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Action Precedes Clarity: The Awesomeness that was Edgeware's Upload Camp

Today I write my Edgware Upload camp wrap-up. The past weekend I'll admit has been one of sleep catch-up and moping around the flat because I felt the magic was gone. Silly me! I'd just spent the past week feeling that "today is the first day of the rest of your life" and was so hyped up that when Saturday came around I was distraught I'd missed it in favour of eighteen hours sleep!

If anything the business planning of this week took a backseat to the personal development side, which just shows how entwined these two aspects of an entrepreneur's* life are.

I started off quiet, but most do when thrust into a new environment with strange people. This was evident immediately when our godfather for the week, Michael Doneman, pronounced us all "weirdos." The Eco-lodge was gorgeous and even the wasps were bearable for the week. Our kitchen was in a train carriage and I slept in a church loft with a wonderful view.

The general timetable of the camp was for Michael to start us off with some business strategies and planning content, then a guest speaker would present and answer our questions. After a presenter or two (snack breaks in between) we'd have a bit of free time in the afternoon or social activities before dinner. Usually fun activities in the evening and the food was always of the best quality mastered by Ludmila Doneman and Nat Duncan. Oh, except that dinner the 15-odd Edgies devised too.

Monday - Scott McKay of Wolfbyte

Scott visited and was a great start to the camp.

Theatre sports in the evening set a nervous yet hilarious tone for the group's dynamics. Miming and guessing games were just too good of ice-breakers to pass up in the program I guess.

Tuesday - Edward Harran & Elliott Bledsoe

Social media, Creative Commons licencing, swimming at the dam, discussing the Johnny Bunko manga business book. I worked a fair bit on developing my business idea and putting into use the matrix tools Michael had given us earlier that morning in deciding on niche markets. Bit of clarity here.

Wednesday - Esther Cole of Frollop & Ben Johnston of Joseph Mark

I think I gained a fair bit of inspiration on starting my own business from these two, more than on other days of the camp. Both being alumni Edgies, Esther & Ben both had a creative and individual flair which made the day (much like Tuesday) an entertaining one in the least.

The day ended with Japanese taiko drumming by a bonfire. There's nothing left for it. I MUST resume my drumming. I loved it just too much. I was on fire. I WAS that fire. The blisters on my hands are badges of honour and reminding me that by Friday of this week I will have cleaned off my own drumkit in the garage for a bash; the first since late-2007.

Thursday - Karen Woolley of Proscribe

Thursday we worked on our physical representations of our business plans. We had until 6.30 to create them from all sorts of scrap material and craft supplies.

My epiphany came when I was about to hit 'send' on a reply confirming my ideas for Brisbane Twestival, having just been approached to work on the event. The Event Buzz had hit me for the first time during a week of confusion and vagueness over what I wanted to do. Now I know! Event management and social media is where it's at. I love these worlds and I will make a mix of these my bag.

The exhibition of our sculptures was on during the evening. Mine was pretty awesome but I'll have to explain it further.

Friday - no special guests

The day to say goodbye. This was the most intense day of reflection that, yes, there were tears. There were poems, stories, hugs, games and even tree-planting.

We started the day presenting our business plans with ten minutes per presentation plus seven minutes to fill out feedback forms on each. I still am yet to look through the majority of my received feedback forms as I want to look over them when I feel the motivation fading away. Also, I finaly realised that what I'd been told all along was true: action DOES come before clarity.

The drive back to Brisbane with fellow Edgies reminded me how alike we all are. Burning for the future and each with our own individual strengths and weaknesses, all agreeing that screaming the chorus to "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon is the greatest after a few drinks yet you have to be in the right mood for John Butler Trio.

Things I am Accountable for

  • 1 hour drumming each week
  • 6 hours on business plan each week
  • 6 hours blogging each week for TechWiredAu
  • 10 jobs applied for each week
  • Learning sign language

(traditional media picked up on the story and fellow Edgie Mike Boyd's blog on Upload is here)

*I have since learned that "entrepreneur" is not a dirty word afterall!

Edgeware's Upload Young Entrepreneurs Camp

Right now I am at the Glasshouse Mountains Eco-lodge stretched out on a cosy attic bed reading Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink and reflecting over the past day at Edgeware's Upload Young Entrepreneurs Camp. Upload 2009 is the maiden voyage of the camp for gutsy, high school to mid-twenty-aged, business-minded souls seeking the path before them. I am one of those people looking to surpass wasting my life away working unnecessarily for a business I have no attachment to in a job I feel nothing for.

Today started at 9am with general introductions and we soon moved on to receiving goodie bags and copies of the above manga book.

The goodie bags contained:

  • the week's schedule
  • notebook and pen
  • party popper for that epiphany moment
  • map of Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth for that moment of despair
  • specimin jar to contain items believed to personally represent the "edgie" on day one and then to be reflected on Friday
  • inspirational quotes
  • various bits of pieces to inspire that crafty side (a fork, wrapping paper lantern. Or box. At least I think that is what it is)
  • and lastly, a copy of Edgeware's Small Business Backpack by Ian Dover FAICD

So today we focused on value proposition, success, cash flow, risk management and more. Michael Doneman of Edgeware facilitated the most of the day with guest speaker Scott McKay visiting for the afternoon. It was a great day and more is planned in the form of a games night - theatre sports! Sounds good to me :)

The Eco-lodge is a beautiful venue, I do not think the Edgeware team could have chosen a more suitable environment to inspire young minds. It should be noted also that through Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE, participants (about 15 of us) are gaining the following qualifications (one or two I believe I actually might already have as part of my Southbank Institute of Technology diploma in events management):

  • (THCICS04A) Originate and develop a concept
  • (THHGCS08B) Establish and conduct business relationships
  • (THHGCS07B) Coordinate marketing activities
  • (THHGLE19B) Develop and implement a business plan
  • (THHGLE03B) Develop and implement operational plans

If anything today I have spent time getting back in touch with my goals for the next five years. We will be each leaving on Friday with both a one-page business plan and a number of artistic representations of that plan. Sounds fun? Sure will be!