Written by Gerald Aungst.
“Everyone attending wants to be part of inventing the future, and that’s a thrilling thing to experience.” — Aaron Price (Founder & CEO, Propeller)
You stare at the event agenda on your mobile phone, trying to decide which way to go next. To your left is the Stage of Wisdom, where a lineup of incredible guest speakers awaits, ready to share their vast experience and visionary outlook of the future with you. To your right is the Stage of Inspiration, where you will encounter thought-provoking discussions that will challenge you to think outside the box, and help you to make your own ideas fly. All in all, you will receive insights, inspiration, and advice from over 45 innovative speakers.
You suddenly realize how much you have already gotten for your $139.99 General Admission ticket, and there’s still much more to see and do. You almost feel guilty for paying so little to get in. But that thought passes quickly as the next person walks by you and gives you a high five.
You stand still in the middle of the field, giddy at the countless choices available to you at Propeller, trying to wrap your mind around exactly what you’re experiencing. On one hand, it has elements of a conference. But it also feels like a casual meetup, with thousands of new connections to make with awesome people trying to do awesome things in the world. And it’s all so much fun — there’s food, competitions, and a gorgeous view of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.
You realize that this event can’t be categorized. It is yours to own, making it whatever you want it to be. Whatever you need it to be. Your next choice will determine what kind of adventure you have today.
If you choose the Stage of Inspiration, turn to page….
If you choose the Stage of Wisdom, turn to page….
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Thankfully, those who come from all over the Northeast to attend Propeller on May 20, 2016, on Pier A in Hoboken, NJ, won’t have to choose. They can have it all. Connections, inspiration, knowledge, and thousands of high fives to go around — all of it while having an incredible amount of fun.
What, Why, and Why Now?
If you choose the future of networking, turn to page…
Propeller is the most recent expression of an addiction with long roots in the tech world. “I started the NJ Tech Meetup to serve my own startup addiction,” says Propeller founder and CEO Aaron Price (@APstartup). In the six years since the Meetup’s launch, Price has seen how its 5,500 members use the network to stay positive and maintain forward momentum.
“Idle ideas don’t fly.” This is the core of Propeller. “A great idea is like an airplane on a runway. But without a propeller it goes nowhere.” Price wants entrepreneurs to learn one of the hard lessons he learned early on: what makes the difference between merely a great idea and a great business.
“The difference between success and failure is one’s ability to propel oneself forward.” — Aaron Price
With Propeller, Price hopes to bring together an even larger group by connecting multiple networks, across the tri-state area, and enabling them to bolster, support, and propel each other to do great things. “There’s a much bigger opportunity to address not just how the world has changed with technology,” he says, “but how the career choice of entrepreneurship is really taxing and how these groups are really critical to the success of entrepreneurship.”
Propeller is a whole new iteration on what it means to connect. Price wants attendees to be able to push through their boundaries and experience how technology has changed our world. With Propeller, he has merged the best elements from meetups, conferences, and concert events to create a unique experience.
This is not just about connecting people who already run in the same circles. “What makes us different is that we’re looking to unite all of the different communities around the region in a unique venue, and in a unique way, to create a unique experience for everyone.”
But why now? Price sees this as an amazing time for the region. There is a critical mass of visionaries, innovators, and investors, and by bringing them together in one place, Price believes something explosive will happen. “The time has come for the Northeast to get an event of its own,” Price says. “We’re in a unique position to authentically bring that to life. We’re not event planners: we’re entrepreneurs, and we have the street cred to bring something big.”
And others are hungry for this too. One email from Price generated over a hundred enthusiastic volunteers, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, to help produce Propeller. “I was expecting support, but not nearly the amount of passion and enthusiasm, and that’s been an amazing thing to experience. I wish I had shared this with people sooner.”
What to expect as an attendee
If you choose to join over 5,000 other people who want to propel themselves, turn to page…
Propeller has an enormous and still growing lineup of more than 45 speakers for their two stages. Selected for their ability to inspire and educate, the list includes thought-leaders such as Gary Vaynerchuck, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Best-Selling Author, James Altucher, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Author, Marcus Weldon, President and CEO of Bell Labs; Nsi Obotetukudo, cofounder and COO of Alley; and Jenny Fielding, Managing Director of Techstars.
But Propeller is not a sit-and-get conference. Attendees will also interact personally with the cutting-edge technology they’ve been hearing so much buzz about. They will be able to participate in a Human Digital Orchestra by Bell Labs, experience Oculus Rift, audio virtual reality presented by Audible, watch an exciting drone-racing competition by licensed pilots, and kick back in the Xbox Gaming Zone presented by Red Bull.
Perhaps most important, though, is the opportunity for attendees to connect and interact with thousands of other entrepreneurs, innovators, influencers, marketers, designers, and investors from all over the Northeast. They’ll have a buffet of networking opportunities to choose from including the Propeller Startup Competition hosted by Techstars and Newark Venture Partners, VC Speed Dating, the Alley Coworking Lounge, and the Jet Bar & Recruitment Lounge where recruiters from Jet and Audible will be on hand to discuss career opportunities at both companies.
And even most-er important than connecting is the opportunity to have some fun along the way. Lots of food and drink options, high fives everywhere, and a spectacular live music concert in the evening, will round out the amazing day.
Four Takeaways from Propeller 2016
If you choose to grow from your experience, turn to page…
People will leave Propeller better than they came. “If we can have people walk away feeling inspired and educated and motivated to propel themselves forward, I would consider that a success,” says Price. He says everyone at Propeller will take home with them four things:
3. High Fives
All four come together to create hope and enthusiasm in attendees, and also to give them substantive things they can experience and try in their personal lives to propel their game. Price puts it this way: “I’ve been the founder who has been filled with doubt, maybe borderline depressed, and I know how real the struggle of entrepreneurship is. I think these kinds of events, everything from the small meetups to an event of this scale, are an absolutely critical part of the community process that makes entrepreneurship successful and gratifying.”
This is Just the Beginning
Your heart races as you return home after Propeller, wondering what could possibly top the experience….
For Aaron Price, this event is just the beginning of the potential of Propeller, and he hopes you will join him on this journey. It is not just a one-time event. Propeller is a new way of thinking about connections. “I see Propeller as a media company that happens to have an event, but not an events company. This first year event brings together a lot of the vision in real life. We will absolutely continue to put out compelling content online, some virtual and real live events throughout the year.”
Propeller’s core mission is to unite the innovators of the northeast and to empower everyone to participate in creating the future. Price sees the big celebration growing exponentially in just a few years. “In 3 years,” Price says, “can we get a hundred thousand people to show up for three days or a week with significantly more programming?”
Price is clearly onto something, and being given the opportunity to choose your own entrepreneurial adventure with Propeller is breathtaking.
If you choose to go along for the ride, give yourself a high five!