Monday, May 13, 2013

Eight Survival Techniques That Will Help You During Boulder Startup Week

bswOutdoor survival training has some surprising overlap when it comes to surviving long, action-packed events like Boulder Startup Week, which is taking place this week.  Here's eight survival techniques that can teach us how to make it through the wilds of five days of panel discussions, meetups, and happy hours.

Survival Technique #1: The only person you can ultimately count on is yourself.
Self-reliance is key in the outdoors; no one else will give you the physical stamina, mental fortitude, and common sense necessary to survive. So when making plans, packing, and during those unexpected moments, be prepared to take care of yourself in addition to the needs of any companions you may have.
How It Applies During BSW: No one else -- your boss, your friends, your mommy -- is going to make you get the most out of Boulder Startup Week. It's up to you to show up, learn, engage, and make connections.

smartphoneSurvival Technique #2. Always leave behind detailed plans and timetables with a trusted person.
That way, if you're missing, a search party can be organized sooner rather than later if you don't get back when you expected.
How It Applies During BSW: Planning your schedule is key for maximizing your experience. Download a copy of the BSW schedule of events to your smartphone or tablet and make a game plan for each day. Prioritize the panels and networking opportunities that will help you most achieve your goals (see #4 for more).

Survival Technique #3. Prepare for the contingencies (getting lost or stranded, darkness, weather, illness/injury, etc).
Know how you will cope with unforeseen challenges and have a plan of action for them.
How It Applies During BSW: One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health during an event like BSW is to intentionally leave yourself some downtime. Whether this means starting 0ut the day with yoga, catching up on some reading, or just digesting all the information from the latest panel, give yourself some time to breathe so you don't become overwhelmed.

Survival Technique #4. Assess your situation as objectively as you can.
Plan your next move carefully: ask yourself questions about your immediate circumstances and make a plan of action in your head. If you're satisfied with that plan, make it happen; if not, give yourself time to think up something better.
How It Applies During BSW: You might actually want to do this step first, which is setting goals for your time at BSW. Are you looking to learn more about certain aspects of startup culture? Does your startup have needs you want to address and find solutions for? Or are you looking to network your way to the perfect partner or angel investor? Clarifying your purpose for attending will help you pinpoint the events that are most crucial to meeting your goals.

Survival Technique #5. Take stock of your supplies and immediate needs.
Keep an eye on your water and food supply. A healthy human being can survive several days without water and several weeks without food.
How It Applies During BSW: There's a lot of alcohol at BSW. Between the pub crawls, happy hours, and dozens of restaurants and bars in the downtown area alone, there are many opportunities to imbibe. If you choose to do so, pace yourself, especially if you are coming from sea level. Regardless of whether you are drinking alcohol or not, drink lots of water. Your body will thank you.

Survival Technique #6. Signal.
Carry a whistle, mirror, and matches to start a fire so you can signal for help.
How It Applies During BSW: Join and contribute to the online conversation of BSW. Whether on your blog, Instagram, or Twitter, it can help you get noticed as well as get your thoughts down on what you are learning. And don't forget the hashtag #BSW13!

Survival Technique #7. Find food.
Bring protein bars and other high-calorie energy food with you. Avoid plants unless you know for a fact that it's edible. If it walks, swims, flies, slithers, or crawls, odds are good it's safe to eat. 
How It Applies During BSW: Food is actually easy to find at BSW, especially free food. Use the time you would have spent searching for food to network with the other attendees who are also there for the free food.

Survival Technique #8. Make fire.
Fire will help you cook, stay warm, and signal for help.
How It Applies During BSW: Attend Ignite Boulder to make friends, learn cool stuff, and get inspired. Seriously, if you only attend one BSW event, make it Ignite.
Now you can go out into the wilderness of Boulder's startup community and use these tools and advice to make it the best time of your life.