Culture THEN Place


People ask me all the time "why do you focus so much on community building?"  My usual response is "It's all about the culture THEN place.  If we don't generate real, authentic relationships with our family, workplaces or entrepreneurial ecosystems, we won't get very far. 

I believe that building culture always needs to come first in ecosystem building.  It can seem senseless to some, but I usually find that they are the products of places that have never actually invested the time and effort into creating a positive, supportive culture in the first place.

We are creating a fantastic culture right now in Collider.  A culture of individuals that gather together because we are stronger together than apart.  A culture of doers and dreamers. A culture of creative craziness on the edge of Discovery Square.  

This Friday will be our second FREE day of coworking at Collider.  It's a perfect time to experience our culture and our amazing people firsthand. 

We will see you there.

Collider at 3+

  The original Collider Class (courtesy of Becky and AJ Montpetit)

The original Collider Class (courtesy of Becky and AJ Montpetit)

This isn't an error...the concept behind Collider is actually a little over three years old this week.  

Close friends know that I started to sketch out the concept behind Collider in the now infamous "Red Notebook" about three and a half years ago.  During that time, I envisioned a space that would allow "random collisions" to happen more effortlessly and empower changemakers in our community.

Another little known secret about Collider is that the first iteration of Collider was actually a class that met for a little over a month in Rochester.  The concept was simple, a group of changemakers came together to learn to deal with our fears and doubts and work together to move our projects forward.

To say that this class changed the course of my life is an understatement.  This class (facilitated by the amazing Travis Wilson) forced me to come to terms with my internal demons of self doubt and fear.  It helped me realize that I didn't need permission to make a change in myself or my community.  I just needed to start doing!  

I got to know and become friends with so many fantastic people over the course that month.  Many of them were instrumental in the evolution of BioAM, and my transition out of Mayo Clinic and into the modern iteration of Collider.  

Many of the core concepts that I learned in the Collider class became the core of what Collider is today.  With all the changes happening in the Rochester area now, maybe it's time to fire up the class again to empower a new generation of changemakers?

Were you a part of the original Collider class?  Drop me an email and let me know what you are up to.


 The Legends Outdoor Mall in Kansas City, KS.

The Legends Outdoor Mall in Kansas City, KS.

It was nice to have a week off in Kansas City.  The weather didn't cooperate as well as I would have liked, but it was still nice to get away.

When I take time away from my busy life here in Rochester, I like to travel to new cities to seek inspiration to bring back to Rochester.  This usually results in giving myself a lot more work when I get back as I am energized by new initiatives and people that I meet in that city.  

This time, I purposely decided to do what I should have been doing all along, spend time with my family.  This wasn't a fact finding mission, this was a time that I needed to be present for my family.  

These last eight months have been an amazing time for me.  I have launched Collider Coworking  and helped with numerous initiatives to grow our entrepreneurial community.  This has been the most difficult, yet rewarding time of my life.  

It took this long vacation to realize that I have taken on way too much in the last few months which has resulted in time away from my business, my health and most importantly - my family.  

Last year, I had the honor of spending an hour with Brad Feld, thanks to the always awesome Rachelle Oribio.  Something that Brad said during that chat has been rolling around in my brain for the last 6 months: "only spend about 10-20% of your time on your entrepreneurial community."  Now I understand what he was talking about.  

It's time to lighten my load.  Going forward, I will be shedding my commitments that do not directly relate to my businesses, health or family.  To mix it up a bit, I will have one "passion project" that lies outside of my normal routine to keep things from becoming too static.

My apologies to those of you that I have committed to help, but simply cannot.  If I don't refocus on what I'm trying to build and the things that I care the most about, any resulting community will be meaningless to me in the long run.

A quote by Robert Tew that I have been thinking about for the last few weeks has finally crystallized in my brain during my vacation.  

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”