Cultivate 2014

Do any of us take enough time to stop and think?

To connect with someone new?

To push our comfort zone and challenge ourselves with new knowledge, ideas, or ways of thinking?

Many of us talk about taking that moment to step away from the day-to-day grind. The importance of this exercise really matters – most of us understand it, and have some idea on why we should do it – but it’s difficult for us is to actually practice it amidst the many demands of daily life and work.

As humans, we need time to step away and see how far we’ve come, to reflect on what we’ve learned, to connect with others, and to refresh and energize ourselves with ideas and knowledge that can advance ourselves individually and, in turn, collectively advance our society.

For me, I Cultivate.

Each year our team at Arthur Ventures hosts an event called Cultivate in Downtown Fargo, ND to live out our core value of community. At Cultivate, we take that step away from our busy schedules for reflection and learning which we often find so difficult to do. I anticipate with excitement (and an appropriate level of fear) this event that has now become a foundational element of Arthur Ventures, but, more importantly, of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists here in Fargo and across the Great Plains. Cultivate is intended to connect our partner companies, our investors, and anyone who is passionate about technology, the future, and innovation with one another for a couple of days of learning and networking.

Why Cultivate?

I have a deep-seeded belief that the foundation of a strong society is based on a few fundamental elements, which include: free markets, the rule of law, and the ability to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation. The spark of society that we all owe the noblest cause to is the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are doers, and Cultivate is intended to celebrate them and the ideals they stand for in every facet that we can. So each spring we at Arthur Ventures will continue to invite our partners, our friends, and our communities that we live/work/play in to collectively celebrate the power of entrepreneurship and innovation.

As I reflect back on what I learned this year at Cultivate, the one thing that most strongly resonated with me was the panel led by the Infusionsoft team on the importance of culture in building a business. Infusionsoft is a partner company that truly has embraced culture as a strategic and competitive advantage in building a business. For the earlier-stage partner companies that attended this event the thread between both Infusionsoft and Avalara (who are much further along in their growth cycles) on the importance of culture provided an interesting road map on the most important elements in building a successful business.

As my partner, Doug, mentioned during the conference, often the difference between greatness and something less than that is overcoming the human factors of building businesses. Culture is such a fundamental aspect of successful businesses at any level whether you have 5 employees or 5,000. We will continue to cultivate new ideas on how to foster the right cultures to attract, retain, and build capacity in entrepreneurial ventures and I encourage anyone reading this blog to share ideas with the community on what works in fostering successful business cultures and what doesn’t.

At Arthur Ventures we will continue to focus internally on building and strengthen our culture while also working hard to foster a values-based culture in our broader community. Please check out this great piece that was assembled by a group of local entrepreneurs – Grass Fire Studios!

We hope this gives you a flavor of what Cultivate is, and what we strive to continue to build. For those who attended – thank you! You are part of the fabric that makes this all possible and we hope to see you all again next year!