StickerGiant Talks The Origins of Boulder Startup Week, Ignite, and More with Andrew Hyde and Ef Rodriguez
In this bonus episode of the Stickers on the Mic podcast, Andrew Hyde and Ef Rodriguez join to chat about the beginnings of Boulder Startup Week, Ignite Boulder, TEDxBoulder and the non-profit organization, Glider, bringing these events to the Boulder Colorado community.
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Hey, welcome to the Stickers On The Mic podcast brought to you by stickergiant.com, where we talk to our customers about business, growth, and marketing. This week, we have a very special duo in the studio here in Longmont. We have Andrew Hyde.
[00:00:58] Andrew Hyde: Hello.
[00:01:00] Andrew: We have Ef Rodriguez.
[00:01:01] Ef: What's good?
[00:01:02] Andrew: These two gentlemen are going to talk to us a little bit about the community-oriented events in Boulder, Colorado. This is a special episode for Boulder Startup Week, which is celebrating its 10th year this year. The schedule is packed. I personally have downloaded the app have checked out the schedule. For those out there listening, check out the schedule online. Without further ado, I want to let our guests talk a little bit about themselves, and how the community-oriented events in Boulder Colorado came to be and have now swept the globe.
On my left here is Andrew. Andrew, give yourself a little introduction for our listeners and talk a little bit about what brings you here today. Then we'll go over to Ef.
[00:01:44] Andrew Hyde: Sounds good. Thanks for having us.
[00:01:44] Andrew: This is a pleasure.
[00:01:45] Andrew Hyde: We're very excited. I think we laugh more than most of your guests just constantly going back and forth at each other. Name's Andrew. I grew up in Oregon. I went to school in Rhode Island, and then I moved to Colorado afterwards. Boulder's picked the three dot on a map and it landed in northern Colorado. I thought that was close enough to Boulder. I moved here and that's been 15 years. When I moved here it's a much different place. Now it's known for community and known for culture and for giving back and such. Back then it was not. It was dollar beers, happy hour. No jobs.
I applied for every job that I could in Boulder when I moved here and I didn't get. I got two callbacks. I didn't get a job. I was turned down by almost every business to be like a busboy. Yes, it was a weird place back in the day.
[00:02:36] Andrew: I moved here in 2003 myself and I would echo there. There wasn't that beating heart downtown in Boulder the way it is now.
[00:02:44] Andrew Hyde: Yes, it was great for poor college kid because it was cheap, but it was not great for starting a career. I graduated top of my class and then couldn't find work. Then slowly started getting work and slowly started networking and finding people and really grew my network. When I had the opportunity to be able to give back and build events, I took that. Since I started working on things and finding that I really love just being a service to others and throwing down and supporting those that are new and making sure that the most valuable person in the room is the newest person.
Making sure that we build events for our attendees and not for our VIP section or sponsors, but really for the average person that's there that wants to be there, that's shown that energy and passion of somebody that's new to the community.
[00:03:34] Andrew: That would have been around 2009 when the first Boulder Startup Week came to be.
[00:03:39] Andrew Hyde: Yes
[00:03:40] Andrew: That kicked it all off. There are some other events, we're going to talk a little bit about, Ignite Boulder, which is my segue and then TEDx Boulder, which is where we'll finish. But to give Ef a chance to talk. How did you then link up with Andrew and how did you then become a part of the Boulder community-oriented event space?
[00:04:01] Ef: It has been a rip-roaring ride, which is fun to say and challenging for some people. I'm from the Badlands in North Texas. I'm one of those invading Texans that everyone in Colorado hates. I'm sorry, so sorry. I moved here in 2000. I was a very, very young man back then. Not so young now. I was able to catch some of the early Boulder stuff like Penny Lane, down on Pearl Street when it was still alive.
[00:04:27] Andrew: I played open mics there.
[00:04:28] Ef: Yes I went to open poetry night there. I got slammed, so slammed.
[00:04:34] Andrew: That's not the point.
[00:04:36] Ef: Some point, I met Hyde at a local tech event, Boulder Denver new tech that used to be done on campus, I think still done on campus but it was just way wilder back then, just utter Bedlam. Amid the Bedlam, our eyes locked. I felt something, man. Like somewhere around my heart--
[00:04:58] Andrew: And the synth just started like the slow. Yes.
[00:05:01] Ef: I don't know anatomy very well. Do I have a thorax? The point is, somewhere there was a time when I knew, okay, I need to turn this tingling into something tangible. That's a play on words. Yes, I got looped into just running things. Because no one else was doing them. It was very obvious that there were a ton of people, either new to town or had already been living in town that wanted to make things happen. Whether it's startups or just even networking or bringing life. Whatever it was. I think you had a very real need to convene. That's what I spent a lot of my time doing outside of work.
All of this was volunteer time, all of it was well outside my nine to five. To come back, I left Boulder for six years. I was here from 2000 to 2012, left, came back just December late last year.
[00:05:56] Andrew: Welcome back.
[00:05:57] Ef: Delighted to see that literally everything is still going, TEDx, Ignite Startup Week, BDNT, things that obviously I didn't even touch, still alive and kicking people in the faces. I conclude that sentence, it's kicking people in the faces.
[00:06:12] Andrew: Now there's a lot of love around it. Especially one thing I always have loved about Boulder Startup Week, I moved back to Colorado in 2010, after a few years off in DC, and when I came back it was the second year, it was 2010. I was like, wow, this is really cool that this is happening here. I could have used this when I lived here. I probably wouldn't have left. Because I might have found the network or the community or the job that I needed at that time, just with the way the economy was going into that 2008 election cycle. It's nice to hear you say that.
