Ann Johnston is the founder and CEO of Local-Ventures, an online company that helps small businesses discover and purchase from quality local B2B vendors. She has written about startups and startup events for ExitEvent, WRAL TechWire, and the Raleigh News & Observer.
“Do you know if Major Bull still happening at CCB Plaza?”
That was the email I sent to Joe Procopio at 5:15 PM on Thursday. It had been raining all day and was still coming down. Before I headed to Major Bull, the Paradoxos event on Thursday night, I wanted to make sure it was still going to happen.
So by 6 PM I was driving from Chapel Hill into Durham, letting 15-501 take me toward what looked like a bad scenic shot from Twister. There was a black blanket covering Durham.
I'm exaggerating slightly. But the weather was bad.
As it turns out, Durham – and the Triangle – didn't really care. When I arrived, CCB Plaza, much of which had been covered with tents, was milling with a few hundred people. There was a band on stage, several local breweries were pouring, and food trucks dotted the perimeter of the plaza. Without the Twister-esque weather, there would have been hundreds more people at the event, but there were plenty there. --Read On
People assume I live in Durham or Raleigh because that's where they usually see me. I don't. I live in Chapel Hill.
I was a UNC-Chapel Hill student when my company was conceptualized. University instructors supported me in the ideation stage of Local-Ventures, our first $8,500 was awarded through a UNC venture competition, and I found our Technical Lead through UNC contacts. But then I needed to leave campus and develop the company.
So I headed to Durham and Raleigh. It was there that I built my network and found mentors. If we were seeking funding, I would go to Durham or Raleigh to find it.
I'm one of many UNC spinout startup founders who could drive from Chapel Hill to American Underground with their eyes closed. Several have been highly successful (think iContact, Quintiles). While UNC does a great job of encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship (Chancellor Thorp himself co-taught an Introduction to Entrepreneurship course), when a startup founder leaves the confines of campus, unless she also leaves Chapel Hill, she's going to be left with few peers and little support. So we head to Durham and Raleigh.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email at 11:00pm to a business contact who I didn't know very well. I frequently send emails late at night and wasn't expecting a response for at least 12 hours.
At 11:15pm my iPhone dinged. I assumed it was eBay telling me for the 32nd time that I should use their website to sell stuff. But it was a response to my email of 15 minutes ago. How nice.
Technically, I should have titled this article “What Your 11:15pm Email Means to Me,” but that didn't sound right. And the significance isn't in the exact time of the email – that would be weird. (For the record, we did exchange a few more emails time stamped after 12:00am.)
The point is that when my iPhone dings at 11:15pm, 12:00am, or 1:30am, it tells me something about the sender that would never be communicated in an email sent during daylight hours. --Read On