Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the StartupFoCo podcast episode 2. I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.
In this pre-event episode, we have 6 guests from the Artup Week and Music tracks of Fort Collins ranging the gamut from Graphic Novels to sold out concerts.
Interview segments with:
Steven Dourmashkin https://fortcollinsstartupweek2018.sched.com/speaker/steven199
Todd Simmons, Wolverine Farms http://www.wolverinefarm.org/about/staff/todd-simmons/
Jeanne Shoaff https://www.fcgov.com/culturalservices/contact-us.php
Dawn Putney https://www.artlabfortcollins.org/about/team/
Andrew Schneider https://startupfoco.com/speakers/andrew-schneider/
Nathan Scott https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathan-scott-a2b97b67/
B Sharp, FC Symphony http://www.fcsymphony.org/news-media/bsharp/
Lou Ann and Kim Yee https://www.karatewestinc.com/about-us.html
Episode 02 Artup & Music Transcript
Vanessa Pagan: Podcasting from Fort Collins, Colorado, this is StartupFoCo podcast episode 2. I’m your host Vanessa Pagan gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins. In this pre-event episode we have six guests from the Artup Week and music communities of Fort Collins ranging the gamut from graphic novels to sold-out concerts.
Let’s get into the interviews.
So I’ve got Chris Bates on the line. He is a local artist from Fort Collins, and he owns MightyFineArts.org. Hi Chris How’s it going? Great. I want to ask you a little bit about what you hope people get out of start-up week.
Chris Bates: I just really hope that I’ve got to be part of one way the other last couple years I think it’s just a great opportunity for people to broaden their horizons, meet new people, get some plan going forward on their business ventures creative ventures and chance to collaborate and up your game on whatever you’re trying to do in life.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and you’re doing a session with collaboration. Can you talk a little bit about what you hope the attendees of your session gets?
Chris Bates: Just from my side just one person’s view on how to kind of build a local business by involving people in your creative process how to take your talents and meld them with others to create things that are greater than could be accomplished, otherwise and the benefits of in such a personal ego-driven career such as music and arts and theater and how to use that to your advantage to work with other people to create bigger and better things.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. That sounds like what is a piece of advice that you would like to share from your experience as an artist?
Chris Bates: Think over the last decade of working trying to become a more and more successful visual artist is to find a nice balance between really pushing hard to make things happen and putting yourself in situation and letting things happen. Also, just preparing yourself for the opportunity as they come and just being ready to say yes by setting on your own personal guidelines and things that you want to see happen for yourself and your career and your life and situating yourself in position to make those things happen for you.
Vanessa Pagan: As a local Fort Collins native, could you talk a little bit about the vision that you hope Fort Collins has for its future in five maybe ten years?
Chris Bates: I really like to see the creative community come together even more than it has to kind of leverage their, I don’t know if power is the correct word, but whether their influence I guess on the community to really show and understand their value as it fans culturally and also financially and monetarily and then just have that kind of boil over to have the decision-makers the people that work within the city and the community at large kind of reflect that value as well so the creative community that we have right now. They will be able to live and work here and innovate and be strong and stay in town that’s been growing more and more expensive and difficult to stay in for people in the creative community, but that have a lot to offer.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Is there anyone that you would like to recognize for their hard work in the local, Fort Collins community?
Chris Bates: There’s a ton of people and I guess the kind of people that really stand out to me Todd Simmons is someone that’s been working in their creative community through Wolverine Farms and Publishing and really kind on the literary side, but now he has a base it’s real solid and is doing so much for meeting space and comedy and spoken word and authors. Whatever he can he’s always a willing person that really is there to push things forward, so I mean and the like a person within like the city that I just really respected is Jeanne Shoaff she’s previously running the Lincoln Center, she’s done stuff at the FCMOA, and she’s just I feel like underutilized huge advocate for the arts and have been in the town for a long long time. Dawn Putney with Art Lab and toolbox creative she’s also someone whose just always been trying new things and really gets it as far as how to operate within the creative community and how to try to raise the level of business intelligence and acumen with creatives and how to work with them and get them to really light a fire under their under themselves to just be better at what they do.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome alright Chris this was the whole thing.
Chris Bates: Awesome. Thanks so much. Take care. Good luck.