This would be the time to talk a little bit about how Boulder Startup Week does bring those people together. Like I was saying, for me, I was like, I went to the new to Boulder even though I was a new Boulder. I went to the new to Boulder session because I felt new and these startup things felt new to me.
Talk to me a little bit, Andrew, about how creating that event, Boulder Startup Week, where does that come from? Then a little bit of that history, because if people haven't been following Sticker Giant, we've been sponsoring Boulder Startup Week and all these Startup Weekend weekend events for years. Years and years.
We're very passionate about this community. Andrew, as the creator of some of this community, can you talk to our listeners a little bit about what that means? What is a Startup Week?
[00:07:31] Andrew Hyde: Yes, so let's back up, 2007. I need to get my dates right. I started something called Startup Weekend. This is where we get people together on Friday strangers, and we try to launch companies by Sunday. Startup Weekend was this radical experiment in that, how can we rapid prototype and use technology and also use our community to meet people and grow and get our networks and work on bullshit projects. Where we can say, I know this guy, Andrew, he's a great marketer. I worked with him on a project. It doesn't mean that you worked for five years together, it means you know that you saw him do some work.
I started that, went around the world, got a lot of plans. Got it to a bunch of countries, turned it into a nonprofit, watched it thrived for quite a while. Then after that nonprofit was alive and well with that, somebody came to me and it's like, "Yes, Boulder is great. but the community is terrible." I was like, "Oh, that's news to me." I see creative people loving life and helping each other out and really being collaborative. He's like, "Yes, nobody's buying tickets for the conference." I was like, "What's this conference?" I liked the conference, it was like $2,000 and the keynote had paid for the keynote role.
It was everything that I was against. I was like the self-serving spoiled kid. I just didn't like it. My ethics and his ethics were completely opposite.
[00:08:52] Ef: It sounds gross.
[00:08:53] Andrew Hyde: Yes.
It was a conference I didn't want to attend. He's like, "Well, why don't we create a conference I want to attend?" But I'm pretty certain I don't want to go to this. I’m a weird a character in my attention. It's like, I really I'm deliberate with where I spend my time on. I was like, "All right, let's get some people together and do Startup Week. Let's do a bunch of events, let's make them free. Let's make it open for the public. Let's make it not sponsorship driven. Let's make a driven by the community." You got to take a drink every time we say by the community for the community.
[00:9:25] Andrew: Too bad it’s just water!
[00:9:25] Andrew Hyde: But really you've got a bunch of brilliant people in a town. You all are doing something professionally. You're all learning things and growing and finding passions and why don't you get together and talk about it? Let's not hide behind the $2,000 ticket. Let's hide behind actually being deliberate and spending our time on something. That's the original Startup Week. We had 55 events in five days in 2009, I believe. This is our 10th-year anniversary and it grew from there. It was like it happened. I don't think we had a $500-budget. I don't think, all of our venues were like coffee shop meetups It was just totally-
[00:10:02] Andrew: Super meetup-oriented.
[00:10:03] Ef: Yes, it was very, who has a door that they can open?
[00:10:05] Andrew: I went to Dojo4 and I was like, "This is great. This is amazing. Where have you been all my life?"
[00:10:12] Andrew Hyde: We had some struggles in that, we'd have 200 people show up to a coffee shop and the coffee shop owner is just like, "Uh." Then the coffee shop realize, like, "You know, this is community! This was great. We want you before and after this panel and we want you all next week as well."
The Startup Week grew and that was really cool to see, because a lot of people just selflessly giving. I just loved seeing the ethic that I started, which was this anti-establishment. Let people actually figure out what they want to do with their lives, and if that's be a marketer in a big company, that's great. If that started your own thing, they should know that that exists.
Yes, it's grown. A lot of Startup Weeks around the world started to take off. Then I had that conversation with a nonprofit of, I didn't mean to start another thing. I did not mean to start Startup Weekend, and then Startup Week, because if I did, I'd probably have worked a little bit more on the naming convention.
[00:11:06] Andrew: I like it, but yes, I understand what you're saying. No, there's something confusing in the list.
[00:11:11] Andrew Hyde: Our governor started Startup Day, which was stepping on toes. Let me tell you some words.
[00:11:19] Andrew: We've worked it out.
[00:11:21] Andrew Hyde: We have. We have worked it out. Are you conglomerated? This is where I want to have Ef enter again, this Glider umbrella that puts on all these events. If you're looking for the app folks in the store for Boulder Startup Weekend is under the developer Glidr, G-L-I-D-R, right?
[00:11:39] Andrew Hyde: No, glider like glider.
[00:11:40] Andrew: Like E-R?
[00:11:40] Andrew Hyde: Yes.
[00:11:41] Andrew: Glider, E-R.
[00:11:42] Andrew Hyde: Glider.com, you can make a donation.
[00:11:44] Andrew: Perfect. Glider then helps host all these events. There is a cool event that I love and I've spoken at Ignite Boulder is happening as part of Boulder Startup Week, right?
[00:11:59] Ef: Yes.
[00:12:00] Andrew: You're excited about that.
[00:12:01] Ef: So excited.
[00:12:02] Andrew: Talk a little bit about how Ignite Boulder fits into this, but then also is its own thing, if that makes sense?
[00:12:08] Ef: Yes, Ignite, it predates.
[00:12:11] Andrew: What is Ignite? What is an Ignite talk?
[00:12:13] Ef: I'll give you the overview.
[00:12:14] Andrew: Yes, please.
