One of my favorite things about blogging on Juan Great Leap is that I get to document my entrepreneurial journey without much apprehension. The cathartic experience that comes from sharing, as a crazy individual who is just starting in the Philippines, enables me to embrace the fear monster.
With Startups Unplugged coming up next week, I’d like to share what this event means to me and what I hope to give back to it.
What does Startups Unplugged mean to me?
Three months ago, I was blurting out ideas to my office mate, Suzie of Searchlight, like a mad scientist at work. I was throwing so many random ideas at her in hopes of finding the right name for this event that would feature an array of entrepreneurs from different fields, and various stages in their personal startup journey. I had to get the name just right to embody what was being communicated to me for its vision.
The idea for the Juan Great Leap event was described to me as a moment that would be much more personal than the typical conference setting. This big event would create a space for attendees to approach entrepreneurs in a more intimate setting, in which they would be encouraged to ask questions to entrepreneurs, and get up, close, and personal with them.
The simplicity of the idea and the intimate space that was being articulated to me triggered imagery from MTV’s Unplugged Sessions, in which artists would get a little more personal with their fans by sharing their music to smaller groups. While the artists still engaged in a performance, they went unplugged- acoustic. The spectacle of the performance was somewhat removed from the presentation of their work to create a moment more raw.
Now that you know where the inspiration for Startups Unplugged comes from, I’d like to share my own “unplugged” moment in opening up to you about Startups Unplugged.
The metaphor of unplugged tugs at my inner core. As a would-be entrepreneur trying to start up, I know that there’s a lot of pressure for entrepreneurs to present to their audiences in a superhuman fashion.
One personal fear that I am confronted with when I open up to people is knowing that the vulnerabilities that I expose to them may evoke feelings of disbelief and doubt. In contrast, the most vulnerable moments shared can also be the most moving. The movement of the spirit that captures your heart and moves your soul can lead to action, if you allow it to do so.
These are such romantic ideas, I know, and I’m not saying that every moment shared in Startups Unplugged is going to be this deep personal sharing, but think about the possibility of just starting a simple, yet real conversation with leaders and feeders in the startup community.
It’s precisely what I’m attempting to do with you, the reader, in this blog entry. I seek to share a real moment by opening up to you, as so many strangers that I have met -in my strong attempt to get this event off the ground- have done for me. The interactions I have with them keep me moving, in the midst of all the doubt and stumbling blocks that I continue to face.
I’m trying to move you to see Startups Unplugged for what it is to me and what it is for you.
What can Startups Unplugged do for the community?
With the immense support of gracious partners and sponsors, we’re throwing this event for free, as passionate volunteers. I guess that’s why I’m writing in such an airy tone because doing something for free somewhat forces you to realize why you’re being moved as part of a larger community with a shared goal.
As you witness Startups Unplugged, open your mind to the possibility of where the conversation can take you and the community.
For the leaders, the entrepreneurs, in the startup scene, realize the potential in working together, as a startup community, in which you share your gifts and passions. Collaboration will only strengthen you and your enterprise.
For the feeders, everyone else, understand your role in nurturing entrepreneurship for the Philippines and the significance of it to the larger development of this country, for yourself and for Juan.
If you’re unsure of where you fall in the startup community, do not despair. I invite you to participate. It’s a great network to be exposed to. I encourage you to share and be open to receiving. In the end, I’m sure you’ll end up giving too in your own way and own time.
Startups Unplugged means a lot to me. In a way, I see it as my first real contribution in starting up, as an aspiring entrepreneur.
I choose to go unplugged from the start because whether I succeed or fail in this startup journey, I hope that you will learn from my mistakes and successes for every Juan.