Alan Jones: I Don't Tell Everyone

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Alan Jones is a Sydney, Australia based startup evangelist, mentor, investor and advisor at BlueChilli

I was invited to Curvejump by an experienced, successful startup entrepreneur I admire greatly; someone I know doesn't waste time on attending the usual industry conferences and events. I was intrigued to learn why it was he thought I'd get something from it worth travelling half the world away. He was right — it was totally worth the time and expense getting there.

I was surprised to find Curvejump was not a typical conference in any way. I'm used to conferences and summits in my industry being attended by hundreds of middle-management drones employed by large brands and corporations to make sure they harvest and bring back third-hand insights.

At Curvejump, the typical attendees were people like myself — focused, thoughtful entrepreneurs leading businesses small enough to still require the involvement of the founder in most aspects of the business.

"It seemed like we were all at that difficult set of inflection points where you either make it very big or fail, and we were all willing to contribute what we'd learned so far, in return for the opportunity to learn from others still at the leading edge in other industries and professions."

The other thing that surprised me was how successfully the organisers brought together entrepreneurs and elite athletes, artists and makers. At Curvejump I learned how much these four callings have in common; how we all balance the need to excel against the fear of failure, the shifting forces of competition, and the risk of expressing our authentic individual creativity.

I don't tell just anybody about Curvejump because I want it to stay just how it is — a small, carefully curated group of high-performing individuals from around the world who come together to help, share, find balance and grow in a beautiful setting.

If I do tell someone about Curvejump it's because I can see that they're better than me, better than maybe anybody else in their field, but I know they can grow more by participating with remarkable people from fields outside their own.

What I tell them is: imagine who you'd be today if you'd been one of the first 25 people to attend Davos, to be one of the people in the audience for the very first TED conference. Who would you count as a close friend now? What access would you have now and what would you have learned? Now imagine who you'd be today if, despite the demand, Davos and TED had never grown bigger, and just by being there from the beginning, you would always be on the inside. I'm still refining my pitch but that works well so far.


Alex Hillinger