This unique environment of midnight sandwich runs, unending games of ping pong, impromptu social media study halls, and Ruby on Rails power hours has served to concentrate our community and expose us to the next generation of visionaries and entrepreneurs. By Katie Warner Johnson (Co-Founder, Carbon38)
My team and I all looked up from our plates of MSG-laden Chinese take-out, high-fived and then got back to work. It had been exactly a year since Carbon38 convened in San Francisco for the Women 2.0 Startup Weekend in November 2011.
To mark the event and celebrate our one-year anniversary, we participated in another Startup Weekend in Los Angeles. There is something very motivating about working side-by-side with other individuals drinking Monster, wired for 54 hours, trying to hack, hustle, stitch and scale in a limited amount of time with no resources other than the people at your table. Carbon38 is addicted to this high.
I am writing from my desk at StartEngine, an accelerator program based in LA that has invested in our company, Carbon38. The accelerator has given us capital, a Rolodex of mentors and access to the LA tech community. However, the ultimate value of this program exists in our peers. It is difficult to explain the influx of energy you soak up in an environment like StartEngine's or that of the past Startup Weekend.
It's like doing laps in a pool. You start out with your face in the water, establishing a comfortable rhythm. The cocooning affect helps cut out ambient noise and allows you to focus on your thoughts, your form, your breath, and the goal ahead. But then the swimmer in the lane next to you pulls your focus. You start to pick up and match their cadence, mimicking their efficiency.
Competition is a powerful motivator. But we are all in this together. LA is a big town. But this unique environment of midnight sandwich runs, unending games of ping pong, impromptu social media study halls, and Ruby on Rails power hours has served to concentrate our community and expose us to the next generation of visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Though we are constantly looking out of the corner of our eye at the swimmer next to us, there is power in numbers when you are all reaching for a similar goal of success. The momentum of our community has pushed Carbon38 forward. For that, we are forever grateful.
As we accelerate towards our launch, the training wheels have come off and it's all hands on deck. To celebrate our anniversary and to say thank you to our current and future community of users, peers, cheerleaders and mentors, we are giving away a pair of Jimmy Choo kicks. This piece of luxury reflects our mantra: to elevate fitness to the level of high fashion. Why not waltz into the Pilates studio in a pair of glittery treads? Or spend a little extra on running tights? It makes a trip to yoga that much more enticing. If we all treat our bodies and the regimen to support them as an indulgence we might be all that more apt to stay healthy.
We look forward to debuting our philosophy when our site goes live today. Women 2.0 provided the opportunity for us to get started. We have realized from day one how important community is to our success. We hope to launch not only a business, but a community of women who embrace their bodies, their health, and their own success. A year ago, my co-founder and I marched into the Hatchery with an idea, a coke and a smile. And we found the strength to take the fitness industry by storm.
Women 2.0 readers: What keeps you going in the startup life? Let us know in the comments.
About the guest blogger: Katie Warner Johnson is a Co-Founder of Carbon38. Katie is celebrity trainer, a lululemon ambassador, spokeswoman for Women's Health and was recently voted LA's Hottest Trainer by Racked.com. Katie and her co-founder Caroline Gogolak founded Carbon38, the premier online luxury fitness destination that combines effortless shopping with cutting-edge editorial. Katie is a Harvard graduate and former ballet dancer. Follow her on Twitter at @kcrcarbon38.