Last Saturday at the 7th Startup Accelerator unconference for entrepreneurs in Appleton, Wisconsin, the mystery of this new-to-me adventure was somewhat revealed.
There were breakout sessions on business structures, on protecting intellectual property, on the traditional model of Great Idea to Talented People to Business Plan to Nirvana (megabucks from a source that has many more megabucks), and ones that I didn’t attend. And of course my meditation session, which readers of my earlier blog may recall.
Contrary to the prior image in my head, meditation didn’t draw a huge crowd, 3 people, Trina, Brandon, and one of them was my wife, Alayna. Since the indoor acoustics weren’t good for meditation–hearing other groups chattering is not conducive to reaching the great stillness—we went outside.
Sitting beside the Fox River in the sunshine,temperature about 70°F, hearing the gentle rush of water over the dam several hundred yards away, was a downright pleasant experience, meditative you might say.
I taught diaphragmatic breathing and alternate nostril breathing, and we paid some attention to the third eye and the heart chakra. We chatted about meditation, too, and when we were called back for the wrap-up we were like reluctant school kids at recess. We did obey.
The best part for me was that the participants in my session did appreciate it, and I appreciated them.
Regular readers of this blog know that I take my meditation seriously but not solemnly. There is a huge difference. It does take some effort over weeks or months or years to reach a space where the meditative experience becomes sort of second nature, a part of oneself. Until then the process can be elusive, frustrating, maddening, but not that much different from learning any other skill.
Think basketball, swimming, or calculus. For me, it’s all about having fun.
It was noted that no one at the unconference was seen to use the two feet rule. Everyone stayed put in their session until the bell rang, so to speak, and then moved on to the next session. It was pointed out to me that there was a certain rigidity in some of the groups, too much theoretical formula, not enough down-to earth sense of adventure. If entrepreneurship isn’t adventure I don’t know what it is.
We further discussed the idea, at the Fuel Cafe, that not every startup needs to borrow money, particularly if the business offers a service. Debt is a heavy extra burden if you don’t absolutely need it.
The bottom line for me is that I met interesting people and heard about interesting activities and ideas. I’m looking forward to the next one.
The consensus of the three of us at the cafe seemed to be that more looseness in the unconference would be a plus. Make it more like a party and less like a traditional institution. Make it so that the kids playing outside aren’t expected to come in, unless they want to.
Eno, aka Dave, will be offering a meditation session at the 8th Startup Accelerator in Madison, WI on November 19.