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No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

So long and thanks for all the fish…

Dearest Darlings,

Our time together has come to an end. In the past two years, I’ve seen this community grow from 500 members to 1,200 strong. Businesses have sprung up all along downtown. We have not one, but two grocery stores in the downtown/southtown area. (My major gripe upon moving here was the longish drive to Central Market.) Venture for America San Antonio has grown from four ladies to ten amazing humans. I’ve gone from backing up and reapproaching the turns in the Rand Garage to whipping through them. Lorenzo and Kara’s feline family has increased from one cat to four. In just about every standard of measurement, both our community and I have grown significantly in two short years.

For this (and so much more), thank you.

Since my very first day, when I was absolutely terrified to start my first real job in a totally new city, you all made this place feel like home. Whenever I had a question (from how to make coffee or how to set up an NPS campaign), you were there. I have never, ever had any doubt that if I had a problem, you all would help me solve it. Sometimes, your help was as simple as explaining how to do a Fantasy Football draft (shoutout to Erik Ford!). Other times, it was something like how to use Basecamp or read gantt charts. A lot of the time, it was just getting another pair of eyes on something I’d written or a policy we were working on. (Thanks Catherine Lester!) Even now, as I’m about to start my new job doing marketing in New Orleans, I hit up Geekdom mentor week and got tons of great advice on how to approach the first day (thanks Jeremy Karney & Dave Geada!).

A bunch of times, I was just having an awful day, and you noticed and asked how I was doing. You did things to make me feel appreciated, like Gene Carangal breaking out all his shrimp recipes so I could partake in his amazing cooking. You cared about me as a human and not just an employee in your coworking space. The whole Infocyte team has helped me decide on shoe purchases. A lot of this stuff seems totally random, but it all added up. Being at Geekdom with all of you has been one of the very best experiences I have ever, and will ever, have.

In the past two years, I’ve had just about every job there is to have on the Geekdom team. At times, I have majorly screwed up. It hasn’t always been smooth. Moving to a new city wasn’t without its own mishaps. Trying to be a real adult has also been hilariously awful at times. With everything that’s gone wrong, friends at home questioned what I was doing here. To them, it never made any sense why I would pick a job where I stretched myself so much to make it work. Knowing you all have my back gave me the confidence to take on anything and look at my mistakes with a smile. What they can’t understand from afar is that you all made every bit worth it.

I didn’t expect to get this attached. In fact, I really didn’t want to fall in love with Geekdom, San Antonio or Texas at all. I hoped to just like you all a lot and then drive off carefree into the sunset. My predictions couldn’t have been more wrong. While I am excited to move home, I am so sad to be leaving you and missing out on the next part of San Antonio’s story. There is a taco-shaped hole in my heart. So thank you for every second of these past two years, and please keep in touch.

XO,

Camille

P.S. If you’re curious about the title, here’s the song!

Part I: Two Year Startup Survival Merit Badge

When I started at Geekdom two years ago, I was two months out of college, and my list of startup relevant skills was one word long.  I came into the job (and our huge ecosystem of entrepreneurs) expecting that everyone knew what they were doing. I pictured the people who started companies as high-achieving geniuses who, unlike me, didn’t have any doubts. While that’s a super intimidating thought, I was incredibly excited to learn from everyone. The learning tons from everyone I met did turn out to be a real thing. Everything else I expected was totally off.

Surprisingly, people starting companies are normal human beings. Even more surprising, adults are also normal human beings. You don’t turn 22 and suddenly receive magical adult-y knowledge that prevents you from getting road rage and forgetting to put your laundry in the dryer. Within the first month at Geekdom, I realized no one knows what they’re doing. The people founding companies are still high-achieving genius humans. It’s just that they also have doubts about the best course of action, get stressed, procrastinate and have to do things totally outside their wheelhouse to achieve their goals.

The story you know is that in these past two years, Geekdom doubled in size, expanded to three floors + an event space, improved our customer satisfaction, etc. While I love the victories, what I remember viscerally were all the false starts, all the little failures that helped us figure out what success actually looks like. I started as a project manager, but then we needed an events person. We didn’t have anyone doing sales so we hired someone. People previously doing office manager stuff, billing, etc became the membership managers you know and love. There was never a playbook for what we were doing or how to do it. The whole concept of “guess and check” from math class was very applicable to daily life. And all of that was just the Geekdom team. There were also sorts of changes, risks taken, adventures embarked upon throughout the rest of the community as well.

Instead of thinking less highly of the people around me, I find myself more impressed. All of the success stories (both large and small) were not about super humans; these are average humans with crazy above average bravery. I could talk your ear off about everything I learned working with the most amazing team I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. The really important take away is that you can do anything if you assemble a solid team and aren’t afraid of making mistakes while you figure out what your success story is going to be.



Build it at Geekdom.