[00:12:15] Ef: Ignite is a very, very fast-paced talk. It's five minutes. It's comprised of 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. When you attend an Ignite event, and someone is talking about sunglasses for five minutes, and you hate sunglasses, because you're allergic to sunglasses, well, the good news is, they're only going to be talking about sunglasses for five minutes. You can go get a drink, you can go adjust your mustache, which you like more than you like sunglasses. You can go to the bathroom. I don't care where you go, as long as you come back because the next speaker is up after five minutes.
No, it started back in 2008 in a classroom on CU campus. It predates Startup Weekend. Yes, it was tiny. The first handful were yes, on campus. Everyone in the room more or less knew each other.
[00:13:04] Andrew Hyde: We're talking 100 people would show up. That was something I worked months for.
[00:13:07] Andrew: [laughs] Right.
[00:13:09] Ef: Since then, we hit our I'll say our stride, but it's an awkward term to use. The fifth event, Ignite Fire was the first one we did at the Boulder theater. We, for the most part, haven't left the theater. We do events at Chautauqua auditorium. We had one outing at the library. That was a really bad idea. It was on your birthday, more or less.
[00:13:30] Andrew Hyde: I think.
[00:13:31] Ef: Yes, since then, we've been just a mainstay.
[00:13:36] Andrew: Well, how many total number is it now for Ignite talks in the Boulder?
[00:13:40] Ef: This will be our 38th event. It will sell out because everyone before it has sold out. As far as the number of speakers, I don't have that.
[00:13:47] Andrew: No, that's okay. I just mean it happens a couple times a year. So the addition ends up you're almost 40 or something like you said, right?
[00:13:55] Ef: Yes. Ignite 40, we don't have a date yet, but later this year. For those of you who enjoy malt liquor, bring your 40s. Don't bring it to the venue. Don't do that. Sorry. Bad idea. [laughter] The point is, yes, we've been around for a long time. For whatever reason, it's a perennial favorite. I think it's because going back to what Andrew said, it's not pay to play. We're not looking for people who speak at amazing conferences with massive audiences, I don't care about that. There are different venues for that.
This is getting someone like Andrew Matranga on stage to talk for five minutes about something that you love talking about and then you're done. Then we get someone who maybe works the register at the Mountain Fountain up on stage talking about living and working in Hygiene, Colorado. It doesn't matter what the topic is, as long as there's real intent and passion behind it.
[00:14:47] Andrew: I honestly, I feel like had my life changed at an Ignite Boulder where the ER doc from Denver spoke and his pacing and public speaking and just the presentation, I remember by the end his kicker, the way it summed up, there was just not really a dry eye in the house, probably it wasn't meant to be that way. There are some emotional talks, but his message and his presentation was top notch. I just remember being like, "I want to do that. I want to try to do that." But I couldn't have done that because his story was so powerful.
[00:15:24] Andrew Hyde: I think part of the magic of Ignite is we take people that really just want to share something like a geeky passion. Can we take your geeky passion? Then the weird thing is, is that it works really well on a big stage. We get the biggest music venue in Boulder, and we pack it, sell it out, hooting and hollering. The energy is really good. You take somebody that's just they've never spoken more than 30 people in their life. Public speaking is the number one fear. We put people in these super stressful situations and they get standing ovations and they get super, they get just treated really, really well. I hate saying like rock stars, but like they're on the biggest stage.
[00:16:03] Andrew: Now you need to go backstage. I thought the rock star, it was neat.
[00:16:06] Ef: It's a real thing and what's funny going to speaking about energy. We've had couples meet and get married after having met at Ignite, I think we're up to six now. Which is extraordinary. The whole thing goes back to, it's a very welcoming community and an opportunity for people to step outside their normal box and be on stage in front of 850 people at a venue that has been host to amazing musicians and artists. Yes, now you're right there with them, which is great.
[00:16:40] Andrew: I remember being backstage and looking at some of the stuff in the green room, and I was like, "Oh my God." I knew some of these people had graced the stage, but that was when I got a little freaked out. Because I was just like, wow, what a room. What a great room? One of my favorite rooms in the world to see shows. I do appreciate that a lot about Ignite. This edition will be tacked on as part of Boulder Startup Week, correct? It's a Thursday night, is it?
[00:17:03] Ef: Wednesday.
[00:17:03] Andrew: Wednesday night this year. It's like right smack dab in the middle of the week. If anyone is picking this up, we, of course, will shout it out the day of the event. We do a fun thing for Ignite one of my favorite parts when I first started StickerGiant was y'all's name tags? Can you tell me a little bit about how you all use the name tags at the event? Other than it's an event where people don't know each other name tag, but what's the twist?
[00:17:25] Andrew Hyde: Yes, all the name badges have a title that is pre-formed. Matt Matheson, our phenomenal graphics and community guy at Ignite will come up with a bunch of funny taglines. I can't even think of any right now but they're always asking me about my best ski day of the year.
[00:17:45] Ef: You're like, I drink and I know things and then followed by your name. We're trying to tap into pop culture.
[00:17:51] Andrew: Maybe a little Game of Thrones thing.
[00:17:52] Ef: Yes, it can be Boulder-centric. I think we are a very broad audience. Not everybody is your classic developer, a tech startup person that's no longer the case, but at the same time, we know that we all tend to like similar things. Everyone loves Game of Thrones. Everyone loves typically beer gluten free or otherwise. Yes, we try to lean into that where we can just to remind people that yes, we are you too and it's on your name tags. So we can call you by your name.
[00:18:20] Andrew: It's customizable. There's 8 or 10 different phrases. Like ask me about my new thing or whatever. It's a cool icebreaker. I really appreciated that approach. Again, that's what spoke to me when I first started writing about Ignite talks. That is a global organization.
