Awhile back I was Tweeting to Jeremy Hanks, local business owner and CEO of Doba.com, a direct-ship solution for small businesses, suggesting the idea of doing monthly entrepreneur/bootstrappers breakfasts here in Salt Lake and Surrounding areas. It was an idea I took from some out in San Francisco intended for entrepreneurs to meet and share ideas with each other, and build community and help with each other. Jeremy, who bootstrapped the very successful and profitable Doba.com himself, mentioned he had a better idea, and soon after announced a really neat concept that I think could really encourage the local entrepreneur scene here in Utah to take off.
The concept is called “Launchup“. When I spoke with Jeremy, he compared the idea of Launchup to a “community barn-raising for entrepreneurs.” Jeremy, a very down-home, outdoorsy guy himself, shared the story of how in olden times communities would hold “barn-raising” events where the entire community would get together and help out the one Farmer who needed a barn built. They would often have the entire barn, with the help of every member of the community, built within a day. Those not involved would often be outcast – it was simply a responsibility of everyone in the community to help out that one businessman/farmer. This fits right in line with my “Small Community” concept I often talk about in my presentations.
Jeremy also talked about his inspiration from President Obama, who he quoted, saying in his Inaugural address, “…it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things…who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity….a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.” It was from this that Jeremy’s concept, Launchup.org was begun.
The idea of Launchup is simple. Get a whole bunch of entrepreneurs in a room together. Have 2 or 3 entrepreneurs present their companies to the group. Get free feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the other entrepreneurs. Jeremy calls each of the entrepreneur sessions, “Barns”, and he’s really embracing Social Media to try and promote this. All sessions will be broadcast live to the entire world via Doba’s own live broadcasting equipment (I expect this should be good – Jeremy just spent a couple weeks in India while running his company), and all can participate, whether you live in Utah or not. In this case the community raising the barn is not only Utah, but the entire Social Mediasphere itself.
On Twitter, you can chat about it with the hashtag, #launchup. I’ve talked to them about Ustream, and I think we’re working on solutions around that as well as Facebook and other platforms to ensure all can participate and share with friends. As a real-life community event, this is the essence of what Social Media is about.
The next Launchup, Wednesday (today), will be very interesting. There are 2 local startups that will be presenting. TweetBooty will be talking about “a new way to access amazing discounts and giveaways from qualified local retailers.” Entice Labs will be talking about a technology that connects employers with these “passive candidates” by placing relevant and enticing career opportunities directly in front of them. The event will kick off with an “Amp Session” with a quick presentation by Ben Peterson, who founded MingleMatch.com, and sold it in a matter of years to Spark Networks for millions. Each presenter only has 15 minutes to make their case for the audience.
This should be an interesting event for all, and knowing Jeremy (and myself being somewhat involved as well), I fully expect the most interesting startups to all be part of these. If you’re a local, I expect to see you in person there. If you’re a blogger, early adopter, entrepreneur, or just like to see cool new and interesting projects, and want to participate in helping other entrepreneurs do better (Scoble and Louis, we’d love to see you in the chat and live stream!), come join us this evening.
The Launchup event starts at 6pm MST, March 25th. You can come in person to the Doba offices at 1530 N Technology Way, Orem, UT 84097 – Canyon Park Technology Center Building D, or participate online by going to http://doba.acrobat.com/launchup1/. Be sure, especially if you will be there in person, to Tweet “I’m going to #LaunchUp, are you?” in order to RSVP for the event. If there is a Ustream for the event I’ll Tweet that out tomorrow as well. Come join us!