Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) Hawaii A Success!

Written on Sep 20 2012









How many organizations out there think and behave like GOAP?

Geeks on a Plane, or GOAP (hashtag #GOAP on Twitter) is organized by 500 Startups. GOAP is an invite-only tour for startups, investors, and executives to learn about burgeoning technology markets worldwide.

Filled with collaborative personalitises all looking to learn and grow, I always look forward to the opportunity to spend time with peers and heros of the tech startup world in exotic locations.

A few people wrote to me and asked, ‘What do you do there?’ Having just returned from GOAP Hawaii, I’ve felt compelled to share the experience for those that aren’t already familiar.

So here it goes…

The (un)conference is more like a gaggle of geeks traveling together in search of potential investments, businesses opportunities, and/or solutions to problems within their existing businesses. Personally, I feel I get the chance to walk away smarter, with feedback on both our business and strategy from ‘been there, done that’ folks. Plus, you’ll expand your rolodex in a week faster than you could anywhere else.

I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for both Dave McClure, co-founder of the event, and his organization, 500 Startups. There’s a huge amount of intangible value extracted from an experience like #GOAP that can’t be explained or summarized here. Yet, they get that.

In this world where everything has to be measurable, Dave and Co. find it worth their time to hop on a plane with a group of techies (of any caliber) and travel to new destinations in search of discovery and opportunity. That’s awesome.

How many industries out there in desperate need of change could benefit from this type of exercise? I think there’s huge power in shifting thought leaders from a broadcast type environment (standing up in-front of a convention center) to one where friendships, business partnerships, and real work can be established.

We’re headed into an era where we’ve got to make do with less. GOAP recognizes that the most valuable information from attendees can probably be found on their blog. There’s plenty of great information out there that’s easy to access.

However, we’re all overloaded with communications from the slew of virtual tools we use. I’ve always said relationships can be nurtured virtually, but should be sown in a physical presence.

GOAP is the antidote to the boring conference that delivers no ROI. It’s the model that gets rid of the static conference room, and instead delivers real outcomes with potential customers, business partners, or even investment.

What industries should adopt the GOAP model, and where should they head next?


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