Practice Makes Perfect


"Give First."  Simple, profound and yet, not exactly easy to put into practice. Brad Feld, a chief activator of Boulder’s startup community before there was such a thing, paid AE a special visit on Monday night. Perhaps a little known fact, our co-founder Dave Mayer, embraced the Give First ethos over a decade ago while living on the Front Range and developing a mentorship bond with Brad himself.  Upon moving to the Valley and experiencing the void of such a startup eco-system, Dave partnered with Skippy Mesirow to plant the seed of a service-minded community here called Aspen Entrepreneurs. 

Like all early-stage endeavors, lots of nurturing needs to take place in tandem with the passing of seasons before the fruits of labor become visible. AE is no different. Over the past two-plus years, our team has hosted over 70 inclusive events (40 this summer alone!) in which our guests have been encouraged to look around the room, extend their hands to each other, and ask how they can be of help. One by one, year over year, these AE connections have congealed into a real community.

Brad reminded us the other night that Give First is not transactional, and it is also not entirely altruistic either. In paying it forward per se, there is an expectation that at some point in the future, your gift will come back to you tenfold.. More than likely it will appear in the most unexpected ways, from people you may not even know, and the timing is often uncanny. Sounds like a much better investment than playing the lottery! Your odds are 100% guaranteed to deliver an ROI.

AE has been banking on exactly that. Our AE co-celorater launched in July, which was only possible through Michaela Olson’s Give First act of inviting us to share her space for “almost free!” During this live summer experience, we’ve been running on fumes. However, due to our collective faith in this magical ethos, we all believed that someone, or many someones, would write a generous check to support our next wave of growth on the road to sustainability. And voila, a Give First OG and his wife are making a charitable donation to us from their family foundation as I type. Thank you, Amy and Brad! Note to self - practice makes perfect.     


Julie Engels
Executive Director of AE