I don’t quite remember the exact wording, or even who said it, but the idea that Boulder is the most inclusive tight-knit community on Earth is something that has resonated with me since I first heard it.
This is the only community I’ve come to know in which inclusive and tight-knit aren’t characteristics that are at odds with each other. There is something inherent in the Boulder culture that says “join us in the fun”. There is also a conscious effort by a handful of people to ensure that Boulder’s most valuable resources are available to the rest of us, by the way.
Though I’ve lived here since moving from the Boston area in 2001, I’ve just begun to discover what the Boulder tech community has to offer in the past few months. In that short time, I’ve gone from a quiet wallflower to an active (though still quiet) participant:
- Boulder Lean Startup Circle: Just a week after asking to join this group, I had the good fortune to hear Eric Ries, one of the leading thinkers in this field, present and lead a discussion on the methodology while he was in town.
- Snap Impact: I was welcomed by the group, volunteers with the motto “Making doing good easy”, for a weekend event to help lay groundwork for the development of the backend for Serve.gov, despite having little more to offer than a willingness to contribute.
- Blogging for boulder.me: After expressing interest in writing for this blog, I was offered a spot in the weekly rotation after a brief e-mail exchange to work out a few details.
- Presenting at Ignite Boulder: I received an enthusiastic “hell yeah” after e-mailing one of the event organizers with a short pitch for a presentation I had in mind and was added to the next event.
- TechStars’ Investor Day: Sitting in free seats set aside for the public, I had an invaluable chance to watch and learn as the TechStars 2009 companies pitched to a theater full of potential investors.
The upshot to all this is that there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the Boulder tech community above and beyond just showing up, even for a guy like me who cringes at the thought of traditional networking (I have an allergic reaction to making small talk with strangers in the hope of exchanging business cards). In every instance I’ve been both welcomed in and encouraged to participate, a nice change from what I’m used to in the Northeast.
I’ve been given the opportunity to dive in, stretch my comfort zone a bit, and figure out where I fit in, and for that I am very thankful. Go ahead, give it a try yourself. You might just like it.