Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“What it means to be a 100state member”

by Andrew Conley, Executive Director

100state members have their eyes and minds open, are looking to be involved in the community, and know how to take initiative. People like this are intrinsically on the search for people and places that help support their purpose. What 100state has done is give them those people and that place: a place that inspires collaboration and creates connections to unleash each member’s potential.

Members at a town hall meeting

We are a group of creators, too. We want to create the best place to live, work and play. We attract people who are searching for a purpose larger than themselves. People who know that giving back is important. They are looking to create value and instigate change that will have a profound effect on the world. At 100state, we know that the journey to create truly sustainable change is arduous, and that’s why you need a village of people to support you along the way.

100state is nearing one and half years old. (If we were human, that would mean we can run and walk, but we’re still sleeping 11 - 13 hours a day.) The journey thus far has been a learning process, and we know that the road ahead is full of challenges, but what makes 100state strong is that we are in this together.  One of our members, Laura Ash, was able to articulate her feelings better than I can about 100state:

“...You have built a community of dreamers that needed other dreamers to dream with. It's bigger than you, or me. It's about possibility, creation, and freedom….”

We are a tight knit group that are willing to help each other out. One member’s success is a success for all of 100state. The more each member is successful, the more successful our community is as a whole.

Attendees at a problem-solving soiree

At the heart of 100state are the members, who do a lot. We throw innumerable events, help people start startups, brainstorm to solve local problems, work on projects, teach, mentor, share ideas, and try to spread our culture, among others.  

100state is built on values that define the culture that resonates through our walls. When we invite people to become members, they’re agreeing to adhere to our code of conduct and core values:

1. People First.
People are what matter. When the right people come together, great things happen.

2. Community is our greatest asset.
The people around us influence our lives. We recognize it, and so should you.

3. Win - Win - Win.
Truly great projects benefit everyone. We look for that in every project we undertake.

4. Collaboration over competition.
Collaboration creates value; competition divides it.

5. Built on trust.
Good relationships are built on trust. 100state is built on relationships. Trust is key.

6. Be positive.
Negativity kills creativity.

7. Appreciate honesty. Expect nothing less.
Teamwork is hard, and communication is key. Even if it hurts, appreciate it.

8. Be courageous. Follow your passion.
What ends up lasting and inspiring is what started with passion and courage.

100state did not start the entrepreneurial scene in Madison, but we’re adding to it by attracting talented people and keeping them in Madison. A lot of work was done before we even started. Madison was already forming a strong entrepreneurial density that we are helping expand. We hope to continue to grow Madison’s community as a whole, then the region’s, and then the world’s. To do that, we have to collaborate.

100state is built to serve people of all backgrounds, all ages, and all entrepreneurial experiences to come together to share ideas and collaborate to create value for the for themselves and for everyone.  We hold our members to a high standard. They believe in our values and in the power of our community. And we hope that these values are reflected throughout all of Madison.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to join 100state in 5 easy steps

by Kelsey Gockenbach

So, you’re thinking about joining the hottest new non-profit in Madison but not sure what it entails? Maybe you’ve come to one of their many events, heard about them through a friend or stumbled upon them in the news and they’ve peaked your interest. As a freshly minted member of 100state, I feel qualified enough to lead you through the process.

Step one: decide to join!
I had known about 100state for several months and attended some events on the periphery before I decided to join. But before making the jump, I made a couple of my friends and members pitch a 100state membership to me. Using my best impression of Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street, I asked them “Why should I join? What would I get out of it?” (a.k.a. “Sell me this pen.”) There were a few reasons that made me want to be an official member.

First of all, just by joining 100state you are taking an active role in bettering our community. 100state is focused on improving life in Madison and beyond through innovation, new ideas and collaboration. By just paying your dues every month, you are supporting our community. You can consider it a donation to improving Madison.The altruist in me fell for this aspect right away, that at the end of the day, no matter how much or how little time I put in, I was still contributing.

Secondly, it is a perfect way for me to put my time to good use outside of my day job, and provides me opportunities to meet new people, get involved with cutting-edge projects and add value to my own life. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if my skill set would be a good fit for 100state. My first impression of 100state was that it was just a co-working space for entrepreneurs of a technological inclination. I am neither an entrepreneur nor a software developer/engineer/coder. But, I learned that there are all types of members at 100state from ages 16-85, in vastly different industries. There is a large entrepreneurial contingent to 100state, but there are also full time professionals who are looking to get involved in some cool projects outside of their daily routine.

Whatever your background, there is a way for you to benefit from being a member at 100state.

Mike Fenchel blowing minds

Step two: apply!
The application is fairly straightforward. You can find it here. There are some basic information questions, multiple choice questions and two long-form questions. The two open-ended questions, “what’s your story?” and “Why do you want to join us?” give you a chance to open up about yourself, tout your accomplishments and share your goals.

The other questions ask you basic things like how you heard about 100state, what your general interests are, etc. The only part I found slightly confusing was the “power levels” section where you are asked to rank yourself from 1 to 5 (1=beginner, 5=awesome) in several categories including “community,” or “ideation”. These qualifiers were a little perplexing at first, but I ranked myself the best I could, mostly landing in between beginner and awesome except for a couple outliers (I’m looking at you, “initiative,” - never my strongest trait).

Step three: Interview!
At the end of the application you will pick the best time to set up an interview. You can either meet during the day, or for us 9-5ers there are times available until 8pm in the evening.

