The Co+Hoots Foundation: A Trip to Phoenix!
I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Phoenix this week in celebration of Pro-Bono week as The Co+Hoots Foundations' first ever Co+Exchanger. The Co+Exchange program is an initiative to bring entrepreneurs from around the world to live and work in Downtown Phoenix. The following is a little bit of a journal that recalls my time there.
I arrived in Phoenix in the early afternoon on Monday, and then head straight to my home for the week – CityScape Residences. The apartment was beautiful, and was generously made available to me from the building's developer. My view looked out at the growing city scape of Downtown. There was also a pretty sweet pool. Not going to lie, I wish I packed swim trunks.
After settling in, I head to my second home for the week, Co+Hoots. Co+Hoots is an incredible co-working space in Downtown Phoenix that provides a flexible workspace for the city's fast-growing startup scene.
Let the games begin! For most of day 2, I was tinkering around with various marketing efforts to help launch the second edition of "How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free" – we were also launching a couple of client projects that day, so things were kind of nuts.
Around lunch time, I grabbed an incredible Cuban Sandwich with some of the Co+Hoots members and even checked out a local record shop in Phoenix's arts district (which had some pretty cool murals, by the way).
That night I had my first event of the week: a talk for the Arizona chapter of AIGA which was held at ASU, my brother's alma mater. The talk navigated the concept of "business as a medium", broke down our #GiveHalf model, and gave a glimpse into some of verynice's projects from the past few years. Everything went great until some student game night group broke up the party with dubstep and stole my laptop charger, but that is a whole 'nother story (I needed a new charger, anyway).
Immediately after the talk, students from ASU's amazing design program gave me a tour of their studio and then kindly invited me out to dinner on Mill Ave. at La Bocca. Super good pizza.
I woke up missing Katie and Charlie, but got some nice face-time in. Gotta love technology. I took the light rail in to Co+Hoots which gave me a great look at Downtown Phoenix.
In the afternoon, I was happy to give a "Midweek Mind-tweak" talk about the new book as well as the history of business models in social enterprise. The presentation was well-received and began to inspire a number of the members to integrate pro-bono into their business plan.
Later that day, we head over to one of the pro-bono week events which invited designers and non-profits from Phoenix to come together to create a series of infographics. I had the pleasure of co-facilitating the event with Kristin, and served as the honorary Creative Director for the challenge. The work will be on display in November at a local gallery in Phoenix.
That night I had a crazy good meal at "Welcome Diner" – it was called "The Carol" which was essentially a ton of braised pork on a buttermilk biscuit. You heard me right. Best BBQ sauce I have ever tasted, and I am dying to go back.
On my 4th and final day in Phoenix, I was booked to the brim with interviews. I even got to go on public television (Channel 11) with Phoenix Councilman, Daniel Valenzuela. We really hit it off and, as a result, I will be serving as an informal advisor to the City of Phoenix on their plans to further develop their entrepreneurial community. Very excited to contribute to that.
After the interviews, I checked out Pizzeria Bianco which was incredible. It has a Michelin Star! Oh, yeah, I also gave the city's new bike share system, GRID, a try. If you can't tell by the photograph... I liked it ;)
I was really sad to say goodbye to some of the amazing people I had been fortunate enough to spend time with! Needless to say, I made some great connections with local entrepreneurs and designers that I will cherish forever. Thanks again to the whole Co+Hoots family as well as all of the sponsors that made this trip possible. Until next time, Phoenix...