My primary reason for attending was to support my friends Jacques Woodcock and Jason Myers and hear their pitch for Sucratrend (which won the viewer's choice award, btw. I like to think my tweets and RTs helped).
Earlier in the day, when I mentioned I was going, I was amused at Jacques' reply:
@lukestokes wait, aren't you forbidden from such events or likely to burst into flames? cc @justwinston @ramsey
— Jacques Woodcock (@jacques_thekit) February 21, 2013
Jacques (and those who have read my blog and my thoughts on business and profit), knows that I'm not a huge fan of VC money when it comes to "startups". The main reason being, I like what I'm familiar with, and I've only ever bootstrapped. I'm also not a fan of debt (having worked for Dave Ramsey for almost four years). Giving away equity may not be the same thing as debt, but on the other hand it might be worse. But I won't get into that here. Different strokes for different folks.
For me, the event was a great success. I'm about to get vulnerable here, so cut me some slack. At times, I can be a little scatter brained (just ask my wife). Months ago, I distinctly remember asking my business partner about buying a ticket for Spark. He was totally on board and (in my mind), I bought a ticket with the company card.
As I was driving to the event last night, I started to second guess myself. "Why didn't I receive a reminder email from Eventbrite? I... did buy the ticket... RIGHT?" I'm ashamed to admit, I started using my phone while driving in the rain to check my email.
Now I'm starting to feel like an ass. I happened to see this tweet earlier in the day and started to hope:
Nashville - I've got a couple extra tickets to the sold-out #Sparknashville tonight.DM me if interested.
— Tara Aaron (@tara_aaron) February 21, 2013
Guess who greeted me at the door? Before I could even finish my sob story of stupidity, Tara was already pulling out a ticket for me. How awesome is that? Big shout out to Aaron Sanders Law Firm for hooking me up. If you're doing anything in the tech space, please give them a call. They are extremely helpful, friendly, and awesome. They just might change your opinion of lawyers and best of all, they LOVE the technology space.
The night just kept getting better. Everywhere I looked I saw friends and smiling faces. I even got some compliments and words of encouragement about my involvement in building cool stuff and being part of the community. Someone even recognized me from a Barcamp and wanted to say hello. It was kind of surreal.
After the event, I had a great time hanging out with some friends old and new and talking everything from Agile development methodologies (Brendan Wovchko is amazing) to women in tech to RV living.
Another topic that came up (and seems to come up a lot in Nashville for some reason) had to do with the difference between those who are doing great things and those who just seem to be talking a lot. Need an example?
John Wark. Now there's a doer. He stopped complaining about not enough tech talent in Nashville but instead created the Nashville Software School to build some.
I won't give examples of talkers because everyone seems to have a different opinion of who those people are in the community and those judgements are probably unfair anyway. Let's take a different approach. Instead of talking a big game (or ridiculing those who do), let's humble ourselves, help those around us, and get stuff done.
Don't seek out recognition. If what you're doing matters, that will come when it's due.
But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.
- Luke 14:10
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
- Matthew 23:12