Be Brave: FinCon16

Hel­lo friends! I’m back in the crush­ing real­i­ty known as the real world. Every­thing seems to be just a bit dull in com­par­i­son to the amaze­balls expe­ri­ence known as Fin­Con 2016. Hav­ing been to the Chau­tauqua last year and Camp Mus­tache ear­li­er this year, I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. It was way bet­ter than I could’ve ever imag­ined.

I learned so much the past five days. I did attend a few ses­sions whilst at the con­fer­ence and some of them were incred­i­bly use­ful. I’m look­ing at you, Google Ana­lyt­ics ses­sion. Turns out, I’ve been using it all wrong so I am look­ing for­ward to being able to bet­ter under­stand the nit­ty grit­ty details of traf­fic analy­sis bet­ter. Sounds bor­ing, but it’s not. I promise.

The most impor­tant take away from the con­fer­ence wasn’t about the blog. It was learn­ing about myself.

Appar­ent­ly, I’m more on the extro­vert­ed side of the scale. Those of you who met me for the first time this week just snort­ed. It’s a slight under­state­ment. I’ve always been pret­ty out­go­ing but at events like these I tend to go all out.


For me, it’s easy to go to these things and be social. We’re all at these events for one rea­son: to meet new peo­ple. I already knew some peo­ple at Fin­Con, so 99.9% of my social anx­i­ety was removed. Walk­ing into the open­ing night mix­er was a bit daunt­ing at first, but then I spot­ted Paula and I knew I wasn’t alone. If I want­ed to go up and meet some­one, I did. I got noth­ing but pos­i­tive reac­tions and hugs, which in turn filled up my con­fi­dence buck­ets for the next greet­ing.

I col­lect­ed quite the fol­low­ing of less extro­vert­ed peo­ple. I ful­filled the role of “Intro­duc­er”. I’d go off and meet some­one new, and then they would fol­low me and I’d intro­duce them so they could meet who­ev­er I was talk­ing to. I was very hap­py to help out. I love mak­ing friends and facil­i­tat­ing the process for oth­ers!

Mrs. ONL, Tay­lor (Free­dom From Mon­ey), and J (Mil­len­ni­al Boss) were some of the peo­ple that made Fin­Con extra great for me. I loved, loved, loved get­ting to meet these won­der­ful ladies and form­ing real life friend­ships with them. We already “knew” each oth­er from the inter­net and effort­less­ly car­ried that over into the real world. I mean, they’re so cool!! How can you not like them in per­son?

Mrs. ONL, it turns out, is a total­ly laid back, chill lady. We first found each oth­er at the open­ing night mix­er when she found me and thrust her nametag out at me as a way of say­ing hi. We had a fan­tas­tic time sit­ting through ses­sions and enter­tain­ing each oth­er. If you ever get the chance to meet her in real life, DO IT. You won’t regret any­thing. Except maybe the fact your face and abs hurt from laugh­ing so much. I’ll be very excit­ed for her big reveal and retire­ment next year. You should read her recap of Fin­Con 2016. She says some embar­rass­ing­ly nice things about me 🙂

Tay­lor from Free­dom From Mon­ey and I met when she picked me up at the air­port and we went to the zoo. I picked the right per­son to go with because she has a sea­son pass and regur­gi­tat­ed the guide­book for me on our sprint through the zoo. I said I wasn’t going to be impressed by some of the ani­mals because my home­town zoo has them, but then I found myself squeal­ing over the baby giraffe and leop­ard any­ways. They were SO CUTE. Total­ly worth the walk­ing. If you go to San Diego, go to the zoo. If you can, go with Tay­lor because she knows all the best exhibits.

As a rel­a­tive­ly new blog­ger attend­ing her first event, she had yet to meet any­one from the FI com­mu­ni­ty.  I enjoyed the chance to intro­duce her around to those I knew! She is a rock­star and is only 23 years old! I have no doubt by start­ing so ear­ly she will be set for life at what­ev­er she choos­es to do.