[00:18:36] Andrew Hyde: It's also a nonprofit now as of a week ago or so.
[00:18:39] Andrew: Nice.
[00:18:39] Ef: Yes. We got word from the guy who founded Ignite the original one, Ignite Seattle Break Forest. Yes, they're now a 501c(3). There are changes afoot, but generally speaking, we're plowing forward of what we do because clearly, it works for Boulder.
[00:18:54] Andrew: This is one of the biggest longest running communities of Ignite talks.
[00:18:58] Andrew Hyde: I think it is the biggest.
[00:18:59] Andrew: The biggest.
[00:19:00] Andrew Hyde: We've definitely had the biggest Ignite in the world. At Chautauqua, about the 1,400.
[00:19:04] Andrew: That's so cool.
[00:19:06] Andrew Hyde: Yes, and then I think total attendance, video views, I think every category were number one, but it's all about radical hospitality. It all goes back down to that.
[00:19:17] Andrew: People come in, they feel welcome.
[00:19:18] Andrew Hyde: We do have a VIP section now. Did I tell you about this last event? Somebody came up to me and was like, "Hey, what's up with the VIP section? Because Boulder Theater has a VIP section." I was like, "I don't know. I've never been out there." "You want to go and check it out?" We totally like, "I rented the venue. I can take this off." I took down the thing and then a bunch of people sat at the VIP section, I was like, "This is nice."
[00:19:38] Andrew: It's a little bonus for past speakers or people that help on the event or if you do have all the tickets are the same price.
[00:19:44] Ef: We go for stuff like that. I'm a big fan of quirk, and we bought trophies in the past. Weird plastic bowling trophies just to give to people mid-event for no reason. Yes, it's a lot of nonsense because we are a lot of nonsense.
[00:20:00] Andrew Hyde: I don't know how there's another tradition that just blows my mind that became. During intermission, you grab a drink. The bartender, Jay has been there for years. I think he even works there anymore, he has a six-pack of Stella. I'm a celiac, I don't drink Stella, I don't drink beer.
[00:20:13] Andrew: I've been on the receiving end of one of those Stellas- [chuckles].
[00:20:15] Andrew Hyde: He's like, “Here's your six-pack of Stella," and he hands me the carrying case too. I'm like, “Thanks, Jay.” I pay for some bears and then I'm, “What the hell do I do with this?"
[00:20:25] Andrew: "What do I do with this six-pack?"
[00:20:26] Andrew Hyde: Somebody's like, “Hey, can I have a Stella?” People are delighted by it. Now, I go back and I get two six-packs now, but every Ignite for the past whatever how many years.
[00:20:34] Andrew: That was a moment of delight for me.
[00:20:35] Andrew Hyde: Eight or nine years.
[00:20:36] Andrew: I was streaming for StickerGiant at that show and I was like, “Man Ignite Boulder is a good time.”
[00:20:42] Andrew: You know what I mean. I'm am work.
[00:20:44] Andrew Hyde: I want to know the original person that ordered a six-pack of Stella, look like me because I've got a twin somewhere.
[00:20:50] Andrew: That's fantastic. Someone out there is missing a Stella. If you're listening Stella drinker, Andrew owes you a six-pack, it's been five years. We've talked a little bit about Boulder Startup Week. We've got Ignite Boulder which is this community. They're all community events, but then the next level of branding for Glider and one of your properties is TEDxBoulder. Andrew, can you start us off with the genesis of that. These are all events that are under the Glider umbrella but TEDxBoulder is special thing in and of itself.
[00:21:23] Andrew Hyde: I go back. TED back in the day didn't publish videos. Then one of their videos leaked and then got a million views on the Al Gore video. Then they're like, “We should publish our videos.” They're very reactionary on that. Then TED went to India and then suddenly there's 500 TEDIndias or TEDs happening in India. I was like, “Wait, there's huge energy for what we do, but on local level and we can either facilitate that or not." They announced TEDx and I decided to try to grab a license, somebody actually from Longmont owned it. George Maurice. You know about him.
[00:21:58] Andrew: Yes, George. [laughs] Hi, George.
[00:21:59] Andrew Hyde: I was like, "Hey man. I want to do this." He was like, “Great, yes, I've been thinking about it for two years. I really want to do it," but he hadn't actually put it into action, and I through Ignite & Boulder Startup Week had done quite a few events. He's like, “Yes, let's do it.” I'm like, “Great, let's do it three or four months from now." He's like, “Yes, 100 people, 200 people.” I'm like, “How about 1,000?" "How about we do the largest venue in town?"
[00:22:22] Andrew: That was?
[00:22:23] Andrew Hyde: We did in Chautauqua. Venues are interesting that they don't just rent to a random promoter. You've got to actually have a track record and if you haven't sold out another venue in town, they won't even talk to you. luckily, I'd sold out some venues in town.
We started TEDx, it's not technology education and the design. TED, we're just having right now in Vancouver they're saying it's world changing. It's just bigger ideas. What do we think about futuristically talking, what's the style that our community embraces and such? We curate that event. We've been very successful. We've had seven videos on TED.com which is huge for TEDx especially.
[00:23:01] Andrew: The community.
[00:23:03] Andrew Hyde: Smaller. I think there's one other TEDx in the world that has got more videos on TED.com than us. I've got to check that though, changes every year. Yes, we do a really super quality event. We have two sessions, 14 speakers, two musicians and it's really just discussions on what we see as things are going to matter next year for you.
We are talking about CBD and cannabis eight, nine years ago. We were taking those risks and putting those big names on stages. Josh’s talk got a million views, Ash Beckham broke on the scene. She actually did an Ignite talk, and she was a I think softball league director.
