Whenever I'm about to do something new, I try to minimize expectations. That allows me to keep an open mind and be pleasantly surprised.
I am thrilled to be going to New Orleans on Wednesday as part of the NOLABound program, and I know it will be a trip of a lifetime. Even so, I'm trying not to get carried away with "expectations" and simply remain open to new experiences and ways of thinking.
One of my professors recently taught that Happiness = Reality - Expectations, so hopefully my method will bring some happiness too.
But if I said that I hadn't been thinking about my trip for weeks now, I'd be a liar. Anyone who's spent some time around me must have heard me saying "Nawlins," "crawfish," "alligator," and "gumbo" an inappropriate number of times. I'm really curious to hear the accent (if any) for myself and maybe pick up a phrase or two of local slang. I want to know which New Orleans stereotypes are true and which are overhyped. It's true that as a francophile I'm looking forward to checking out the French Quarter, the French food, and the French music. Bien oui! And it's true that as a newbie jazz fan, I'm looking forward to some real musical education and hearing what music the locals are into.
I'm also really looking forward to seeing how I can personally help the New Orleans entrepreneurial scene grow and thrive, using perhaps some lessons I've picked up from my time in Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach to help Silicon Bayou (still not sure how I feel about all those names). I know what trends have been hot in California, and I'm curious to see what the scene and people are like in New Orleans.
Specifically, I'm curious about what the lean start-up trend has meant for New Orleans start-ups and how the general entrepreneurial process compares. I'm curious about what industries/spaces/problems are hot, which start-up resources are plentiful, and which are missing. I'm also very interested in how New Orleans views the (tech) world, and if it suffers a little of the same Silicon Valley envy that Los Angeles unfortunately suffers from (constantly comparing itself to its northern cousin). I think each city should emphasize its strengths and unique taste of entrepreneurship, and I hope to discover what that is in New Orleans (and what Los Angeles stands learn from New Orleans!).
Most of all, I'm looking forward to bonding with my NOLABound tripmates and exchanging ideas and experiences. We're all so different and come from such diverse walks of life, and yet I can already tell from our conversations over the past week (on Twitter) that we all share something common to entrepreneurs: a positive attitude and a desire to learn, explore, and help others. I can't wait for Wednesday!