Big Omaha has steadily become a dominant force among national tech conferences, so it’s no surprise that this years event has SOLD OUT! 2011 promises to be one of Big Omaha’s best, playing host to such speakers as David Hauser from Grasshopper Group, Sarah Lacy from TechCrunch, returning speakers Gary Vaynerchuk of DailyGrape and Micah Baldwin of Graphic.ly, and Zaarly’s very own Bo Fishback.
How can you attend this star studded event and experience the incredible level of intimacy Big Omaha has become known for? You can’t… or at least you couldn’t, until now! Zaarly is giving you the opportunity to win one free ticket to Big Omaha and all we’re asking in return is that you spread the word. Tweet this post and you will be automatically entered in our drawing for a chance to win your free pass to this years phenomenal Big Omaha event.
We couldn’t have made it any easier.
Simply click the Tweet button below and submit to enter! Contest ends Friday, May 6th at 5:00PM CST.
You’d think after 5 cities in 6 days that our team would start to get worn out; not at all.
A couple of our team members, including myself, are from Seattle so we are determined to make Zaarly a hit in our home city!
We kicked off the day with a meetup at FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square. At the time there was a Seattle Sounders soccer match going on across the street so the area was packed with fans and the energy was intense! This helped set the tone for our time in Seattle. Sports venues and events are a great way to use Zaarly and I’m sure it will be utilized in the near future at Sounders soccer matches.
When I think about the northwest, I think about food carts, great music and a local neighborhood feel. Needless to say, I think Zaarly is a compliment to the northwest vibe and it just gets me more excited than ever to make Seattle the best Zaarly city!
The only way to do that is with the rock star team we have on the ground in the city.
Our Seattle Marketing Coordinator, Briana, has done an amazing job building the Zaarly city organizer team. Our team captain, Otis Kimzey, has some killer ideas for getting Zaarly rolling and I think he is a great leader for the Seattle team!
After 2 hours of getting to know everyone and planning our attack strategy,we ended the meeting with high fives and we headed onto the next city, Washington D.C.
Seattle lives and breathes everything that Zaarly stands for and I personally hope it is the top Zaarly city in the country! I think we have the team to do it…
We rolled into Los Angeles about 9 a.m. and the energy from the second we hit the ground was intense (or maybe it was the traffic).
It’s crazy to think that a little over 10 weeks ago Zaarly was just an idea at a Startup Weekend. Since it all began here, we knew LA had to be one of the main kick off cities and we decided to hold our event at the same space where it all began, Coloft.
The Coloft team provides one of the best co-working spaces in the country. They are passionate about everything they do and they run a top notch place to work. Thanks for everything they have done for us thus far.
LA was so dynamic. Its energy was contagious and the diversity of our team was incredible.
The team was that was built had some really interesting people. From 3 guys who started a national eyewear chain, a few developers who were at the original Startup Weekend to a Los Angeles Laker Girl. We had all ends of the spectrum covered and it was a very energizing night.
Los Angeles just has this vibe that gets everyone going. We spent a lot of time talking about entrepreneurship and how Zaarly could help unemployment. The drive to help non-profits and get people back on their feet was inspiring.
After a few hours in the room where it all began, it felt like I had connected with a group of friends that I had known forever. It was there that it hit me that this is what it was all about; building communities and connections that come together to work on something amazing. It’s the community that gets me out of bed everyday and it is the community that makes Zaarly such an amazing team to be a part of.
Thanks LA, you are awesome… Now off to Seattle.
Stop 3 of 7 on our city rollout tour was San Francisco. Since we have an office in town we decided to invite the team over for some pizza and beer. On top of that, a few blocks away from our office there was a Startup Weekend event happening so we took everyone to meet the people who run the event that catalyzed Zaarly eight weeks ago.
This team is awesome. Our team captain is the biz dev rockstar at Dropbox, we have college students from Berkley and Stanford, a Googler, a jewelry maker, a charity fund raising guru, a superstar event planner and the list goes on. People from every imaginable background are coming out of the woodworks to join the movement.
The best part about these events are the stories. It’s amazing to hear where people came from, what they like to do and why they are a part of the Zaarly team. That’s what this is all about. We spent an hour introducing ourselves and then went over a few key initiatives on how we are going to make Zaarly kick ass in SF.
One of the coolest things that happened in SF was when a couple ladies showed up because they heard from their friends in NYC (where we were the night before) that they had to come check this out. Connecting people across the country to come together and build something great is amazing.
Thanks to an awesome team in SF and here’s to dominating the most tech friendly place on earth. San Francisco seems up to the task of keeping ahead of the other awesome communities being built across the country.
Exhausted. Inspired. Excited. There’s nothing quite like waking up after a three hour nap to catch a 6am flight from Chicago to New York City. It’s getting easier to get up in the morning because of knowing what lies ahead. Sara, Shane and I cruised over to the Big Apple for our second of seven meet ups with our Dream Teams and several meetings with really inspiring groups of people.
