It’s hard to put last weekend into words. But we’ll try…
This was the most rewarding, exhausting yet heartwarming thing we’ve ever been involved with. To see our vision come to life, but better than we could have imagined, with amazing people inspiring each other in a beautiful setting was incredible.
As you probably know we’ve worked hard over these last few months to put on a special event, but ultimately it was the people that made it. People travelled from far and wide – the US, Japan, Middle East and all across Europe and the UK – to learn about how to build a business that places happiness at its core. We heard from some of the most inspirational people you’re likely to hear from in one event. And we also let our hair down (more on that later…).
There was swinging (not that kind), LEGO, hugs, dancing, drinking, yoga, mindfulness, fishing, tight rope walking (ok just one brave Tom Hemmings), a rousing Sunday Assembly, great food, music and more hugs.
Oh yeah, and we also talked business too :)
We had a discussion the week before the event how we could measure the success of it. Would it be the number of businesses started as a result? Ratings on the speakers? Marks out of ten for the learning? How good the food was? Then Laurence suggested ‘number of hugs at the end?’. Based on that we did our job.
As Carlos tweeted:
“If you judge a conference on the number of hugs, we smashed the world record.”
This is what a workshop on compassion looks like (with Kees Klomp)
Whilst the content of the talks and workshops was key, and the activities we put on were fun and different, the key purpose of this event was to inspire people to make change happen and connect with likeminded people that believe in the same things.
“When tribes gather in the same place the opportunities for mutual inspiration become intense.” Ken Robinson
And what an incredible bunch of people we had – we’ve never seen a business event with such openness, understanding, helpfulness and warm-heartedness. This gives us hope for the future, not just for events like this, but for the wider world.
Some words of wisdom
Some soundbites from the weekend that resonated (thanks Tom Druitt for the photos of his notebook!):
We love you guys
The feedback has been nothing less than amazing (we’re not ones to blow our own trumpet so we’ll let you read what other people have been saying):
“I arrived home feeling inspired, refreshed, and optimistic about the future.” Simon Cohen, speaker
“I’ve been to tons of conferences and this weekend was a special one. I’m so grateful to be invited. Thanks for putting your heart and soul for making it so special :)” Shamash Alidina, mindfulness teacher and author
“I’ve just got back from The Happy Startup Summercamp. It blew my mind. Possibly the best business event ever.”
Tom Druitt, Founder The Big Lemon Bus Company
“Back from a spectacular Summercamp. Got inspired by great entrepreneurs & thinkers & reminded all over again why I love what I do!! :o)” Ruth Anslow, HiSbe Foods
“I think the Happy Startup Summercamp will turn out to be a life-changer for me…..” Kees Klomps, Speaker/Facilitator
“A wonderful and unique experience. A gift of a weekend.” Jeremiah Gardner, speaker and author The Lean Brand
“Loving the amazing community spirit.” Alison Austin
“What a genuinely amazing weekend.” Champagner
“You smashed it.” Peter Krishnan (our ‘toughest customer’!)
“Every conference should be like this.” Jonathan Markwell
“Still buzzing from the short exposure I had to The Happy Startup Summercamp” John Wilshire, Smithery/Artefact Cards
“It was such a pleasure (and a relief) to meet so many people who were committed to growing their ventures and companies with compassion, with a focus on being emotionally/intellectually fulfilled, and with a strong awareness and care for the environment and the communities surrounding them.” Dorothy Sanders, Co-founder Maptia
“I had such an amazing time at @happycamp2014 love and happiness to all the amazing people and new friends” Gar Mac Criosta
“Amazing is spending a weekend being inspired. Awesome is using that momentum to make change. I feel I owe it to Summercamp to make change” Adam Brooks
“You guys really delivered on your promise. Top job.” Jack Hubbard
“An amazing event.” Martin Bjegergaard, speaker and author of Winning Without Losing
View full photo album on our Facebook page
A massive thank you
With big HUGS AND THANKS to these awesome people for helping to make it all possible:
Rob at Stick It On, for his seamless sound engineering and making Saturday night one of the most memorable DJ nights in history. We had everything from Italian anthems with DJ PALTA, belgian flavours from DJ Edward Molton and Punjabi remixes from DJ Foo. Top night Rob.
