Social Startup Savant to Share Insights

Joel Gascoigne

If you’re serious about social media, whether for your business or “personal brand,” you know about Buffer, and you very likely use it. More than 1.2 million people and companies use Buffer to manage over 2 million social media posts each week.

(I’ve been using it since early 2011, mostly when I find too many cool links to share and don’t want to barrage people with them all at once.)

The company’s co-founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne is in Hawaii, and on Thursday, he will speak and answer questions about online marketing, running a startup, productivity and personal development.

The self-described “startup guy and full stack hacker turned CEO” leads a team of 31 at Buffer, blogs regularly about his professional and personal journey, travels, speaks, and offers one-on-one advice to help people with their own startups.

Gascoigne studies and implements the latest and best practices at Buffer, which is run by a fully distributed team spread across 22 cities around the world. And it is this flexibility that has allowed him to be a “digital nomad” for the last three months. Indeed, his time in Hawaii is the longest he is staying put after bouncing through nine other cities since January.

“I feel like there’s so much to see, and I want to explore more while I’m (somewhat) young and single and have the flexibility,” he writes. “Not only is it already rare to be a digital nomad, it felt less common still to be a digital nomad as part of a larger team with VC funding.”

By traveling around the world with nothing more than a bag, while still running a company, Gascoigne said he hoped he could share his experiences and the things he learned to serve as an example of how it could be possible for others.

“I had a chance to experience some absolutely incredible sights,” he recalls, from visiting temples in Korea to surfing in Sydney. “I’m very aware how lucky I am to experience all of this. Many days I wake up and can’t quite believe it.”

As exciting as his travels were, though, he says he did sometimes experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. As he explored ways to adjust and improve, Hawaii ended up being a key part of the next phase of his journey.

“Most of these three months were short-term travel,” he writes. “Since then, I’ve been living in Hawaii for the last month and a half… I’ve found my flow and had some of my most productive weeks both on Buffer and with my exercise routine.”

He says he made a concerted effort to meet new people, and build some longer term friendships.

“I’ve met people who I’ve hung out with several times and hope some may become lifelong friends,” he adds. “This, for me, is what traveling is all about.”

Honolulu business people and entrepreneurs can now benefit from his newfound passion for socializing at this week’s a “fireside chat” (offered with the disclaimer that “there probably won’t be an actual fire”). Gascoigne will share how he took Buffer from an idea to revenue in seven weeks, to an “unconventional” $3.5 million funding round last year. He’ll also talk about bootstrapping, lean startup strategies, fundraising, and transparency.

And after the official talk and Q&A, the organizers say, “there’s a good chance we’ll take the show on the road for some pau hana nearby, so you’ll have a chance to get to know everybody better.”

The event will take place on Thursday, June 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the BoxJelly coworking space in Kakaako (307 Kamani Street).

Tickets are available online for $10 (plus $1.54 Eventbrite fee), with all proceeds going to support Purple Maiʻa, a non-profit group advancing technology and maker education rooted in Hawaiian ancestral knowledge.

Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich

Photo courtesy Joel Gascoigne on Flickr and Buffer on Facebook.

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