[00:23:43] Ef: She's a badass.
[00:23:44] Andrew Hyde: That was her professional title, and now she's a professional speaker.
[00:23:46] Andrew: She moved down quite a bit from that. That's Ash Beckham, folks. We'll get a link of that.
[00:23:50] Andrew Hyde: Nicest person ever. She now does this professionally and she had the most viewed TEDx talk of all time at one point, just a phenomenal rise and story and it's all about story. It's all about your story mattering and everybody's got a different story. I think your tagline as a company is Every Sticker Has a Story, and I really believe that everybody's got this very interesting story. It's sometimes very hard to get people to understand the interesting stories and necessarily be a nice person or be a nice person, it's awesome. I try to do it every day, but creating a beautiful talk, a well-crafted talk, that elite level story is often not just trying to focus on how great you are.
[00:24:34] Andrew: Totally yes.
[00:24:34] Andrew Hyde: It's actually trying to build on what are relatable problems. What are the obvious solutions?
[00:24:40] Andrew: That show and I've worked on that too for StickerGiant, and I've started helping out a little bit when I can. Ef, you're working on it too?
[00:24:48] Ef: Yes.
[00:24:48] Andrew: The things that I've noticed behind the scenes at a TEDx event. It's great to have a founder, starter, organizer, whatever, but then there's a team of people that help those speakers, they help the people get into the door. There's a lot that goes into an event like that. For folks who are interested in event planning or organizing that's what this talk we're having right now is all about. Talk a little bit about how that works to coordinate some people and then Andrew jump in as well as you see fit. You've done the Ignite thing. TEDx is slightly different level.
[00:25:26] Ef: My socks tend to match when I work on TEDx. There's a greater expectation around it, the polish that is expected. It's not extreme, but it's significantly more than Ignite. Ignite, by contrast, is pretty gnarly. TEDx, we want to put on a hell of a show. Not that Ignite isn't a hell of a show, but it's just a bit different. We think of stage design, even sourcing speakers. There's a lot of very deliberate and mindful decisions that are made to make this worthy of having TED in its title because that has a certain expectation among people who know what that means.
For me, wrangling people together for something like TEDx it becomes a real crucible of volunteer. It really is a test of what it means to be a volunteer. Some people just drift away. We've had all sorts of episodes where people have said, “Yes, I'm totally down to do X, Y and Z." Then they do none of those letters.
[00:26:32] Andrew Hyde: That doesn't happen often though.
[00:26:34] Ef: Not too often, but it's one of those things where we really need people contributing because there's speaker coaching, there's PR, there's stage design, there's social media, there's working with the venue, there's so much involved and for a lot of people this is a major outing.
[00:26:53] Andrew: It's a circled date on the calendar.
[00:26:55] Ef: Yes, everything is dialed up a bit more. For me, it's always a question of is everyone really committed to making this happen? Because it requires a touch more than everything else we work on.
[00:27:07] Andrew Hyde: If you're an event organizer listening to this, it might surprise you that we really don't have meetings for any of these events. TEDx, I don’t think we have a meeting.
[00:27:20] Andrew: We have the volunteer meeting the night before these things.
[00:27:21] Andrew Hyde: Which is a dinner to say, "Thank you."
[00:27:23] Andrew: That's it. [laughs] That’s like, “Hey, we're going to work this thing. We're thanking you in advance.” That's cool. I like doing that as well.
[00:27:30] Andrew Hyde: It's setting the culture, it's saying, “We're here for hospitality. We're here to make people feel welcome. You're the first person.” They're going to see when coming to the event.
[00:27:37] Andrew: They don't know that you just signed a form to volunteer. They look at you as, “Hello, where is my seat?” You're like, “Let me help you.”
[00:27:45] Andrew Hyde: Yes, let's be excited about this. We do all these events. It's a non-profit now and we became non-profit because I think the total budget for these events got up to be about a quarter million dollars a year that I was operating off of my-
[00:27:58] Andrew: Wow, credit card. [laughs] That's not safe.
[00:27:58] Andrew Hyde: -credit card, yes, which is gutsy because if any of them didn't sell out, that's not-
[00:28:02] Andrew: Yes, that's not what you want.
[00:28:03] Andrew Hyde: We had the Boulder flood 10 days before an event.
[00:28:06] Andrew: That was huge debt. That was my first. I remember that.
[00:28:09] Andrew Hyde: Which was a very special time.
[00:28:11] Andrew: That was a big TEDx, that night.
[00:28:13] Andrew Hyde: I wore my boots, my volunteering boots and showed up to a house and dig out their basement that was ruined.
[00:28:20] Andrew: September of 2013.
[00:28:22] Andrew Hyde: Eight feet of mud in somebody's basement. I stepped on stage wearing my dirty boots and just being like, “Hey, let's be real community. A lot of you are not thinking about this right now.”
[00:28:32] Andrew: We had our last guest. His business started from that flood like he was hit. It was part of his story was the Boulder flood. It meant a lot, to get people together.
[00:28:43] Andrew Hyde: Very helpful.
[00:28:45] Andrew: That room was hyped to share and there's a little bit of healing that went on that.
[00:28:50] Andrew Hyde: Absolutely.
[00:28:50] Andrew: I have not forgotten.
[00:28:52] Andrew Hyde: It's reverent. Together, we need--
[00:28:55] Andrew: Maggie too. That was like a church.
[00:28:55] Andrew Hyde: Yes, it was Maggie. Ash Beckham gave her most viewed talk of all time there. I like TEDx as far as what it stands for. It's a really tough design audience. Let's talk about designing.
[00:29:10] Andrew: Yes, please.