Chevi Davis, our PR guru for her non-stop hard work in the last 6 months helping us get Summercamp exactly where we want it to be. You’ve been instrumental in our approach, and an asset to camp :)
Claire Knill at In The Making, for making the rustic barn look all the more magical with her colourful streamers, handcrafted signs, mesmerising cubes in the marquee, and general awesomeness. Great job Claire.
Sanderson Jones, our host and star of the show. For teaching us Danish clapping, for limbo-ing, for wowing us with the very first Summercamp Sunday Assembly, for general awesomeness and keeping everyone pumped for the weekend (even hungover at 9am Saturday morning)…. and for breaking another world record in creating the greasiest cheese toastie man has ever seen.
Doug, Andy, Josh and the team at Kitebox, for effortlessly filming every one of our incredible talks, which we’re super excited to share. Thanks for being such cool people to have around :)
Claire Holgate, our dear friend and hugely talented graphic recorder for all those early mornings writing up our schedule for the day, for running the BIGGEST and one of the most INSPIRING activity sessions of the whole weekend, for drawing the talks live as they were happening and being such a smashing addition to the weekend.
Neil Shaw, our Brighton photographer extraordinaire & volunteer for the weekend. We got a sneak peek of all 1,000 photos he captured across the 3 days have now shared the album on our facebook page. There’s a lot of hugging and mild nudity. You’ve been warned ;)
Helen Boyle, co-founder of the delicious The Dip Society for driving all the way from oop north to camp armed with a car full of dips to surprise and delight all involved. Those dips went down a treat during the midnight feasts ;) can’t thank you enough.
Tom Druitt, founder of The Big Lemon Bus for providing one of the happiest shuttle bus services known to man.
Of course, MASSIVE THANKS to all of our mind-blowing speakers (expect another post on these soon), an incredibly diverse talented bunch of attendees who made the weekend what it was. Don’t worry, we have lots of ideas up our sleeve for how we can all stay in touch, since “exchanging emails was somehow less of a priority than hugging goodbye” (words from Maptia’s own Dorothy)
*deep breath, there’s more……*
Thanks and high fives are in order for our awesome sponsors for making the weekend a roaring success.
American Express for allowing us to film and share all of the talks with the world.
Campaign Monitor for funding our crazy decoration. Did we mention we had a tight rope across the pond? Well done Tom, for making it half way ;)
The awesome team at Lick Frozen Yogurt & The Octopuses for throwing the most confusing lick party ever. There were more licking than frozen yogurts but that’s a story for another time…The spine-tingling sound of Luke Sital-Singh during his acoustic set in the barn (check out his album, it’s awesome). The brilliant caterers Ren’s Kitchen (despite challenging cooking conditions!), the awesome Axe and Paddle bushcrafting and Sally Lovett from Stretching The City for her bright-eyed yoga session at 7am!
Alexis at Virgin Startup, Mike at Crowdcube, Penina at Acumen Business Law and again the lovely Chevi Davis for running some awesome drop in sessions and providing stellar advice for us and attendees.
Most of all, a big thanks is in order to all the Bauers, the most accommodating family we’ve met, for letting us take over their stunning venue for the last few days and not once complaining when we kept them awake with our fireside sing-a-longs. Thank you Aafke, Tijs and all the Yoghurt Rooms folk – you guys rock!
Here’s to next year!
Help us build on this
The feedback we received that hit us most was from Martin Bjegergaard via email:
“Turn this into an epic and worldwide movement. You can do it :)”
The question is, can you help? We can’t do this alone. We want to spread the word of happiness in business to a wider audience and inspire, empower & connect the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders that want to make a positive dent in the world.
So drop us an email if you’d like to :
- Put forward ideas or opportunities that will help us to propel our community forward
- Bring the Happy Startup School to your city or country
- Get involved with the next Summercamp (or our other events) whether to volunteer, speak or sponsor
- Bring some happiness to your company
We’d love to hear from you.
Thanks all. Til next time. Perhaps we’ll see you there? Sign up for a nudge when tickets go on sale early 2015.