Moving To Boulder Guide (A Boulder Startup Week Review)


We had many discussions at Boulder Startup Week.  One of those discussions lead to a great email from Andrew Gouty, which I am reposting here.  This is his experience of Boulder Startup Week:

Having skipped around the United States a few times in my youth, I’d grown somewhat accustomed to what it felt like to relocate to a new state, new school, new friends. None of it likely compares to what I’ve experienced in the past week in moving to Boulder, for several very specific reasons.

For some background, on Saturday May 1st, a friend and I packed up his Honda Accord and drove from Indianapolis to Boulder. The trip was approximately 18 hours –  and yes – Kansas is really, really flat and boring. I have subsequently nicknamed it “The Long Dark.” So midday Sunday we arrived in Boulder, checked in at the International Hostel (just get a hotel, or couch surf – really you’ll be happier).

What happened next was what made the 18 hours and rearranging the trip completely worth it, because I was greeted by dozens upon dozens of fellow entrepreneurs from the Boulder Startup Week. Similar meetups and activities in Indianapolis are not unheard of, but a whole week of them…seriously? The epitome of what I was feeling was expressed by a fellow attendee from L.A.

“Everybody is just so nice here. You all must be fakin’ it or something.”

And so commenced a full week of skipping from event to event, meeting dozens more people working at startups, freelancing, or just attending for the energy of being among like minds.  At the onset, I thought I would be one of the few transplants at the event, completely out of place. Totally wrong. Likely a third of the people I met were moved to Boulder within the last six months, and just as happy to be surprised that others had jumped ship and moved to Boulder.

The events ranged from social (happy hours) to geeky (hacker meetups) to adventurous (a 1400 ft vertical hike), and I loved every minute of it. Sadly, I ignored the organizers’ wisdom at pacing myself early in the week, because when the last day of events came, I was drained.

As for the town of Boulder itself, I think it would be hard not to find something to like about this place. The city center is reminiscent of a European pedestrian zone and the public transit system looks to be well orchestrated.  The stock of cafes, pubs, restaurants, and retail rivals most towns twice or three times its size. If the startup scene is one you’re interested in, there is quite literally one on every other corner, if not an incubator or investor to match it.

And there’s a Tesla dealer, FTW.

Not that I’m in the market for another car just yet, because the biking scene in Boulder is very accommodating. We’ll see how I feel about that decision when the summer is over.

Finding a temporary place to live was easy enough for the summer, as enough students are vacating their apartments for the summer, thus I’ve learned the apartments around here tend to lease in the fall in line with the start of CU Boulder’s fall semester. I elected a sublease within walking distance of the east end of the Pearl Street Mall, however a >25 year old might elect a location a bit further from campus. (again, trust me – you’ll be happier)

I could go on for a minute, but overall, it was just very easy to slide into the community, meet some new people, and gauge a few new opportunities. I’m still not exactly sure after a week what I plan to do out here, but I know I’m going to have a blast doing it. Boulder and I will see to that.

You can check out Andrew’s blog here.

About the Author:
Andrew leads the TEDxBoulder, Boulder Startup Week and Ignite Boulder efforts and has worked in startups for ten years. He blogs about startups, bootstrapping, events and triathlon at andrewhy.de and you can follow him on twitter here.

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