[00:29:11] Andrew Hyde: Boulder Startup Week, 80% of our attendees want to speak next year. You can look at that in a bad way. "I'm so talented I'm going to listen to a panel," or you can look at that in, "I get to be in a room where everybody is at that level." I think that's the special part of it. It's like nobody's trying to sell you something. You're going to show up. You've attracted to a crowd of actually talented people. We're not trying to market you or trick you, “Got you. haha. You're trapped now.”
[00:29:39] Andrew: Download the app on the way out guys. It's like, “What? I don't even want the app.” You learn something hopefully.
[00:29:44] Ef: It's painfully true.
[00:29:45] Andrew: [chuckles] You know what I'm saying? You go to enough tech events like that or conferences.
[00:29:50] Andrew Hyde: People must think about life much differently, but on the design aspect, TEDTalks are incredibly airbrushed. Cosmo magazine is not real people. That's not relevant but if I said, "I'm looking for a date tonight that looks exactly like this," people will look at me as a fool. If I told you that the same amount of editing goes into TEDTalks, most people don't realize that.
[00:30:16] Andrew: It's not just someone showing up and riffing.
[00:30:19] Andrew Hyde: They'll change the pitch of somebody's voice to make it more cynically pleasing. They're very, very edited. There's a Talk from Chautauqua last year where the guy forgot all his lines.
[00:30:34] Andrew: I remember that.
[00:30:35] Andrew Hyde: I was yelling out his lines from the audience. If you watch the video, you cannot tell. It's an amazing video. You can tell for the last bit because the audience gives him the big standing ovation we've ever had because it's the gutsiest thing ever. It's the biggest fear everybody has, is public speaking. People show up to TED thinking that it's just about science or it's just about whatever they've watched which is generally whatever they're interested in.
[00:31:01] Andrew: Like one of our guests at TEDx Talks, Beth, for bees, she talked about bees.
[00:31:07] Andrew Hyde: We've got people showing up thinking that TED is about bees. [laughs]
[00:31:10] Andrew: It's about opioids or it's about neurodiversity or space exploration and whatever.
[00:31:17] Andrew Hyde: Then they're like, "Why is this person talking about relationships?" "Why is this person talking about engineering?" We have a very interesting design challenge of getting people to understand that their favorite talk is not going to be their neighbor's favorite talk. You're in a community which means there's going to be peaks and valleys and that means you've got to appreciate them all for their beauty. We do surveys-- I stopped doing customer service, just weird.
[00:31:42] Andrew: Do you get some feedback?
[00:31:44] Andrew Hyde: Yes, a lot of feedback. I think my takeaway from it was, "Oh, they're just negative." I volunteered to do something for the community, and you had a problem with that? I really don't value your problem more than I value the energy and the community that I saw. If there's a problem that you're going to bring up, I saw it too most likely, 99%. I don't think there's somebody that's been surprised. I've seen the feedback, but I'm just like, "Wow, I'm volunteering to help this jerk." [chuckles] I just want this to be so full of life.
[00:32:15] Andrew: It's that you take the good with the bad, that's the hard part about that. I know you've sent some feedback around and people have questions about selection of speakers and content.
[00:32:22] Ef: Every time. For every event. Not just TEDx, Ignite, everything. We've been accused of favoritism or whatever. We never win, but the event goes on.
[00:32:34] Andrew Hyde: We always win. We're extremely ethically minded and--
[00:32:38] Andrew: It's a zero-sum thing where it's, we're going to put on the best event every time we can where we want to get people the door and, maybe, change some lives, but the outcome, at the end of the day, is that you have sparked something or somebody else.
[00:32:49] Ef: We are all immensely proud of what happens at the end of every Ignite. We do an Ignite team hug on stage. It's purposeful. All of the time we spent doing this thing which is all volunteer, was it worth it? Did we provide value? Inevitably, the answer is, "Yes." It's worth everything we just described which is some petty comments and whatever. That's fine. That's part of doing this.
[00:33:17] Andrew: That's part of organizing and that's why you have to have a little bit of tough skin as an organizer and be able to delegate and all that stuff.
[00:33:30] Andrew Hyde: Somebody came up to me and he's like, "I love this, it does so much for me." I'm like, "That's great." I don't do it for you, I do it for me. I love the feeling I get from these events. I'm glad that you also provide value, get something out of it too. It was a joke, not in spite. But in all reality, all the volunteers just want to feel good about what they're doing and thrown down like, "Yes, we get to go in the green room at these venues." We're usually, a front row and cheering on our friends. It's a magical feel to be able to do that and be able to be a part of it and to volunteer and build a structure wherever it just throws down when they can. If they have a kid or if they get busy, that's no problem. There's no stress at all.
[00:34:04] Ef: On the topic of volunteers, there's a lot of people moving to Boulder, moving to Denver because there's a lot to do here now. Google's massive. There's more companies to come. TEDx and Ignite, beyond the core organizing team, there's loads of volunteer opportunities. Loads of ways for people to hop in and start to meet people and contribute to something, feel something. It accomplishes so many different purposes. Not just getting people on stage, but getting people in the venue, helping people to their seats, wearing Ignite T-shirts, whatever happens to be. You're now part of something.
[00:34:37] Andrew: What I really liked about TEDx the first one I went to, I had lived in Boulder already, but the new to Boulder, it's the same thing. If it's on the CU campus in the fall usually, if it's the Mackee event, there's a lot of students and you're able to grow this young audience of people who are right there and want to be influenced and are sponges. It's a freshman, sophomore college, whatever.
