Shooting Rockets From Balloons

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Akron is nothing short of beautiful in the fall and the people here are a perfect reflection of that.  I was reminded of the supportive and growing community just this week. It’s natural in the startup phase to go through fits of excitement, as well as feel the doubt that accompanies any great task.  Last week, I found myself in one of those dark places where the walls seemed a little smaller and progress seemed to be like a mountain I climbed up in Afghanistan with a 40lb pack, slow and nearly unbearable. Who has built something of importance and not felt those pangs of “is this going to work?” If you haven’t felt that terror rush over you, I suggest undertake more important things!

People will never cease to amaze me, their mental capacity, their ability to adapt and overcome and their resiliency is something to behold. Launch League had an event entitled “Funding for Hardware Startups: How to Find Funding Outside the ‘Valley’” and it was absolutely amazing. Courtney Gras gave a talk that left everyone in the room feeling inspired that despite all odds being against us, we can achieve greatness, as long as we share and do it together. If these walls could talk they would say tear us down. If you have ever seen me at a Launch League event you know I am constantly patrolling the room trying to find people to introduce to each other. People that may have something to learn from each other, something to share. I find it odd that we are expanding in this “sharing-economy” but sometimes we forget how to be a “sharing community”.


If these walls could talk they would say tear us down


We are building a sharing community and this is feeding the fire of high-growth startups that are coming out of Akron. As I was trying to help people connect I found myself just listening in the background of conversations that were already happening. I kid you not, two companies, were talking and sharing hardware advice for sensors that could be used to gather data for a satellite they had launched into space from a hot air balloon! A drone company and an advanced rocketry company were discussing the finer points of fluid dynamics while I hear another company sharing manufacturing connections in Australia to help a standing desk company increase their footprint to another continent. All the while I was watching batteries charge in a manner that is going to revolutionize the clean-tech world. I can barely fathom the awesomeness that is Launch League and the meaningful lasting connections this community is making.

This is Akron, let us build more, invent more, and take more risks. These young men and women are doing it every day, when was the last time you tried to change the world?

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Rick StockburgerShooting Rockets From Balloons