The Road to Fruition: How House of Genius Started

A lot can happen with a 1,375 mile drive ahead of you. For us it’s a mother-ship of antics, red bull and candy. However, it always seems there is a three hour break to talk about the most outrageous of ideas.

That particular day, exactly which I can’t remember – was about four months ago. Collin Adair and I were talking about a huge estate we saw in the middle of nowhere. The location was off, but the looks of the property were spectacular. The estate was probably an 8,000 sq. ft. mansion with a beautiful lawn and a forest that would be perfect for paintball. After seeing this it made me think; what an awesome idea to have a bunch of people come to this place and go nuts. Paintball wars in the forest, mini-trebuchet wars on the lawn and water gun fights on the clean tile all seemed like great ideas. The idea quickly evolved into a place where people would pay room and board to come and live in a place where they could have fun all the time. Great idea, eh?

Well, we quickly thought of an even better one. We thought we should create an environment where people could come together and help each other to bring tremendous ideas to fruition. Excited about the idea, we spent the next couple of hours hashing out the details. There were a few key things we quickly identified:

  • (1) We needed to create an event where more people had the chance to participate. Most events are presentation-style format where a select few people are on stage pitching to the crowd. These events are helpful and provide value, but primarily to a select few. This style of event doesn’t lend itself to attendee contribution and participation. There needed to be a format where people could all have a voice and be an active participant.
  • (2) Networking is a delicate situation at meetups and events. In a room with 100+ people, it’s unreasonable to think someone is going to stand up and announce themselves as the perfect meet to help your goals or ventures. From our experience you’ll get to shake hands and briefly talk to the few people around you – and it’s very unlikely those people will provide much value to your ventures. We wanted to create an event that is an excellent networking vehicle. An intimate, roundtable format where you will know who each person is and what they bring to the table, making it easy to know who can and can’t help you.
  • (3) The House of Genius format provides an environment that teaches people to execute and helps them understand what their next steps could be. We felt it would help people more if they were placed in a format where they would be pushed to move on their goals. The idea is to have everyone participate, providing their insights to identify what others could and should be working to achieve results. Each participant will help others and in turn be helped.
  • (4) Introductions can be harmful. The House of Genius format brings people in and we immediately begin the session. There is no time for networking at the beginning of the event. Even though we don’t want to, we put people in “boxes” based on their background, experience and career. Lawyers in one group, developers in another and philanthropists in another. Our format leaves introductions and networking until after we run the session, which brings us to the next one.
  • (5) Take-away. Some events leave you with a huge amount of information to digest and somehow retain. How is someone supposed to remember four fifteen-minute long pitches, including all the ins-and-out and lessons to go with it? If you listen to advice from someone at the event, how do you remember everything they told you? And how many times has someone told you the name of a company, service or website to check out and you didn’t have a way to remember it? All of the dialogue from House of Genius is recorded in a mind-map format, real-time during the event. The maps are available for the attendees to take home and study, serving as a road-map of next steps as well as a rich networking tool, showing who contributed what to each topic. It is also includes links to each individual’s online presence.

We feel our format could benefit anyone, so try it out. If you’re looking to bring an idea into fruition, get advice on next steps or to help others – then House of Genius is the place. Apply to attend a House of Genius session – get out, experience something new and share it with your friends. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!

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