Friday, December 14, 2007

Bootstrap Austin Speakers in 2008

We are incredibly lucky to have so many successful bootstrappers in our city - and Bootstrap Austin has been privileged over the years to have many of them share their stories at our monthly meetings. 2008 is no exception with David Ansel (Soup Peddler), Paul Carrozza (Runtex), Clayton Christopher (Sweet Leaf Tea) and Larry Warshaw (Constructive Ventures) already confirmed to speak. The sheer diversity of this group alone - food, retail, fitness, beverages, real estate - is a testament to the broad applicability of bootstrapping beyond technology.

I didn't realize we would be embarking on an incredible learning journey about the bootstrap process when I invited Neal Kocurek to be or first speaker in October, 2003. Neal explained how he realized that Radian's ability to grow was constrained by its ability to develop leaders. This led to his 12-step leadership recipe, which he implemented at Radian and generously shared with anyone willing to listen. With the trusty Bootstrap Map, it's now clear that Neal was describing a key action associated with building the organization in the Growth Stage.

It is striking that these natural bootstrappers navigated their (ad)ventures without the benefit of formal training, yet they resonate and agree whole-heartedly with the Bootstrap Map when I share it with them. Is bootstrapping innate to the individual or can it be taught? I suppose the implicit assumption at Bootstrap Austin is that the latter is indeed the case. Furthermore, through the activities and interventions we have evolved over the years, our community can be a place where that critical learning can happen just-in-time. Our modified tagline might therefore read: right learning right time --> right action right time.

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