With the sun setting on the first day of 2019 XI Launch Camp and the Colorado Springs mountains – our setting this week at Bear Trap Ranch – it’s difficult to believe we’ve only known each other 24 hours.

Launch Camp teams and XI staff have already quickly gelled. Over technology? Yes. About startup life? Sure. Still, the connection goes deeper, with entrepreneurs from across the U.S. and international locales bonding over personal experiences, family, hometowns and more.

Built around XI’s Six Peaks, camp kicked off Tuesday morning with lots of coffee and Betsy Brown, XI’s chief culture officer.

Using her background in psychology, Betsy shared the foundations of awareness in business and personal life. The journey to becoming a thriving leader starts within, and her proven ideas on how to self-reflect, know yourself and achieve balance offered a meaningful start to the day. Check out Betsy’s video for an awareness tip you can use today.

Camp entrepreneurs got a look inside XI as staff shared what to expect if they participate in the Accelerator. Ethan Lavin, XI’s program director, emphasized that what you put in is as important as what you get out.

“The teams that set themselves apart are the ones who push and engage with staff and mentors on an ongoing basis,” said Lavin, adding that XI continues to work with all four teams from the 2018 Accelerator. “If you’re 100 percent in, it’s easy to tell. If you’re 0 percent in, it’s easy to tell.”

Teamwork was the focus of Tuesday afternoon, when campers tackled Bear Trap’s ropes courses. Entrepreneurs leaned on each other and their expertise to work through “puzzles” that included lifting a teammate through an obstacle course made of logs and escaping the ropes spider web.

“We worked together as a team and put our heads together to see how to make something that seems really difficult work,” said camp participant Brittney. “It takes planning and focus. We learned the importance of a plan, but also being nimble and being able to adjust.”

Business and technology intelligence were in the spotlight into the evening thanks to XI mentor Jacob Harris. Cherwell Software’s director of software engineering opened his brain to Launch Camp participants, sharing his years of experience developing technology and developing ventures.

“Technology without a satisfying human need is a fad. Deliver customer satisfaction, not just an app,” he said. “As a business leader you cannot afford to not be invested in people.”

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