Happy Startup Stories from Dream Valley: #5 Jon Markwell

The fifth in our series of stories from Alpselerator, a week-long startup experiment in the mountains of Morillon.

By Carlos Saba, Co-founder of The Happy Startup School

In the middle of October 2015 we took 6 teams out to Morillon in the French Alps on an experiment to see whether the mountains could help us accelerate our ideas.

The theory was that by being together in an inspirational setting with likeminded, driven people, we could make much more progress than if we just worked separately in our offices back in the UK (more about what we did over that week here).

Jon Markwell, founder of the Skiff co-working space in Brighton, came out with us to work on his own project WorkSnug. We’d discussed the idea of Alpselerator with Jon when it was only at the concept stage (only a couple months earlier). And so it was great to have him out with us at the real event.

Watch the interview with Jon here (2:39 mins):

Or read the transcript below:

Who are you?
I’m Jon. I’m a business owner, I’m an occasional sailor and I like doing business in adventurous places.

Why are you here?
I’m here to have a week focussed on practicing what I preach, which is building a product. This time it looks like it’s going to be a book and so I’ll be doing quite a bit of writing and quite a bit of thinking. And I’ll be doing this while being surrounded by other people making great things.

What has shaped you?
One thing that has shaped me has been accidentally creating a co-working space out of my failed agency. This was done by building a community of people and inviting other communities of people to share a space. The purpose of the space is to be a clubhouse and to be a place to work which is different to working from home. Seeing how much a community of people can do when they’re given just enough structure, freedom and resources to do the things they want to do has really shaped me.

What are you proud of?
I’m really proud of sticking with the Skiff, this co-working space and community I created, and pushing through some challenging times. By treating it enough like a business it has been able to survive and is now very unlikely to ever be stopped.

Being part of the Happy Startup tribe
What inspired me to be part of the Happy Startup Community was the feeling that I had, and everyone around me had, at the end of Summercamp 2014 . There’s a common feeling that brought everyone together there then and brings everyone together at other Happy Startup events. I see lots of opportunities to learn new things and also to share my experience with people that are at different stages with different kinds of businesses.

Find out more about the teams

The Alpselerator teams were, in no particular order:

Also thanks to Rorie, Kate and Chalet Badney for our wonderful home for the week.


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