Mike or Andrew, the co-directors, will get back to you quickly to set up an “interview”. I use interview in quotations because it really is just a conversation and a way to get to know you instead of a formal, bring-four-copies-of-your-resume style interview. It literally says, “dress however” on the application, and they mean it. In your interview with either Andrew or Mike, you will be asked questions like “how will you contribute to the community at 100state?” and “what do you hope to get out of your membership?” I think the most important question though was “What are you passionate about?” Above all else, 100state is looking for passionate members. It doesn’t exactly matter what you are passionate about as long as you are passionate about something. (Except serial killing. If you’re passionate about serial killing please seek professional help.) This is the one common thread amongst the diverse members of 100state: passion.

Also, in my interview, Mike told me about a few projects going on at 100state that could be up my alley, and gave me a few ideas for how I could get involved, like writing for the 100state blog (wink).  

Step four: Get set up!
Soon after your interview you will be notified via email whether or not you would be a good fit for 100state. If you are approved, you will have two membership options- a standard membership, which costs $50/month, includes use of the 100state workspace, invitations to events, your picture and bio on the site and receiving snail mail at 100state. With the premium membership ($100/month) you also get the ability to reserve conference rooms, a key for 24/7 access to the space among other perks. Also, any member can request an email address. It is completely up to you which level of membership will work best for you.

After you officially sign up and submit your first month’s dues, you will receive an email with a list of tips and tricks to help you get set up at 100state. This includes joining the he 100things to do calendar, setting up your profile on and much more.

Step five: One of us! One of us!
After all the housekeeping stuff is out of the way, you will get paired with a mentor. This will be an experienced member of 100state who knows all the ins and outs and is there to help you get comfortable, make introductions with people they think you could work well with and generally be your point of contact if you have any questions. The mentor/mentee program is just starting out but I personally think it is a great idea as new members may not know exactly how to jump in to the 100state community.

Another good way to start is to pick an upcoming event and dive right in. For me it was the transportation problem solving soiree last week, which ended up being really fun. Also, there are members’-only town hall meetings every month where members meet to discuss what everyone’s working on, the state of 100state, and to meet new members.

And that’s it! Now you are a fully integrated member of this cool community of forward thinkers. At 100state you get out what you put in- you aren’t obligated to anything, and can be as involved as you like. Now get out there and do something awesome!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A first-timer at TEDx Madison by Kelsey Gockenbach

Only a few things are worth giving up a June...before it gets deliriously hot and humid. TEDx Madison is definitely one of those things.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the Bartell Theater was a palpable buzz. Everyone there was excited: for the speakers, and for the opportunity to be a part of TED, a name that has become synonymous with innovation and forward thinking. I was pretty sure I would end the day a better, more enlightened person than I was when I woke up.

There were a little over 100 attendees (TED only allows TEDx events to sell 100 tickets to keep the independently organized events intimate) in the Bartell theater, and unlike what you would usually expect at 9amon a Saturday, everyone tried to sit as close to the front as possible, engaged and ready.  

I won’t bother giving play-by-play recaps of each of the talks- I would never be able to do them justice. However, each talk will soon be up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. I will say, though, that every.single.presentation was either thought provoking, taught me something new or energized me. Most often they did all three.

Although all of the talks were on vastly different subjects, from bikes as a tool for social change to what it means to be a hipster, there were certain themes that ran through the day. A few speakers even circled back to points made by the previous presenters. A move that showed it wasn’t only paying ticket-holders who were learning something new in that theater.

Both Becky Splitt of Study Blue and Elizabeth Katt-Reinders of the Clean Lakes Alliance made a call for cooperation and connections instead of competition. Becky advocated a “we vs. me” attitude, and the value of sharing knowledge as a tool for success in school. We learned that the one-person study carrels (read: cages) at the UW Madison Memorial Library are not only terrifying, but ineffective for students who should be working together instead of competing against each other.

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders had us re-examine how we define our allies, and that what at first may seem like a competing interest could actually be a connection you didn’t realize was there. Who knew your ice cream had so much in common with Lake Mendota?

Jordan Ellenberg, UW Mathematics Professor and author sang the praises of the phrase “I don't know,” and taught us that not only is uncertainty OK, that it is many times the only correct answer. While David Maraniss, Pulitzer prize winner and associate-editor at The Washington Post taught us how to find truth, and to accept the contradictions and uncertainties in all of us.

The other goal of TEDx is to create a dialogue among the attendees and speakers, to meet someone you wouldn’t have crossed paths with elsewhere, and to learn something new from a fellow audience member. There were plenty of opportunities to meet other attendees, as well as a structured speed networking exercise which consisted of about 25 minutes of 2 minute conversations as you moved down the line of people shaking hands and introducing yourself. It forced me to think of new ways to ask “So what do you do?” I briefly met other TEDx attendees who were involved with everything from psychology research at UW to Improv to the WI Dept. of Agriculture.

At the end of the day, we all came over to 100state for beers (it wouldn’t be a summer day in Wisconsin without a cold beer), cupcakes and a chance to chat with everyone and wind down. At this point, I think everyone was ready to relax in a more casual atmosphere. At one point, a group of nine got stuck in the infamous 100state elevator for an hour, but were greeted by a cheering crowd when they finally made it up to the fourth floor. They are now affectionately known as the E-9 team.

TED and their independently organized events, are not only about hearing brilliant individuals speak about their passions, but also to immerse yourself in an intimate intellectual community where everyone else shares the same motivation as you- an interest in new ideas, a desire to make their community a better place, and an eagerness to broaden their minds.

‘Til next year, TEDx Madison!

Monday, February 3, 2014

96square Reciprocal Membership

96square is a great coworking and community space in Milwaukee. We've worked with them in organizing a couple great MKE/Madison events over the past couple months. (Field trip #1, field trip #2) One of the outcomes of these events was an idea to let our members be their members and vice versa. So, that's happening. As a member of 100state, you're now welcome to use 96square if you're ever in Milwaukee. Just email them on your way over: