that can go with time, resources you have, things you have in your home, and suddenly you’re more empowered to share and exchange things beyond the narrow definition of units of dollars. Especially in a situation like the Caribbean where there wasn’t a banking system in place after the hurricane and people still need to survive and live and eat and drink water.

Charisse Bowen:  Yeah, it was a great lesson in that. I think as a really strong startup community, that idea of contributing what we have to the betterment of the community as a whole is key. It’s key.

Vanessa Pagan: Charisse, earlier you had mentioned to me that you are bringing in entrepreneurs from the British Virgin Island to Fort Collins. Can you talk a little about? What that is and what that looks like yeah?

Charisse Bowen: So, with my program and in the BVI the Forge I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best entrepreneurs down in the BVI currently. I look at these are my rock stars, my unicorns. These men and women are the future of the entrepreneurial communities down there. And last year we brought Akeem Lennard to Fort Collins to experience startup week. He was the winner of our biz pitch competition that we did and as part of his winning we brought him here to work on startup week to experience it and he had a fantastic time, and I know everybody that got a chance to meet Akeem really loved getting to know him, and it was incredibly rewarding all around.

Well Akeem has been talking about startup week ever since he left Fort Collins and has really got a number of people excited about it back home, and so this year I’m excited that we’re actually going to have six BV Islanders here in Fort Collins for startup week experiencing and taking it all in. Akeem is coming back because he said he couldn’t let a year go by that he didn’t.

We have everything from a fashion designer to a gelato maker to a skincare company to a promotions and event management group, and it’s just it’s going to be incredible for them to all pay witness to and to experience startup week. I think we take for granted here in Fort Collins and in Colorado how lucky we are to have such an abundance of access to workshops and great content. I don’t think we truly understand how lucky we are to have something like startup week where we’ve got 130 plus free sessions for people to learn and grow and build their businesses. And for this group of entrepreneurs from the BVI something like 130 free sessions in a row is remarkable. And it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. And in its a game-changing opportunity lifetime where they’ll be exposed to new ideas they may not be able to have paid for in other ways.

And I think our community, I hope that the Fort Collins community, the Colorado community who get to meet the BV Islanders that are coming, take the time to get to know them. To hear their stories. They all have some real amazing stories of survival.

They’re going to be on a panel on Tuesday morning. I’m talking about resilience and talking about sharing their survival stories and the stories of how they come to put the pieces back together after being surrounded by such extreme adversity. Many of these lessons I think we all can learn from. I think we all go through our own battles in various ways and having some tools and tips and notions and even just hearing what these young people went through and overcame can really help put things in perspective for us. I’m thrilled to have them here and I’m optimistic that what they’re exposed to and what they see is going to end up carrying back, and have its own ripple effect through the BVI.

Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. I know that the community that I found in Fort Collins has been very welcoming and accepting and I know that I’m going to be an absolute ambassador of welcome to all of the BVI attendees at startup week and I encourage everyone to do the same.

The next lyric I wanted to ask you about is the lyric, ‘but if you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is brother you have to wait’.

Charisse Bowen: Yes, yes, this is this lyric is so true. Everybody’s heard the saying you know haters the going to hate and I truly think that as revolutionaries we can’t let that get to us. We have to let that go. I’m convinced that the self-destructive nature of hate that these people carry with them towards us as revolutionaries making our way is way more detrimental to them and their and well-being than it ever would be to us.

It was once said that success brings scrutiny, and if you don’t have scrutiny then maybe what you’re doing isn’t impactful enough. That people oftentimes well this is that good kind of goes back to that tearing down lyric. Jealousy, envy can sometimes override people’s own ability to see how somebody else’s success can still be a positive for them.

We just can’t we can’t let it get to us you know and there’s a lot of hate in this world today. Unfortunately. And it’s been quite a political environment that drives hate, and there’s just a lot of other social factors that are causing hate to be a part of our daily conversations. As revolutionaries, I think it’s okay for us to acknowledge that it’s there, but we can’t let it hurt us. You can’t let it penetrate our own selves because as soon as it does their winning. The hate is winning and is going to be able to actually slow us down or stop us or caused doubt in our own minds, in our own abilities to revolutionize the little corners of the world that we’re trying to change. And we can’t let that happen.

