The Trip That Changed Everything…

I believe in the power of possibility. I believe in opportunity. I believe in jumping off the cliff and checking the parachute later. So when Wade, a Sioux Falls transplant from Boston, came to Growwr wanting a new website, I asked him what he did. He said, “I export private jets.” I immediately asked, “When can I go with you?” He said, “Well I’m leaving to deliver a plane tomorrow.” I said, “Ok, I’m in.”

Wade flew to California the next day to pick up our plane. Final destination – New York City. He was back in town by Friday, and we left FSD bound for Minneapolis. We arrived at our hotel, and I glanced across the street. It was directly across from the gold Wells Fargo building on Marquette Avenue. All my childhood, my dream had been to work on the 40th floor of that building. In my previous career with Wells Fargo, I had a job secured in that building, but my mentor intervened and sent me on a summer mission trip instead. When I returned, Wells Fargo let me know the job on the 40th floor was no longer mine. I was disappointed, but I moved on.

As I stood in Minneapolis, gazing across the street at the lit up gold building, I realized the 40th floor wasn’t my dream. This is my dream. Partnering with my clients to help them build their businesses. That’s where my future was headed. I just hadn’t known it at the time.

That night we met up with Wade’s buddy Chris on a rooftop patio in downtown Minneapolis and talked business, career, and life. Chris has recently gotten involved with the Pillsbury Doughboy division of General Mills, and he is hungry for strategies to revive the culture of his new team. He shared some of the struggles of working within a large, established corporate brand. It was an honor to tell him about the thriving entrepreneurial community of Sioux Falls and all the things Sioux Falls businesses are doing to shape the culture of the city. Hanging out with Chris and casting the vision the Bakery was the highlight of our time in Minneapolis.

The next morning we woke up early and jumped on the plane, bound for Michigan. As we flew over Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, we found the perfect little island for Fluxxr. Maybe we’ll start a new project and call is “Islanddr.” 😉

A few hours later we landed the plane on McCormick Island, a small island only that can only be accessed from the mainland via ferry. We ate a great lunch, hopped back in the plane, and set our sights toward Toronto. As we flew over international waters, we saw the Canadian Navy working through military exercises. Impending invasion? Just kidding…

We landed in Toronto to hit up the Carabana music festival, the largest Caribbean festival in the world. Unfortunately every hotel room in the city was booked. We called Hilton and they said, “If you come to New York, we’ll take care of you.” Plans changed quickly and we were headed back to the US. We landed in Buffalo, New York, went through customs, and then proceeded on to New York City. After we parked the plane, we had a car waiting and drove to the hotel.

The story on this guy is he bought the plane and flew it to California, but once he got to California he realized he didn’t want to fly it all the way back to New York. So he hired Wade to fly it home. It’s a similar story with many of Wade’s clients.

We drove to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and management said, “We have a single room available. It has one king size bed.” Wade and I looked at each other and said, “That’s not going to work. What is the upgrade?” They laughed and said, “Let us show you the upgrade before you make your decision.”

We walked up to the room and the sign on the door said, “The Residence of his Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” (For more info on the Prince, here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultan_bin_Abdulaziz#Wives). Needless to say, we took the upgrade. We enjoyed the fantastic service from Waldorf Astoria. They definitely took care of us!

The next day we had lunch with the hedge fund manager/ plane owner, making some great connections and conversations. My favorite part of traveling is learning about other people, and finding the possibility in new partnerships. Opportunity is not in short supply. I had the chance to meet up with a couple business connections who are interested in coming on and doing sales for Fluxxr. The rest of my two days in New York City were spent seeing old friends and working.

As I sat in LaGuardia waiting for my flight home, I met two women who just finished Law School in Manhattan. They were on their way to back pack across Alaska, and we talked for five or six hours about their careers, travels and stories.

My connecting flight went through Denver, so I took the opportunity to meet with a friend at DCI, Development Counselors International. Her company specializes in marketing places, and the city of Sioux Falls is their client. I spent time in their office, talking about Sioux Falls, the Bakery, and what we have happening there. Some amazing ideas came out of that meeting, including ways to promote Sioux Falls and our entrepreneurial community.

On the plane ride from Denver to FSD, my seatmate was one of the founders of Swiftpage, a leader in CRM products. She shared her story, and I cast a vision of what we’re up to with the Bakery and Fluxxr. No time is ever wasted when it’s spent building relationships. Getting picked up by my business partner Clint and sharing these connections and stories with him was a great ending to an incredible trip.

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