J from Mil­len­ni­al Boss and I kind of cheat­ed. We had a Skype chat months ago so we already had met. Tech­ni­cal­ly. She was the brain­child behind the par­ty house­boat in the mari­na. I am SO GLAD we got the extra time togeth­er that came from things like run­ning into each oth­er in our sweet paja­mas and watch­ing the sun­rise togeth­er. Ok fine, she’s the one with the sweet paja­mas. Next year for Fin­Con, I’m going to get a set like hers and we will rock them togeth­er. We have a ton in com­mon (being a woman in tech gives you a lot to com­mu­nal­ly gripe about lol) and I’m look­ing for­ward to the day we’re both retired and can hang out for longer than 72 hours.

I also took the time to hang out with those I had already met. It was a care­ful bal­anc­ing act for me of deep­en­ing the rela­tion­ships I’d already formed and meet­ing as many new peo­ple as I pos­si­bly could. One of my fond­est mem­o­ries was the night most of my favorite peo­ple gath­ered around the fire and hung out for hours. Inside jokes were cre­at­ed, seri­ous advice was giv­en and many sto­ries were swapped.

If it wasn’t already obvi­ous, these rela­tion­ships are some of the most impor­tant in my life. One of the pieces of advice giv­en at the con­fer­ence was “Sur­round your­self with peo­ple you want to emu­late.” I want to be like them. The cool thing is though, they’ve already accept­ed me and told me quite clear­ly I was already one of them. As a for­mer chron­ic out­sider grow­ing up, I couldn’t be any hap­pi­er.

My net­work of peo­ple will pay off in spades. What I see as a cough drop is a life­saver to oth­ers (and no, not refer­ring to the can­dy although if some­one wants to cre­ate Life­saver cough drops I’d be game to try them). I’ve already got offers to vis­it every­one and col­lab­o­rate with them on projects. Guest post­ing, pod­cast­ing, you name it- I net­worked it this week­end.

One of those net­work­ing efforts was going to lunch with Kath­leen and Joe from the Stack­ing Ben­jamins pod­cast. It was a last minute “Hey we want to have lunch with new peo­ple so come join us in the Gaslamp Dis­trict!”. I had only the vaguest idea of who they were but I’m not going to turn down com­pan­ion­ship over food. We had the best time! All of us were mak­ing each oth­er laugh and telling the fun­ni­est sto­ries. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried, but there were def­i­nite­ly tears stream­ing down my face and into my cashew chick­en stir fry. I’m look­ing for­ward to talk­ing to them again for sure!

This post is get­ting a bit lengthy, so I’m just going to briefly men­tion some of the oth­er peo­ple I had the plea­sure of meet­ing this week. Don’t hes­i­tate to reach out to me if you’re going to be in the Mid­west or if you want to col­lab­o­rate on some­thing! If I for­got you, I am super sor­ry and meant noth­ing by it. My brain, sim­ply put, is fried.

Ok, here we go. GenY­Fi­nanceGuy, Ty from Get Rich Quick­ish, Clau­dia from Two Cup House, Pia from Mama Hus­tle, Joe from Retire By Forty, Sam from Finan­cial Samu­rai, Nick from Side Hus­tle Nation, Tonya from Beach Bud­get, the Roamer at Trav­el­ing Wal­let, the Even Stevens, Aman­da Abel­la at Make Mon­ey Your Hon­ey, the Mad Fien­tist and his love­ly wife, Jere­my from GoCur­ryCrack­er, Mr. 1500, Mindy from Big­ger Pock­ets,  Lind­say from Noto­ri­ous D.E.B.T, Thomas Frank from Col­lege Info Geek and his kick­ass girl­friend Anna, Brad from Rich­mond Savers, J. Mon­ey from Bud­gets Are Sexy, Emma Lin­coln, Noah and Becky from Mon­ey Metagame, Retire Before Dad, Chad from Coach Car­son, Jason from Phroo­gal, Liz from Fru­gal­woods, Melanie from Dear Debt, and last but cer­tain­ly not least, JD Roth from Mon­ey­Boss.