Vanessa Pagan: On the line I have James Lopez, who is the station manager of KRFC. He’s a former copywriter and marketer who’s worked for nonprofits and for profit companies. He’s also a full time performing magician. Hi James. Thanks for being on the line here. So this is Fort Collins Startup Week there’s going to be like a hundred and thirty sessions. What would you say is something you hope an attendee gets out of this entire week?
James Lopez: Well just like last year. the Fort Collins Startup Week really focuses on creatives, and the creative industry. So really what I hope for for people to get out of startup week is to feel inspired and to feel like that they can be not only creative, but can figure out a way to support themselves in those creative endeavors.
Whether that be through like partnerships or figuring out how to you know convert, whatever they do into some sort of profitable thing. It’s just a nice week to come together and inspire each other to continue to do what we want to do and and find the money to do it.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. And Friday March 2nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there’s going to be podcasting at KRFC. Can you talk a little bit about what you hope attendees get from that day?
James Lopez: Sure. So here in KRFC we’re the local Northern Colorado in Fort Collins community radio station and one of the things that we really wanted to focus on in 2018 is helping develop the voice of Northern Colorado, so really kind of inspiring people to do amazing things with their stories and to connect with their communities and one of the ways that we thought of doing that was through podcasting. So during that day we’re actually going to be talking about and discussing the KRFC podcasting network, which will eventually be a tool that people can use to come in and produce their own podcasts and shows to share. So for the whole entire day what we’ll be focusing on is teaching everybody the ins and outs of podcasting. So everything from how to produce a show, how to develop a show, to how to edit your show, and then get it ready for distribution. The goal is to basically introduce people to the resources that we have at KRFC. Introduce them to podcasting in general and hopefully get them sharing their stories.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. I am a big proponent of KRFC, and I’m really excited about the opportunities that you have for podcasting in the Fort Collins community. James, you have quite a rich background of experience. If you could share with us one key nugget of insight that you’ve learned from your personal experience. What would you share with us?
James Lopez: Oh man is all about your network. The main thing that you can do that I’ve learned in the last like decade, decade and a half that I’ve been working is try to be a connector. Right. Try to connect people and fit needs and services with wants and desires. Most of the work that I’ve gotten over the last 10-15 years hasn’t been because of my experience. It’s been because I’ve looked out for other people and they in return have looked out for me. So it’s been super awesome to develop this oh, and it’s a super diverse network too. Don’t stick in one specific area make sure that you spread out across multiple studies, and professions and everything because once you create that diverse network if anything is ever to happen to you, you’re flexible enough to move around. And that’s the biggest lesson that I ever learned in anything that I’ve ever done.
Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for sharing. So we’ve talked a little bit about the voice of Fort Collins and about having a wide and diverse network. Could you share a little bit about the vision that you have for the future of Fort Collins?
James Lopez: Yeah, so one of the things that I have worked on a lot and a lot of my friends, and I constantly discussed is that even though Fort Collins feels like a small town and even though Northern Colorado feels quite small it still feels very aggregated and very segregated, so there’s pockets of communities everywhere that aren’t connecting with each other. So even though a lot of people share the same interest they can still feel isolated and lonely and one of the things that I would love to do is see Fort Collins and Northern Colorado become these incubators and hubs that connect people. Physically connect people. Digitally. And gets people with similar interests who feel like they’re alone, or don’t have anybody their, connecting with them. And just building this whole entire.large support system based on passions and fandoms and desires.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great goal. If there was someone that you could acknowledge for their hard work in the Fort Collins and Northern Colorado community, who would you want to give a shout out to?
James Lopez: Of course one of the biggest one is is Andrew Schneider. He really has been super passionate about everything that he does and tries to make this connection and these community developments happen. Another person is Nathan Scott one of my personal mentors. That he taught me is all about your network, and it’s all about building those connections and relationships and Maya Djarum who the volunteer coordinator at KRFC she’s done a fantastic job of building a strong network as well and really knows how to connect resources and get people together. So those three people have really I think made a huge impact at least on me if not the Northern Colorado Community in general.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Thank you for sharing James. I hope to see you face to face during the podcasting at KRFC day, and that is our call. You got it talk soon James. Bye
I’m on the line with Kit Baker who is a writer and arts administrator for Create Places. Hi Kit. Thanks for being here. You are having two sessions during startup week. On Wednesday February 28th at 10:30 a.m. Arting Up Musicals and Operas New Tools New Context New Opportunities, and the second session is at 2:30 that same day Arting up Science: New Directions in Cross Discipline Collaborations. Can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees would get out of your sessions?
