Maya Angelou was right: Writing in a hotel room is heaven. Sitting on a leather chair that isn’t yours, wearing a bathrobe you’d never buy yourself, just you and your computer and bad tea made in a coffee machine.
Nothing else to do but to sit there and write. No email, no Slack, no internet, no obligations. It was the best 3 hours I’ve had all year. Ok, maybe not all year – but in months, for sure.
All weekend, I wanted desperately to repeat that Friday afternoon experience, but the only times I saw my room was when I was either getting ready for the Forefront event, or asleep, or tipsy and asleep. Sometimes I pooped.
Btw, going back to your room when there’s a huge line for the restroom? Definitely worth paying extra for a room in the same hotel your event is at. So worth it. ?
Forefront was great - Ramit Sethi’s first event was something between a networking event, a self-improvement seminar, and a small business conference. Basically all the things he’s built an empire around over the past 12 or so years.
You can think of him as the father of online courses and “How to make an online course” online courses. At least that’s what it feels like. Maybe he’s just the first I heard of.
Yes, fine, I went to a self-improvement seminar. It was pretty good, and it would’ve been even better had I had an actual goal in mind before going. As it was, I went just to see what it was like and what kind of people would show up. I got to see that.
If you watch that Tony Robins documentary on Netflix, you’ll get a decent idea of what it looked like. There was loud pump-you-up music; there was a super excitable guy who prepped the crowd for Ramit; and there were Q&A sessions and 1-on–1 public teardowns.
But Ramit didn’t go so far as doing the weird heal-you-with-the-power-of-touch stuff that Tony Robins does. In fact, he seemed rather down-to-earth. He mingled with the crowd like a normal bloke, brought his parents so they could be proud of him, and chatted with anyone who wanted to.
He did have cameras following him around though…
My favorite parts were the so-called “Rich Life Experiences” and the guest keynote from Daymond John. He’s the guy who made FUBU and now starts on the ABC show Shark Tank. Great story, amazing presentation, beautiful pump-you-up go-do-shit motivation. I almost skipped the rest of the event and holed up writing in my hotel room after his speech.
Maybe I should have. But checkout was in 2 hours, and Sunday looked promising. There was bound to be something useful in the Q&A session and the teardowns.
That Rich Life Experience stuff on Saturday afternoon, though. Man, that was awesome. We got to pick what we wanted to do during the signup process. Some people trained to be ninjas, some got a makeover, others went wine tasting. There were some 20 options in total.
Mine was the Speakeasy and Street Art tour of the East Village by Museum Hacks. We got to see a real live part of New York, learned about the prohibition era, went to a real bar behind a real barber shop, drank one of the best whisky sours I have ever had1, and tagged Thompson Park with chalk. Mine said FLATBREAD.
Did you know there’s a guy called Stik who is famous for drawing large stick figures on things?
In the evening, there was a cocktail party on a boat.
All in all, I spent far too much time and money on this trip, spoke to over 100 people with little purpose behind it2, and gained no more insight than what I already knew:
- Just Do the Things™
- In life, it only matters what a man can do and what a man can’t do
- Know what you want
Worth a couple thousand dollars? Eh, maybe. I had fun, and I got a fist bump from Ramit, who’s one of my heroes. And I proved to myself that I can clear a whole weekend if I really want to.
Next time, I’ll clear it for Doing The Things.
I once had a whisky sour in Portland that was better. Can’t remember which bar. ↩︎
In my experience, networking works a lot better when you have a purpose behind it. A clear sort of conversion that you’re going for. Whether it’s exchanging contact info, getting a date, or making a sale. Purpose helps guide the conversation. ↩︎
Continue reading about My weekend at Forefront in New York
Semantically similar articles hand-picked by GPT-4
- I went through YC as an intern, here's what I learned
- Nights and Weekends
- What I learned at MicroConf Growth 2018
- Why offices are where work goes to die
- How I accidentally lost my social skills
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️