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. ?

Iron that is flat. Also Bob the extra chin.

A photo posted by Swizec Teller (@swizec) on

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.

Stick.

A photo posted by Swizec Teller (@swizec) on

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.

New York.

A photo posted by Swizec Teller (@swizec) on

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:

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.


  1. I once had a whisky sour in Portland that was better. Can’t remember which bar. ↩︎
  2. 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. ↩︎

Learned something new? 💌

Join 8,400+ people becoming better Frontend Engineers!

Here's the deal: leave your email and I'll send you an Interactive ES6 Cheatsheet 📖 right away.  After that you'll get an email once a week with my writings about React, JavaScript,  and life as an engineer.


You should follow me on twitter, here.