Kit Baker: Well, I think for both sessions Andrew Schneider whose the force behind Artup Week shared a story about someone who attended last year. And she had an idea for a new business and a new startup, but really didn’t know where to take it was sort of kind of just simmering somewhere without really much happening, and then she managed to make all these connections and build her network during startup week. Now she’s launched it.
So generally speaking, I think that’s really what I want to offer opportunities for people to really find the people and resources they need to realize the projects primarily artistic. Individually. I think the Art and Science panel really addresses the possibilities in Fort Collins. We already have a very active startup scene with all the research that’s coming out of the CSU and then with all these new companies being created like Spearay and which is keeping Fort Collins on the cutting edge of innovation, and so I’m really interested in hearing what the mayor says and and there’s a playwright who’s just written a play about the kind of science and mythology of dirt, which I think is fascinating. And then we also have on the panel someone who work in the Rockies Ventures Club who can actually trace the steps that somebody needs to take to actually start up their own project.
So I’m very excited about that you know plugging into what are clearly Fort Collins strengths, long-established strengths in science and providing kind of like the rising roll of arts as an interpreter of science to the public. That’s a particularly interesting strand.
And then with the musicals and opera there’s a lot going on in that field. Musicals are if anything more popular than ever and you have a lot of artists who are actually taking new approaches to musical beyond Broadway. I mean Broadway is still important, but there are so many other possibilities these days especially with the rise of digital media and VR. And we have a real range of people we have the presenter of Lincoln Center. Jack Rogers who’s been working in theatre and music theatre for 24 years and brings in musical, and he’s got a really interesting slant on both the establish musicals and the new stuff, and then we’re bringing up Chimney Choir, which is actually a band in Denver that create these experiences really that really are you can’t really define them. They’re concerts. They’re interactive performances. The puppetry ritual. So really looking at what bands can do to in a way expand the Concert Experience into Musical and Opera, and so I think that’s I would be really happy if people came out of there and said wow, I can do so much more with my band or my company and incorporating music in a way and again that addresses a known strength of Fort Collins in music.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great that you’re able to put these together because the intersection of the performing arts and science or technology means that the reach that we can have in Fort Collins is exponential.
Kit Baker: Absolutely. Absolutely yeah, and I think with Fort Collins. I mean I was born here, and then went away for a long time. Lived in London, New York Berlin. You know Fort Collins does have this international prominence that was kind of what was there all the time, but but never really having that kind of in a way that international brand it has now. So the possibilities are exciting. We just have to think in new way to look to non-traditional sources of the support that artists need and scientists need to actually get their work out into the public and get it to be effective.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. So as someone who has seen for Collins grow and change can you tell us a little bit about what you hope the future of Fort Collins look like?
Kit Baker: Yeah, I have a very strong interest in the arts. That’s what I devoted my career to and my hope is that we can really look at the ways that the arts in the broadest sense, I mean in the 21st century with digital media for example, but also just in terms of the art really rapid rise and strengthening of arts engagement with environmental issues, with social justice issues to really be smart about how the art can contribute to growth management. How Fort Collins can actually in a way provide resources for the arts to enable them to offer the quality of life that people come here for the mountains etcetera, but the quality of the art A really good example of that is B sharp program with the Fort Collins Symphony. And the Fort Collins symphone collaborated with CSU Alzheimner research, and then created this research project, which really basically demonstrated that participation in the life of a symphony going to concerts going to receptions hearing the music really had beneficial effects on people’s health. And that kind of research isn’t that well-known, but actually it operates for everyone. The arts actually boost performance in schools. It basically is a bit of a glue that keeps our communities together, and I would like to see the Arts play a more Central role in that.
Vanessa Pagan: Well Kit I can’t wait to meet you face to face during startup week.
Kit Baker: Yeah, me too. It’s going to be really exciting. It’s great. I’m very excited to see not only Startup Week continue because I went last year. It was fantastic, but to see so many more arts panels in it and sessions on it is very exciting.
Vanessa Pagan: Thank you so much Kit this has been a great interview. Talk soon okay.
Kit Baker: Yeah. Take care. Bye.
