This past weekend was Give Back Hack, a relatively new hackathon event series in Columbus, Ohio. Its modeled around Startup Weekend with variations of course, thats the fun thing about events you get to make them you’re own when you dream them up, no doubt inspired by many but you’re in the driver seat.
I really enjoy the Give Back Hack team, the event is building an idea but around a social good. Where are other Startup Weekend like events are straight up whatever you want. Give Back Hack has a nice pay it forward theme and vibe.
Columbus, Ohio keeps growing. And new people keep popping up that participate in these events. Its great to see really, like a constant flow of new people engaged and wanting to be a part of this “idea” scene that we have in town.
Suzy and the gang asked me to come do my kick off ramble and help mentor for the event. Something I always feel a bit humbled by and thankful for when asked. I done opening talks for these kinds of events for years, and I kinda forget how I got started doing it. I myself was one of those participants, sitting in row 18, alone, not knowing a soul and just clinging to my moleskin passionately optimistic as to what I could be a part of- and then I was part of something, and then that crashed and burned and then I was part of something born from those ashes and then I got “enabled” truly empowered and blazed a path that basically defines me today. This path connected me to job opportunities, hundreds of people, friendships, partners and more. It allowed me to come full circle and stay grounded in where it all started, which was at one of these events in row 18.
I used to be terrified of public speaking. I recall the early days of talking in front of people where I could literally feel my body go up about 30 degrees- I would get nervous, hot, and basically start to lose it. The more I threw myself up there the better I got at winging it, filling in the gaps, using humor, reading the crowd, shaping, and changing my own talk on the fly for the people yet staying with the why I was there.
You need strong sense of “fuck it” at times- for most things in life really. You have to just go with it. This is one of the lessons of the event itself really- let go, dream, ideate, realize, and stand true with those who you’ve sweated over the last 56hrs with.
Give Back Hack is really life accelerator.
My talk is always a bit of the usual, a few slides that encompass what I think people should remember about the event and then twinge of what’s on my mind lately, and often wrapped in a notion or key theme in my head. Kinda fun really. I basically get to pitch them before they all start pitching their ideas.
I opened with the itch- we’ve got an itch these days. Really entrepreneurship is in the air, we’re all infected at the moment. I ramble on how itches are ideas and we need to work them into rashes- prototypes and eventually epidemics – businesses. Some way to make them sustainable things. Hobby camp is cool and all but we need to make some stride for sustainability.
Next I covered 4 key things people need to do at events like Give Back Hack.
Everyone starts off as someone like i was years ago, alone in row 18, and 56hrs later I met my partner at Big Kitty Labs, we’re more than work partners, we’re basically family. Grace is a big part of that. Be humble, grateful, graceful and you can make this event last years beyond its first moment.
Now this is a tough word for me, mostly cause my time with researchers, design thinking people, they drill this into ya day after day and I got sick of the word. Of course it makes sense though, you need to have empathy to really understand what you’re building and who its for.
This all about passion, have that energy. And I firmly believe energy overcomes obstacle. Everything in your way is overcome by your energy- your passion to fix the problem, to address the problem, to reinvent yourself, thats incredible energy and it changes everything. You’re not gonna fly but you may change your perception of gravity.
Do Shit Ism
Nuff said, you’re here to make things happen. You get judged on how much you could matter, how much your energy applied to your mission and your conviction and the track record of what you have in motion now- that aspect of do shit ism, could it happen, will it happen is it happening already. These events are about making a dent on reality- did you dent it?
At the close I get to ramble a few truths on my mind- the gist is that everyone IS itching so you need to do more to stand out, and then you need to follow through, and then you need to tell everyone you followed through. Heh. My talk here for anyone to read.