Pioneer Nation

Chris Guillebeau welcomes us to the conference

In April 2004, I decided to start a business. It was six months after getting a Master of Architecture degree, and I was doing freelance and temp work related to real estate development. The majority of this work centered around graphics. I had a vague idea that this could be the beginning of a business, so I opened a bank account, printed some cards, and started calling people to talk about what I was doing.

I’ve learned a lot in ten years, but in some ways I still feel like a pioneer. As a business grows, there are always new situations and new decisions to make for the first time. All this was on my mind as I spent two full days last week at Pioneer Nation, an international meeting of 200 entrepreneurs in Portland, Oregon. The schedule was packed full of inspirational stories, informative workshops and plenty of chances to network with other small business owners. (Photos courtesy of Chris Guillebeau and the Pioneer Nation team.) [hr_padding]

This conference was an excellent opportunity to step away from day-to-day business matters and consider the big picture, as well as some details—small actions that can yield big results. Here are two such actions that I’m planning to implement in the near term:

  1. Talk more about visual thinking as a way to understand and explain complex projects. I'd like to distill some of this philosophy into a short ebook that can be offered as a free download to web site visitors.
  2. When a project is completed I normally do a follow-up call to ask for a testimonial, write a blog post, or put together a portfolio entry. This is useful for Fat Pencil Studio. I’d like to do something more that will be useful for our clients, such as a concise case study that can be easily shared with their colleagues.
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Joshua Cohen is a principal at Fat Pencil Studio