That, to me, was so neat because you have these older folks who are out for a night of culture. Dressed to the nines, it's super cool to see that. Then, you have college students meeting on the Norlin Quad just being like, "Whoa." Then, it's separate, they come together and like, "Whoa, did you--" That was really neat to me to see a fly on the wall. I really appreciate it.
[00:35:20] Ef: I had a lunch out with a Kyle Duda, he teaches over at CU engineering, about this topic about getting students involved. The strata, it allows for that. If you're a student, you've got plenty of things on your plate, but there's room for you too for sure. I don't know how many of our Startup Week events are 21+, we do keep an eye on that when we can, but we want everyone in.
[00:35:48] Andrew: That spoke to me a lot, as a former CU student and these things would have been so great had they been existing when I was there, but I'm glad they are now. The last little piece of the Glider umbrella, we've talked about Boulder Startup Week, Ignite Boulder, TEDx Boulder. Then, there's the Boulder Tech podcast. We always love to plug podcasts on our podcast. Andrew, can you tell us a little bit about just a Boulder Tech podcast?
[00:36:13] Andrew Hyde: Yes. Joe Davis has said it's just a one to one conversation with the tech leaders in Boulder. It's certainly CEOs and people that are doing interesting stuff. It goes down to the students at Watson, CU students have been on it, CEOs of bigger companies have been on it. Yes, Glider, our mission is really about community and culture, Colorado and how do we be radically inclusive? Inclusive thinking to build strong community, I think is the official mission.
We've adopted a lot of smaller things, we've got WILD which is the Women's Leadership Council of the CU campus, CU Hackathon. All these small events. We just need that nonprofit backing. I wish that I had that when I was starting my events and not just throwing my credit card and not knowing how to do-
[00:37:01] Andrew: It gives more structure. You have a team that you work with for all these events and of course, then it delegates out to volunteers. We've had a wide-ranging discussion on this stuff, we usually like to have you all shout out where to find these things, we've given a few different topics. Where can we find Glider?
[00:37:22] Andrew Hyde: Glider.com. There's links to everything from there.
[00:37:25] Andrew: It's boulderstartupweek.com, igniteboulder.com and then, tedxboulder.com. Just like they sound. Then, Andrew, what's your handle out there?
[00:37:40] Andrew Hyde: On Twitter, I'm @unicorn. There you go.
[00:37:46] Ef: It's funny. We have this little cluster of very, very close friends. Myself, Andrew and our dear friend, Jeremy Tanner. We all have animal usernames on Twitter. We're @unicorn, @pug, and @penguin.
[00:37:58] Andrew Hyde: I'm the only real one.
[00:38:00] Ef: It's delightful, it just makes me so happy.
[00:38:03] Andrew: Hi, Jeremy, I hope you've gotten this far into the episode. We've got @pugofwar, we've got @unicorn on Twitter. What is next though for F&A? What is next for Andrew and F?
[00:38:18] Ef: We've been talking about doing a podcast. If I have talked to you lately on the street, I probably mentioned podcasts. I'm obsessed right now, I'm listening to them at 2x speed which means I speak a little faster than-
[00:38:29] Andrew: [fast mumbling] [laughs]
[00:38:30] Ef: Yes, certainly. They're back. Podcasts-
[00:38:33] Andrew: They never left but they're vogue.
[00:38:36] Ef: Starting a cereal, everything just suddenly became way more real. The Gimlet acquisition with Spotify. Andrew and I have been talking about doing our own podcast. We don't have any idea of the topic or the subject matter because that requires real work.
[00:38:50] Andrew Hyde: It's going to be about pettiness. A podcast about petty things.
[00:38:54] Ef: The point is we would like to name the podcast, "F&A." [chuckles] Basically, it's a podcast that only exists because we thought of a cool title.
[00:39:02] Andrew Hyde: Which is most podcasts.
[00:39:03] Ef: That helps. On the real, everything you've described is what I'm 100% focused on. I've only been back in Boulder for four months and just reconnecting with, not just old friends, but there's a ton of new people in town. Real movers and shakers and, I want to be moved and I want to be shaken. That is 1,000% of my focus right now.
[00:39:25] Andrew: We have Boulder Startup Week is kicking off on May-
[00:39:30] Andrew Hyde: 11th, 13th.
[00:39:32] Andrew: There's events starting on the-- I think there's a Sunday event, if I'm not mistaken.
[00:39:37] Andrew Hyde: There is.
[00:39:37] Andrew: "Welcome to Boulder." Probably or something like that, I was looking on the schedule. It's a whole week starting on Sunday, I think, evening in the second week of May. What's always cool about that time is CU is-
[00:39:49] Andrew Hyde: Just out.
[00:39:49] Andrew: Just out. I always appreciate it too where you have the young hungry grads who have no idea what's going on in their life and you have the kids on break, it's quieter downtown a little bit.
[00:40:03] Andrew Hyde: Got a job fair, that's massive. A lot of people find. More than 2,000 people come through it, which is pretty funny because you got somebody's boss they're hiding from.
[00:40:12] Andrew: Oh, wow. That's awesome. Circle that on the calendar. We're going to try to have this episode up before that. We want, of course, to promote Boulder Startup Week. There will be a Ignite Boulder that Wednesday a Boulder Startup Weekend. Of course, these events happen on a yearly basis. They're annual events, they're must appoint, they're must see TV.
[00:40:32] Andrew Hyde: Ignite is a quarterly event that happens three times a year.
[00:40:35] Andrew: That's right.
[00:40:37] Andrew Hyde: Ignite happens or TEDx happens twice a year. June 1st and early spring and fall and then October 20th. This year, we're doing Mackee. Our Startup Week is once. We're at one, two, three. I never thought about it that way.
