Networking Opportunities Abound!

Early last week, Angie and I went to an event in downtown Denver called Colorado Bikes, Biz & Beer. This was a meetup group that sets up an evening of, as they put it “a regularly scheduled, fast-paced hour of ideas, entrepreneurs and bikes to capture some of the exciting things happening for Colorado Bikes, Biz + Beer around the Front Range. “We arrived not long after the networking portion of the evening had begun, to find a good two hundred or so people already enjoying the beer supplied by Ska Brewing Company. It was really loud in the space at Galvanize and Angie and I were instantly overwhelmed. Since I can’t drink beer (usually the only adult beverage available for free at these events) and both of us were in the midst of a brown rice and juice cleanse, we didn’t venture into the craziness of the bar area, which made it hard for us to make any connections before the presentations began. So, we went and found ourselves a place to sit and awaited the next phase of the evening.

Jenn Dice of People for Bikes was the emcee for the session. There was a rapid-fire period for people to talk about jobs, happenings and so on, and then four speakers who each were given five minutes to talk with five minutes of questions.

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The first presenter was Leslie Kehmeier from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). We really loved her talk because she extolled the virtues of using a minivan for off the bike traveling while also talking about her work mapping trails for the group. IMBA’s goal is to document mountain bike routes in every state. Since Angie and I had found a minivan to be a great way to travel ourselves this year, we were all over what she was saying.IMG_0954

The second presentation was Rachel Scott from Quick Left: “Tips and Tricks to Weave the Bike into Your Business Decisions.” Rachel is the founder of Naked Women’s Racing. We were really impressed about her work with Ride for Reading.

Next up was Sarah Rawley from the VIDA Mountain Bike Series. She talked about Yeti’s women’s bike program and their efforts to respond to the growing audience of female mountain bikers.

The final speaker of the evening was Allen Lim, the founder of Skratch Labs and a former pro cycling chef. He was a dynamic speaker who talked about “Tips from the Quintessential Bike Biz Entrepreneur.” One of his key messages was: “What we learned from starting Skratch Labs, literally from scratch, is that people misjudge how much they actually need to start a business. They’re told they need millions in capital, a certain type of website, the latest marketing strategy, when the reality is starting a business is about hard unconditional work, not spending more money than what’s in the bank, and finding ways to be happy and grateful with what you do have, instead of worrying about becoming some massive success.”

This is a interesting perspective for us to take on board given that there are clear startup costs for us that go beyond what even a more fortunate than average person usually has in the bank.

The evening definitely ended on a high note with Lim’s energetic and engaging presentation.

We’ll definitely try to attend the next meet up in January, and will be better prepared for the energy in the room. This article talked a little more about the evening.

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