Vanessa Pagan: I agree. The idea that we can get rid of hate is beyond our reach, but what is within our reach is how we respond to the hate. In true music format. I am going to give two more supporting themes and one is Jay Z’s Brush the dirt off your shoulders and the second is Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off.  There may be hate but you don’t have to keep it with you.

Charisse Bowen: Right, and we can’t it. I think hate is poisonous. I was telling my daughter actually just this morning I said at the heart of hate is the stuff that causes cancer. It’s the stuff that makes people sick, it’s the stuff that can really eat our insides out and carrying hate inside yourself can be such a poison. We just have to deflect it, and we just have to keep going. I’m learning to feel really sorry for people who carry a lot of hate in their heart and can be sad for them, but not let them stop me and definitely not let them get in the way of revolutionizing my little corner of the world.

Vanessa Pagan: Well done. Our last lyric is “You say you’ll change the constitution. We all want to change your head. You tell me it’s the institution. You better free your mind instead.”

Charisse Bowen: Yes, oh yes, and how interestingly when John Lennon wrote these lyrics the institution of that time and the institution that we were faced with today have such similarities. Stephen Covey said, “you’re not a product of your circumstances, but a product of your decisions”.

It’s easy sometimes to look around and say our circumstances are keeping us down our government and the things that they’re doing are oppressing us. You know my family and the things that they’re limiting me or my friends or lack thereof are disabling my ability to get this done, and we have to change our mindset on this we can’t allow all these external situations drive the decisions and drive our own free will to accomplishing what we know we need to get accomplished.

Unfortunately, with a lot of our current institutions and bureaucratic institutions we see the problem. And as a group we might say look at that problem. Look at that problem like how it’s tearing us down like healthcare. Let’s just use as an example. You know we look at it aa great big group, point at the problem, point the problem, but I challenge us to say what are we doing to fix it.

Pointing at a problem all day long is not going to get you anywhere. Getting up and voting. Running for office so that you can overturn some of these decisions. Creating alternative, innovative ideas that actually help solve maybe some of these, using the insurance example, insurance problems. Ways around it. I’m seeing people coming up with new and innovative ways of doing private, practicing private medicine and doing it an almost like a CSA format where you get a membership to a doctor’s office, and you pay a monthly fee, and you can see this doctor once a month as many times as you need to. Or you know, I saw that and I was like, god, that’s a great. These people are being so innovative and revolutionary solving a problem like access to health care and being able to meet this health care system and what it is, and that’s at the heart of changing your head and not looking at the institutions and looking at the way that the world is writing the book and saying that’s the book that I’m going to live in. Really writing your own book for your own life and just keep going.

Vanessa Pagan: Charisse, your revolutionary inspiration to action is living proof of the quote from Gandhi of be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Charisse Bowen: Yeah, absolutely he was one brilliant soul. He was.

Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Charisse, you have been a wonderful inspiration taking us along this journey of what revolution looks like. And what revolution looks like not just in music in, our life, in startup week, at the British Virgin Islands and in Fort Collins in the world that we live in. Thank you for this interview and sharing your time with us.

Charisse Bowen: Thank you so much for having me. I look forward to changing the world with all of our startup week attendees here.

Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. Is there anything you’d like to tell someone if they’re attending Fort Collins startup week for the first time?

Charisse Bowen: I think startup week is such an incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and meet people that can really help further your business and help you take your ideas to the next level. I really want to encourage people to come to startup week with an attitude of openness and sharing and be ready and be excited about telling people who you are and what your big ideas are and not fearing somebody questioning or stealing your idea, but just really come at it with an open heart and open mind and sharing mentality because it’s part of the special sauce. It’s part of what makes that week amazing.