Denver Startup Week Reflection
Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event in North America. It celebrates everything entrepreneurial in Denver. Over 350+ sessions for founders, developers, designers, marketers, and makers. This year’s event saw more than 18,500 registered attendees. The sponsors were next level. Each event was jam-packed with incredible talent.
I’ve had the privilege of attending Denver Startup Week for the last three years. Its growth has been tremendous. It keeps getting better with time. Basecamp was set at The Commons On Champa. This is also where I attend weekly CO.Starter classes. Having that familiarity with the facilities, and the staff was a refreshing change from previous years. DSW is so massive that it can be overwhelming to navigate. Especially if you haven’t quite pinpointed your purpose for attending.
This was the first year I had a focus going into the week-long conference. I am in the midst of launching DIMERY Brand + Concept, a Denver-based social media management and content development firm for food and beverage brands. My goal was to attend as many session based around food as possible. Last year, I was fresh off a layoff from Richard Sandoval Restaurants. The year prior, I was working in a temporary role at a local startup. Neither of which gave me a solid foundation to pitch myself to other attendees. I felt confident that the sessions I registered for would allow me to gain knowledge from experts in areas I was currently struggling to comprehend.
Throughout the week, I took the reserve approach of speaking to people. For some strange reason, large crowds of strangers, in a business setting, doesn’t get me fired up to run my mouth. I found refuge in hanging around people I knew or had recently connected with. This really sparked the thought of quality over quantity and relationship building. The purpose wasn't to talk to everyone in the room but to weed out the specific people you need to meet in that room. Eventually, associates were following my content and introducing me to some wonderful contacts. Many of whom I connected with throughout the week.
I must admit I got all caught up in the DSW after hour social scene. This was right in my comfort zone. As a food blogger, I’m all about dope events with an abundance of drinks and food. Unfortunately, I let that hinder me from having the most productive week possible. A few late morning starts can allow you to miss out of an array of knowledge. Not to mention the opportunity to meet more of those quality connections.
My actions during Denver Startup Week were a pretty accurate reflection on real life. We all have an opportunity to take advantage of resources. There will be circumstances that can build muscle. Along with activities that can deter our’s performance. There will be people that will empower you. There will be others that serve as a distraction. We must prioritize based on what we are trying to accomplish. What you are attempting to accomplish must align with your actions.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” - Tony Robbins
During Denver Startup Week, I took away priceless amounts of information about the food + beverage landscape, marketing, diversity and inclusion. I also learned a great deal about myself. I justified what I prioritized out of a place of fear and comfortability. I am often uncomfortable asserting myself to a single long-term project. This is glaring in the act of opening a conversation. Fumbling over words and downplaying the truth. My actions yell, “I’m not really doing much. Or I am not good enough at what I do to make this most of this opportunity.”
This is a timely revelation, as I am set to graduate from the CO.Starter accelerator in a matter of weeks. I am still in a place, mentally, where I was prior to starting the program. In order to see results, there has to be a shift in thought, a shift in action and a shift in attitude. For the first time, in a long time, I was put in a position where I could take destiny into my own hands. Rather than rising to the occasion, I self-sabotage.
“Consistency is the most fundamental virtue to becoming the person you want to be.” - Benjamin Hardy
The weekend after the conclusion of Denver Startup week, I spent time reflecting and taking inventory. Building the life you want, often comes at the hand of building consistency in the action you take. I've been guilty of succumbing to distractions that do not align with my greater purpose. With that said, I woke up with morning feeling renewed and am looking forward to the month ahead. Happy October! Let's get stuff done!