Tonight we’re having a party because, a year ago today, we launched Boldly Went with our first event in Seattle.
We had our first show here, yes, because that’s where we live and the commute was easy, but also because the community here played a huge role in setting the inspiration for what we're doing. Our Seattle outdoors friends are what taught us that there are countless people with interesting stories about why outdoor adventure is important, and that most of those stories aren’t being told. Basically, our friends here are amazing, and that inspired us to introduce them to the world. In so many ways, our Seattle friends have been the lifeblood of this thing - you're the first ones we think about when we create things, and your support is the actual, concrete reason that we keep going.
While that connection is nothing but positive, and my whole goal here is to thank you all for the role that you've played, I have to admit that starting a business among friends has triggered a secret anxiety for me, and that I'm constantly preoccupied about making things weird. I can’t speak for Angel, but I personally worry that I'm going to turn into that guy that everyone avoids because they’re think he’s going to try to sell them Amway or something. That people will start wondering if every social interaction is a pitch to support us on Patreon, or that every text exchange will end with an appeal to buy nutrition shakes or sunglasses or something. (But guys, seriously, it really worked for me, you seem really nice, I want to talk to you about an opportunity I discovered, and this offer is only valid until the end of this week!)
The fact that our event in Seattle tonight sold out a week ago is a heartwarming reminder that we owe a huge amount to our community's buy-in - figuratively and literally. But behind those warm feels is the reality that we’ve asked for a lot from our friends - whether that’s been coming to events, sharing around the podcast, giving feedback on things we’re writing, or letting us borrow sound equipment. We tend to be kind of awkward asking for things, people are sometimes uncomfortable saying no, and it’s always a worry that relationships we value personally will start to feel transactional, or that we'll take more than we give.
Maybe it makes sense because we’ve been intentional about trying to start this thing with a dirtbag ethos - on a $0 budget and among the rabble - but at times starting a business has felt like the month we spent couchsurfing after we finished the PCT. You can only hang out in someone’s guest room, eating their food, and watching their Netflix while they go to work for so long before you start to question your value in the relationship. That month ended with our friend’s dog eating her couch because we triggered its social anxiety, and I just don’t want things to go that way again.
Airing my insecurities might seem like a weird way to celebrate our first birthday among the people who’ve supported us, but...crap, you’re right. I am making it weird again.
In actuality, at the start of our second year, the thing I’ve been thinking about most is the intangible value of being based in a place like Seattle, which I really believe is huge. So I’ll stop with the insecurities, and get to the point, which is the positive side of where this desire not to be weirdos takes us, to one of the big reasons that Seattle is such an amazing place to have as a spiritual and actual base for this project.
The desire not to let owning a business turn us into weirdos really does create constant pressure to make what we’re doing genuinely valuable - not to some amorphous test market, but to our actual current friends, and the future friends we'll make in the process. If we’re going to create things for our friends, we genuinely want them to be good things, that they'd like and want to support, even if they didn't know us. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves, but more importantly, we want to contribute something valuable to the lives of the people around us, who are contributing so much to our lives.
And because the people who've been around us in Seattle from the beginning are genuinely amazing in a dizzying variety of ways - ultra runners and thru-hikers and world record setters and media professionals and scientists and techies and writers and genuinely nice people - the pressure is on to not just figure out how to do something good. We need to figure out something amazing. It has to be up to the standards of the community that we're a part of, and those standards are dauntingly high
In order to do that, we have basically used a strategy of tapping into our network. Our idea with events has always been to get all of you cool people into a room and let you speak for yourselves. But beyond that, our Seattle crew has, from the beginning, been our core test market and sounding board. They’ve been the people giving feedback, helping us make connections, teaching us how to start, build and market a business, and generally keeping us on the right track. Because that core community is made up of so many amazing people, what we’re able to produce is much better than if we didn’t have those connections. To create the best things we can, our best strategy is to attempt to be a conduit for your cool.
A year in, our network has expanded dramatically - to Bend, Portland, Calgary, Boulder, Moab, New York, and more - and that’s put us in contact with so many more cool people that we believe are huge assets for us, both as friends, and as inspiration for ways that we can make Boldly Went more valuable. And because today we’re celebrating the influence Seattle’s had in helping us launch this project, it’s worth noting that in almost every case the initial connection to other communities has come through a friend in Seattle. In a real way, Seattle’s been the hub of our wheel.
So while starting a business among friends may trigger some anxieties, and draw out previously existing social inadequacies, the fact that our friends are amazing has basically been the entire reason we've been able to feel like we can create something valuable. You're the resource that we're mining to share with the world, as well as the community we hope to develop. You're what makes this thing exciting now and the best hope to see this thing develop in the future.
Like so much that’s good in our life, Boldly Went all started in Seattle. And yeah, while there’s probably a pretty significant chance that I’m going to make it weird, we’re still stoked to be able to celebrate with all of the amazing weirdos who’ve supported us. So in all sincerity, thank you Seattle for getting us on our feet, and making the best parts of the project happen!
PS - I really hope your dog doesn’t eat your couch!
It really worked for me, you seem really nice, I want to talk to you about an opportunity I discovered, and this offer is only valid until the end of this week, so if you have a minute, consider supporting us on Patreon.
But seriously, ready to go on adventures? We're working to be of use to you and help you connected with the more than 1000 people who know the best local places to go that are already connected with us. Go here and tell us what you're trying to plan and we'll see how we can help.
Tim and Angel
The goat in the picture lives in Silverton, CO, and tried to kill us. We survived to bring you this dirtbag wisdom for the ages.