[00:40:50] Andrew: Perfect and then F will be there carrying the torch and building community too. We, of course, thank you everyone who's had a chance to listen in to this. I hope you got some value.
I guess actually the last little thing I wanted to touch on before we go, how do you market these events to get people in the door? We didn't really talk about that specifically other than creating a great event that's free and being inclusive, et cetera, but this is a major task that is, like we said, volunteer-driven in a sense. There's a great brand behind all these properties, but when you started these and we're doing this, getting people in the door, it's got to be a challenge.
[00:41:24] Andrew Hyde: Yes. First of all, say, our longest supporter is StickerGiant of all these events. If you're out there and just wondering how you can help out and see quality events like this happen in your community, a lot of it's just leadership through sponsors. It's showing up and it's being supportive and not asking too much. It's writing a check. It's stepping out of the way and letting people really love you for what you are. Thank you to you guys.
[00:41:49] Andrew: We appreciate it.
[00:41:50] Andrew Hyde: Really, the longest sponsor we've had.
[00:41:54] Andrew: Live streaming when we can.
That was fun.
[00:41:57] Ef: Yes, John Fisher specifically has just been herculean. I adore him and this company for sure.
[00:42:06] Andrew: Thank you for that. We appreciate that.
[00:42:08] Andrew Hyde: How do you create amazing events? You have to have a track record. It's like there's so many events that have come through. I keep on waiting for another spoken word event to come into Boulder and start selling out venues, but it just doesn't happen. I'm just like, why? This is proven. This works here. It's like if there's a track meet in town it sells out. There should be another track meet. It doesn't quite happen. I still can't figure out why. Somebody wants to write me and tell me exactly why that's not happening. Let me know, but you create events.
You create events and you have ethics from the top that say, we start on time, we're not going to lie to the audience. We're going to provide an amazing experience. We're going to buy you a drink at the bar, we're going to talk about that. We're just going to let you be delighted several times throughout the night. We're going to make sure that you're not going to get pitched.
We do a lot of the hard work and we have a lot of the hard conversations protecting the stage and protecting all of that attention and value. Yes, you're going up on stage in front of a bunch of people, if you've spoken a lot. An organizer telling you you need to practice isn't what you want to hear. Because you're used to it, you're used to winging it, you're used to being in the floor and getting up there and feeling the audience. We're saying no, this is something you should really take, pay attention to, and really develop a story.
This is the next level. This is your best talk that you've ever have given. You should treat it as that way. When you do that, and you have that ethic as an organizer, I think it trickles down to the quality of the event, but also we don't have ticket fees. The negotiations I have with venues are basically to cut out the ticket fees. Which usually go to the promoter.
[00:43:41] Ef: Yes, 10, 15 bucks sometimes that's the ticket price.
[00:43:44] Andrew Hyde: Yes, our price for tonight is 15 bucks and we check out, it's 15 bucks.
[00:43:48] Andrew: Right, huge value.
[00:43:50] Andrew Hyde: Our venues, when we have to use their ticketing, I negotiate that down. I'll take a loss on my ticket price to have that. We obsess over the details of the little things. I think that shows we have people that have been showing up to events for 10 years, that are just like core supporters. If they're in town, they're at our event. That's just a great honor and a great responsibility to have.
As a chef, you're only as good as your last plate. You hear that. You won this award five years ago, that's great. But you just put out a terrible dish. Every event, we still have to be on our toes. We still have to care and have that fear in the back of our mind that this audience is much smarter than we are.
[00:44:30] Ef: I agree completely. We have to be super, super protective. Because you have a sold out Boulder theater to speak to depending on just your agenda that can go any number of ways. We try to ferret out those people who are very clearly about their business or their financial aims. It's achy out there. It's unfortunate, so yes, we have to be constantly on guard because it's quite a coup to get on stage in front of that many people and talk about your pyramid scheme or whatever.
[00:45:01] Andrew Hyde: Yes, we had a couple Ignites ago, we had Cecile CC talk about being intersex and she's Catholic. She's like "Well, the Catholic Church has a weird relationship with gays. Can gays get married in the church?" She's like, "This isn't a debate. This is how I was born." She learned Latin and spoke directly to the pope to ask,"Am I allowed in the church?" Which was very agenda driven, but also super geeky and super interesting to have learned a language to then try to pitch somebody.
[00:45:36] Andrew: Expanding your knowledge. I'm trying to advocate.
[00:45:39] Andrew Hyde: I love when people have agendas that are just so geeky.
[00:45:43] Ef: I want to teach people about my love of roller coasters.
[00:45:40] Andrew: Yes, talk about friction and force and gravity.
Again, thank you so much for sitting in. We appreciate obviously the love back from your community at every event and the message to the folks who are getting started is obviously sweat the details. Get a good team around you. Then creating the community, that's not a just add water kind of thing. It's not, but at the same time, if you have the right ingredients and you have the right recipe, you can succeed. Check out Boulder Startup Week, glider.com is our larger topic of the day. We appreciate all of you for listening in. Thank you to Andrew.
[00:46:29] Andrew Hyde: Thank you so much. Ef doesn't get enough thanks for all he does, and he really is the hero.
[00:46:34] Andrew: Thank you to Ef. Both of these two gentlemen who joined us today, thank you very much for listening. As always, every sticker has a story on the Stickers on the Mic Podcast. We appreciate you out there listening. Leave us a review if you've liked what you've heard, and of course, if you want to try us out, you can try the coupon podcast to take 20% off your order. I'm Andrew, it's been a pleasure hosting this conversation for the podcast team here at StickerGiant. We will see you next time.
[00:47:04] Andrew Hyde: You're good at that. You're very good at that.
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