Vanessa Pagan: Our guest is Mike Baron the creator of Nexus and Badger Mike hello. Your session is going to be Thursday March 1st. The current worlds of illustration graphic novels cartoons and comics.
Mike Baron: Yes, I’m going to be joined by Greg Guler whose head designer at Disney for Phineas and Ferb so and Greg knows all about animation and cartooning.
Vanessa Pagan: I’m glad you’re doing a startup week session. What do you hope that people can get out of coming to start up week?
Mike Baron: Well, I’m going to talk about graphic literature, how it works and it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. We may know them as comics, but we call most of them are circulated now as graphic novels. Which is a fancy word big collection of comics in a hard bound setting, but now graphic novels have come into their own. They’re no longer based on serial comics like Batman or Spider-Man, but the shelves at Barnes & Noble are overflowing with original graphic novels. T hat are often autobiographical from every imaginable place like Waltz with Bashir which was a Persian graphic novel or Bill Griffiths memory of his mother’s affair with a famous cartoonist. It’s called Hidden Ink Is another wonderful graphic novel.
There are so many and a lot of them are being optioned for films right now. The films that they tend option are based on real simple translatable ideas because that’s what we’ll be makers like but graphic literature can be used for many things. The armed forces have used them for decades to instruct soldiers on things like how to dismantle a weapon, care for it and put it back together and proper procedure in the field. I’ve worked on a lot of educational graphic products for various businesses like a credit union or Popeye’s Chicken. We did one for them and some are local for companies like insurance companies that are trying to transmit difficult ideas simply. And comics lend themselves to that.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. If there was something you could tell an attendee of startup week. What would you advise them, or give them as inspiration?
Mike Baron: If you have a story to tell, I’m going to tell you the most important thing about that which is what’s the story about. That’s the question everyone gets asked, and when you get asked that question you have to be ready. You have to prepare your answer in advance. So that it’s not only succinct but entertaining and makes the reader want to hear more.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful. What would you say is the vision that you have for Fort Collins?
Mike Baron: You know I like Fort Collins as it is. I am thrilled that they built a new bike trail that connects us with Loveland because I’m a big biker. You know I think Fort Collins is going on just fine. I don’t think the city council needs a foreign policy. They should stick to fixing the potholes, but other than that. I think Fort Collins is on the right track. We’re obviously a tech center. I mean so many technical innovations start here, and it’s also an early adapter city and by that I mean the people I know many friends of mine are very quick to pick up on new technology and use it.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Is there someone that you would like to recognize in the Fort Collins Community for their hard work and efforts?
Mike Baron: One karate instructors Lou Ann and Kim Yee who run Karate West are two of the most selfless people I’ve ever known and they hold multiple fundraisers every year for Realities for Children, and they’re having one coming up in a week or two for St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital. So I think the Yees ought to be recognized for that and also my wife Ann who’s just a world-class networker. And she get’s people jobs because she knows every job up and down the Front Range and she’s gotten countless people jobs but the Yees, yeah.
Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for taking the time and jumping on this call with me Mike.
I’m on the line with Sara Durnil who was the co-owner of Maple Street Music Agency a management company for professional musicians. She’s on a panel called pack the effing room Sara, hello.
Sara Durnil: Hi. Oh you’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Vanessa Pagan: I’m really glad you’re here because this is probably one of my favorite most descriptive session names that’s going on during startup week.
Sara Durnil: Yeah, definitely creative.
Vanessa Pagan: Yes, the creatives are going to know. Oh, I know at this one’s about. What would you say is your hope that attendees get out of attending your session?
Sara Durnil: Well I’m hoping that there’s a obviously there’s going to be a lot of musicians who are looking to improve their show attendance by the name of the session obviously, and I’m hoping that they get out of it more than just the standard advice of doing posters and Facebook giveaways for sharing. What I’m hoping they’ll take away is that it’s necessary to truly work every show from booking to advancing to the follow-up of the show. And really going to I know that I’m personally going to encourage bands and musicians to treat their music like a business not a hobby of course. It’s good. If it’s okay if it’s their second job, but when you put yourself in the mindset of being a professional it’s easy. It’s much easier to get your mind around how much work it is to be playing a show.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and what would you hope attendees of startup week get in general, so there’s going to be over 130 sessions, there’s going to be something of all kinds of variety of interests and topics. What do you hope attendees get out of the Fort Collins Starup Week?
