Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Big Omaha 2012 :: An Honest Application

Well, here it is. It's time to write that review. It's time to encapsulate two amazing days of speakers, networking, lunch conversations, blog reading, and tweets into one clean, well structured, nicely written, and applicable blog post. Ugh...

I cracked open my computer today and sat down with my cup of coffee intending to write a review of the second day. I had already drafted the note yesterday evening. I thought I would just jump in, clean it up, add a few links, and get it out the door. That's not what I'm going to write about though. I need application. I need to process what I learned.

I really spent some time thinking this morning about why I attend Big Omaha. Officially, I attend Big Omaha as the Technical Director at Christ Community Church. To that end, I love learning about leadership, idea execution, and creativity. That's the capacity I work in at CCC and what I apply most to my daily routine. At the most basic level I produce and support ideas. I think that's why I can so identify with the entrepreneurial community. I learned a lot that I'll take back to my job. I've got pages of notes on creativity, executing ideas, leadership, creating community, and so many other applicable topics. I even have concrete and actionable items on my list like increasing user engagement (our volunteers) by writing more thank you notes.  To be honest though, those aren't the most significant things I took from this year.

Few people know I actually own a startup company. Not just an idea or product but an actual incorporated company. I have for nearly two years now. I don't know why, but I guess I've always felt like that was another part of who I am. It's hard to explain, it's just this odd mindset I had. I don't often talk about my startup to anyone. I've never really filtered Big Omaha information through that lens. It's always just been this back burner item. It might be from fear of failure, but I think it's more been about an odd need for permission. A funky desire I had that I needed someone to validate what I was doing or let me know when it was actually "good enough".

Jim Mckelvey, co-founder at Square, talked a lot about doing things without permission. In my notes from his talk I highlighted, "communication is free and permission is unnecessary". Eddie Huang stated things like, "have a healthy disrespect", "don't be afraid to offend", or "nothing is that crazy if it works". Brian Wong stated, "create to instigate". These stuck with me. They stood out for a reason. This year I learned I've got to quit being so apologetic about my personal brand and aspirations. Adding to my learning was the fun opportunity to connect with Windy Townley. I love to write, but I've never considered myself "a writer". I so appreciated the fact that Wendy, who is a real, legit, published, writer, took the time to read my blog post and talk to me at Big Omaha. Than I started to think to myself, "why do I feel like I need someones permission to be a writer, or to do anything for that matter"?

My takeaway is this: I don't need some sort of permission, approval, or validation, from someone official to start my company or become a writer. If there is anything we can take away from Skillshare it's that the very idea of education itself has changed. My company is a technology consulting company and I don't need three PhD's to run it. If I'm good at what I do (and I think I am), that's all that matters. The same is true of my blog. I can learn to become a more effective writer and I don't need any sort of official validation to do that. I'm just going to keep writing and keep getting better. I've kicked out over 35,000 words towards my book project and I'll just keep trucking.

I'm not looking for permission or someones approval anymore. This isn't coming from a "down with man" type of mentality. It's a healthy disrespect. So what if my company doesn't go anywhere or my blog stalls? I write because I love to write and I consult because I'm passionate and I know I can solve a problem. I'm not quitting my day job here by any stretch, I'm just accepting the fact that I can do both. I don't have to be different things to different people depending on who might approve and who might not. I mean it can't be that crazy if it works, right?

I'm a technical director, writer, and entrepreneur. That's my personal Big Omaha application.

What's yours?

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