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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

40,000 Miles, 18 Layovers, 8 People, 6 Projects, 5 Days, 1 Stingray And 1 Mansion

This past week, my colleague and friend, Antonio Neves, and I conducted the first ever Ignition Lab. It was a 5-day retreat/workshop nestled in a mansion that sat atop a cliff off the Nicaraguan coast in a town called, San Juan Del Sur.

  1. Stingrays like feet; One of our participants got hit by a stingray in her foot when we were surfing. Getting stung by a stingray is also known as, “One of the most painful things you can experience in life.”

  2. The entire internet and cell service went out in the town the day the participants were going to arrive. We had no way of communicating with anyone.

  3. “You must have a 4-wheel-drive car” was told to us the day we got there, after we picked up our non 4-wheel-drive car. Subsequently, as our tire was slowly losing air, we happened to be with someone who knew of the only person in town who could fix our tire. He did.

  4. Activities went a lot longer than we had thought so we constantly had to move our schedule around and get feedback from the group to see what they were feeling and what they wanted most.This leads me to the next lesson learned: You Can’t Solve A Business Problem If You Don't Know What Your Potential Clients Consider A Problem It’s not what you think, it’s what they think. Through all the multiple businesses that were presented: design, art/social movement, non-profit, market research, travel/video, and coaching, one theme that came up time and time again was, “How can you test the assumptions you have as soon as possible?” Just because you think an idea is good, doesn’t mean that the people who are going to engage you on your product or project do too. Conduct surveys, interview people, ask; do whatever you have to do to get any type of feedback on the idea that you have. Of course that is what the Ignition Lab was all about: feedback and support. So what was the biggest roadblock for the group immediately became its biggest asset. If you’re afraid to get feedback it might be because you don’t feel worthy enough or good enough to ask. Here’s a secret: you are good enough. You don’t need permission to be curious.

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