Sara Durnil: More than anything there’s going to be an underlying message you know of the you can do it attitude and hope people who especially those people who maybe be at a crossroads and be getting burned out of being an entrepreneur because that happens. They just find some inspiration and some ideas to really keep going and make it happen and improve.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome and Sara if you could share with us one of your top lessons learned from your experience and your career, what would you share with us?
Sara Durnil: Oh holy cow. It is a constant learning curve. There is no magic formula in the music business. As soon as you think you have something figured out, it’s going to change. So my biggest lesson has been to be very organized and to really keep track of what you’re doing and making sure you’re consistent and being flexible because things change. Venues change. The climate changes and really what people are looking for changes and technology is changing just as fast as we’re learning it.
Vanessa Pagan: What would you say is your hope for the future of Fort Collins?
Sara Durnil: I need to get those in line for what I think is really going to happen. Right now musicians need to up their games because there is a market saturation happening and the most talented, most talented people need to be the ones who are showcased. So my hope is that the most talented bands, the most talented musicians rise to the top because they’re also the best business people. What is currently happening is sometimes just the best business people aren’t necessarily working on their craft enough not really to say that there is there’s mediocre musicians out there, but I’ve seen so much talent and just because they’re not acting as much like business people as they need to they’re not getting getting the recognition they deserve.
Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, reminds me of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth where he talks about you’re so busy being the technician. There’s no one leading the helm of the overall organization and even musicians your music is the business. So being able to wear the hats really that really resonates.
Sara Durnil: You know there is nothing wrong with the band or a musician who’s willing to work for beer and pizza and really just wants it to be their hobby, and they play every couple of months and have a good time, but I do think that the time for that is going to come is going to draw to a close simply because there’s so many bands out there. It’s going to be harder and harder to get gigs if you don’t have a professional presence.
Vanessa Pagan: Sara, we are out of time, but this has been wonderful. I can’t wait to see you face to face
I’m on the line where the Stephen Dourmashkin, who is founder and CEO of Specdrums. Steven, Welcome to the Fort Collins startup week podcast.
Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah thanks a lot for having me.
Vanessa Pagan: So Steven, can you tell me a little bit about what you hope people get from attending your session.
Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah, I hope that I can kind of like share my lessons about developing a music tech product like specifically like a hardware product.
Vanessa Pagan: What is it?
Steven Dourmashkin: Sure, so Specdrumss are they’re app connected rings that they simply turn colors into sounds. So the point of it is you can then turn like any object into an interactive instrument. So meaning you could like color your own piano, or you could play drums on your clothes. So that’s what it is. Yeah, and we just had a Kickstarter campaign in the summer, which got funded or actually over 12 times our goal. So we’ve really been working, to finish our manufacturing and we’re updating our app, and we’re about to about the fullfill all of our orders, which is pretty exciting, but definitely learned a lot along the way, so I hope I can share that and also just get people to know more about Specdrums since we’re Boulder company. So it’s kind of trying to spread the word.
Vanessa Pagan: What do you feel is on a bigger stage? What do you hope people get out of startup week in general? There’s going to be over a hundred and thirty sessions jam-packed
Steven Dourmashkin: Well for me. I guess I can kinda relate it when I first moved to Boulder, I went to Denver startup weekend. That was the around a year ago. I guess it really helped because I really got plugged into the entrepreneurship community. So I hope that it’s kind of the same thing in Fort Collins meet other entrepreneurs and do a lot of networking plus like learn a lot from all like the speakers and all the different events if they’re kind of just getting into entrepreneurship, so I think it’s really good learning experience.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and what would you tell a first-time startup week attendee? What would be your advice to them?
Steven Dourmashkin: I would say that it’s really. I think it’s good to plan out what you want to be seeing kind of plan out the day before you get there because there’s so many different things to choose from and yeah, just do a lot of networking because you end up meeting like a lot of other entrepreneurs there and for me it was a great networking experience.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. What do you hope for the future of Northern, Colorado?
Steven Dourmashkin: Yeah, I just hope that it continues. So part of the reason I moved here was because it’s a really great entrepreneurship community. So I just hope that it continues to grow and yeah, especially in like in regards to like new tech & hardware.
Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for listening to Startup FoCo Podcast. If you like our show and want to know more check out startupfoco.com Fort Collins Startup week this year is February 23rd to March 2nd.
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