If words aren’t enough, enjoy some of my favorite pho­tos from the trip!

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28 thoughts on “Be Brave: FinCon16

  1. Ahh­hh women in tech friends! So jeal­ous of your amaz­ing adven­tures, but I know that instant-bond feel when you’re like hey, we live in this same weird bub­ble and HOW WEIRD IS IT SOMETIMES FOR REAL THOUGH. Everyone’s recap posts have me seri­ous­ly look­ing into flights to Dal­las for next year, haha.

    • You should go! They’re the best thing you can do for your­self and your blog! And, of course, I’ll be in Dal­las next year 🙂

  2. Aww, so glad that we got to meet and explore the zoo 🙂 LOL for­ev­er at my intro­vert­ed Fin­Con self. You were def­i­nite­ly a big help and it was fun to hang! Hon­est­ly, I want to write an entire post about Fin­Con and how insane­ly over­whelm­ing it is, but I think I’ll just let every­one fig­ure it out on their own, haha. Look­ing for­ward to many future hangs that are not at a con­fer­ence filled with peo­ple I don’t know haha­ha.

  3. I am so jeal­ous and can’t wait to attend next year. One of my appre­hen­sions is I am an extreme intro­vert so I would prob­a­bly be one of the cling ons that grav­i­tate towards you and the rest of the extraverts. It sounds like an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence that I hope I can attend next year.
    Mus­tard Seed Mon­ey recent­ly post­ed…Who Wants to be a Mil­lion­aire?My Profile

  4. LOL. When I left Fin­Con I felt EXACTLY like that kan­ga­roo. Hang in there, Cap’n, you’ll recov­er!

    It’s extro­vert facil­i­ta­tors like your­self that helped me get my momen­tum up and run­ning — so thanks for play­ing that role. It was a plea­sure meet­ing you and I’m look­ing for­ward to Dal­las already.
    Ty recent­ly post­ed…Review­ing Fin­Con 2016 — the Good, Bad, and UglyMy Profile

  5. You sound like the life of the par­ty, Gwen! And that’s a lot of names to drop. I hope you were wear­ing steel-toed boots as you wrote this. I kid! I kid…

    I’ll be in Dal­las next year. I’ll start the mix­er some­where near “Bill Gates” on the spec­trum. Over time (which means beers), I’ll move right up the scale next to Bill Mur­ray. I love that guy.

    Physi­cian on FIRE recent­ly post­ed…A Physi­cian Takes a Step Towards Min­i­mal­ismMy Profile

    • Let me know if you want to Skype some­time! It real­ly helped Julie and I smooth the tran­si­tion when we first met in per­son.

    • The house­boat was where it was at! I’m so glad we decid­ed to get it! It was won­der­ful to meet you as well. See you next year 🙂

  6. Real­ly awe­some stuff Gwen, I wish we could have been there. You REALLY squeezed every­thing out of Fin­con, and wow you met a lot of peo­ple! Nice job.

    I am pret­ty far on the intro­vert spec­trum, so some­where around the Bill Gates area. If I had gone I’m sure you’d have brought some extro­vert­ed­ness out of me 🙂

    Div­i­dends Down Under recent­ly post­ed…Div­i­dend update: Sep­tem­ber 2016My Profile

  7. Total­ly loved meet­ing you and hang­ing out — and now kick­ing myself for not com­ment­ing on this soon­er! You com­plete­ly made Fin­Con for me, and I can’t wait for next year. 🙂 It real­ly is super amaz­ing how open and wel­com­ing the whole com­mu­ni­ty is — I feel like I’ve known you for ages, in the best pos­si­ble way! Also, thanks for call­ing me “chill” — pret­ty sure that’s a first. 😉 Haha­haah­ha­ha­ha­ha
    Our Next Life recent­ly post­ed…How Com­bined Finances Helped Us Get to FIRE FasterMy Profile

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