The team arrived a little after 9am after almost missing our flight (thank you hotel front desk guy), getting stuck in what seemed like the longest security line ever, passing out immediately on the plane and a rough touch down. Good news? It was supposedly one of the most beautiful days this year in New York City. Bad news? We were starving after no dinner (turns out we’ve been too excited and focused) and no breakfast (timing).
We met up with Jessica Lawrence (NYTM), David Spinks (BlogDash) and Michael Constantiner (FastSociety). This was a really great group of personalities in the NYC Tech scene and just kick ass people. We talked current projects, future plans and of course what we need to do to make Zaarly a smashing success in the city.
After lunch I mentioned I was hoping to stop by Dogpatch Labs to say hi to a buddy Trevor Owens (Lean Startup Machine) and found out that FastSociety was actually working out of there as well. Perfect. Lots of cool things going on in that place and just a great vibe. I wish I had the chance to stop by New Work City (personal favorite) and the much buzzed about General Assembly as well. Next time…
Everyone we spoke with had either already heard of Zaarly or was really interested.
The tour continued with a meeting with Lane Wood and Paull Young at Charity Water. Our platform lends itself well to some really creative fundraising opportunities and Charity Water is high on the list of potential partners. We talked integration, promotion and execution. Got some big ideas down on paper. That group is doing some incredible things.
Vayner Media was next on the list where we chatted with Marcus Krzastek about their recent growth, marketing tactics, hiring and the absence of a previously known beard. We both love to build and engage communities. Shane and I also had some great feedback from AJ Vaynerchuck about Zaarly.
People are beyond excited.
Shane setup a meeting with Jonathan Crowley at the FourSquare HQ to discuss some downstream opportunities. We came up with some clever ideas beforehand and needless to say, the future looks bright.
The right things keep on happening.
By now it was close to happy hour time so we cruised over to our destination for a get together some of our Dream Teamers planned. We were hoping that ten to fifteen people would show up before the team meeting. It started at 6pm and 30 minutes in we had taken over the entire bar area. The level of talent from across many NYC scenes was mind blowing, but what happened next was the kicker. It was time to move downstairs to talk strategy and get with the core team. Sara made the announcement to the group that the happy hour was over and that we would be starting soon. Almost every single person headed down. Most of which were not on the official Dream Team…Until now!
In.Spir.Ational! (say it slow)
We spent the next two hours with our new team telling stories, getting organized and talking actions. Most common quote of the night?
“What can I do to help you guys? Just let me know and I’ll make it happen.”
What started off as a small community has totally transformed in to what will be a major movement. A very special thanks goes out to everyone who attended and Sara Davidson for coordinating such a magnificent group of people. Thank you from the entire Zaarly team.
The bar has been raised.
San Francisco strut your stuff. Can you out do Chicago and New York City?
As we set out to meet our teams of city organizers this week, I wasn’t sure how we, the Zaarly team, would be received. Everything was great in our pre-meetings and it seemed like the Chicago Dream Team was ready to rock but I kept wondering how it would be when we showed up. How would it be when we bridge all these online connections offline.
One word; amazing.
I was in Chicago for a total of 24 hours and I was lucky to have such a great team who put together an entire day of events.
Sara Davidson and Tim McDonald kicked off a great lunch at PrimeBar with a few bloggers along with some interesting mommy bloggers and reporters. Here’s the list of all who attended. Great to meet such an awesome group (@tombesore @dshanahan @bethrosen @saradavidson
After lunch was a quick meetup with the Social Media Club Chicago President, Jeff Willinger. A great guy with an awesome sense of humor and willingness to help that is humbling to say the least.
It’s truly inspiring when everyone just says, “How can I help?”
A quick stop by our investors office and a tour of Groupon (holy smokes is this a sales machine) and then we were off to an afternoon design call from the corner of Michigan Ave.
Another awesome moment happened after that. I was lucky to see that Hashable was in town hosting an event and I sent a note to Hashable’s CEO, Michael Yavonditte, and ended up having a great meeting at Fado’s Irish pub.
Smart man, even better to just talk ideas with.
After that, it was off to the Hashable meetup and then our Dream Team meeting.
This is when I was blown away. 20 people, all whom were mostly strangers, came together to be a part of something. A movement. A community. This is a thank you to all of the people who I can call part of the team in Chicago.
3 hours of planning, ideas and most of all… stories.
Stories on why people were there. Why they want to be a part. Why they believe in what we’re doing.
Zaarly is truly all about the community and Chicago just set the bar high for how to build it.
As I arrive in NYC this morning, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the Chicago team but now I am left wondering, can NYC beat last night?
We’ll see. Here’s to building communities and connecting people.
From the Zaarly team; Thank you.