Happy Friday, 

I hope you have all had a nice week, gotten outside, and moved around a little bit. 

We have had some interesting developments over the past few days that I would like to share with you all. Currently, the one occupying most of our time is the nearing finals round of the InNOLEvation Challenge. It’s all going down on Friday, March 5th at approximately 9-11am. It has come to my attention recently that there will be a dinner held for the winning team at the Seminole Champions Club which if I’m not mistaken is the restaurant and bar at the top of the stadium. Now that I know there is some food involved, I don’t think we are allowed to lose. I have passed by the stadium at night sometimes and seen the place lit up. I have always wanted to go. 

Will and I are working on the two final pieces of this competition. First is the Executive Summary. I have been practicing my writing in all of the online classes I have taken over the past year, the weekly blogs I have assigned myself for the past 8 weeks, and more. You’d think I should have a pretty easy time writing up a one page synopsis of the business. Unfortunately that is not the case. I have found it harder to write short pieces than long ones. I think there is a quote about that very paradox. I guess writing something concise, convincing, and short is a difficult combination. This should be done before Monday, and then we will be doubling down on our Final Pitch. We are really only adjusting certain aspects of our semi-finals pitch, but I personally think this time around we will be able to do a much better job at selling not only our product and business, but the feasibility and future that this venture has. I really do think that is the bread and butter of the first prize. Being able to convince the judges that this money will be going to good use in a successful and well thought out business will mean victory. I do think Will and I have the potential to win. I hope we can share a selfie from the top of the stadium next week.

This competition has occupied a lot of our time and energy over the past few weeks, so when it’s all said and done we will be free to work on some of the other projects that have been left on the back burners for some time. A lot of that is really ramping up our game in the digital arena. I think in order to find success as a primarily ecommerce business we need to find some traction online. Unfortunately our traction has not been exponential as I might often dream, but I am grateful that we are consistently growing across all platforms week over week. I have made some exciting new connections with an incoming Jim Moran College student, and Long Island based entrepreneur who is making surfboard bags out of hemp material. I am hoping to also get some video work done for our products as well as maybe even working on an app… That’s a little more speculative, and we would have to really need the validation before sinking time and energy into development. It could be something worth exploring though. One other exciting new connection that I forgot to mention is that I have begun conversations with Tallahassee's own Office of Economic Development. We are really looking for some guidance and perspective on how to plan for growth in terms of manufacturing, process automation, and developing our supply chain. Will and I don’t expect to be pushing the limits of our capacity in the very near future, but we also don’t want to be caught on our a**es if it does happen. I think it is such an incredible resource  for the city of Tallahassee, and I know that we will benefit from its existence at some point in the near future. 

I am upset with myself for not trying to frame this into the three-part story telling framework provided by Aristotle, but I sort of felt like dumping instead of creating. Hope that’s alright with you. Let’s shoot for an Aristotlian masterpiece next week. With a selfie from the top of the stadium. 

Enjoy your weekend. Get outside and get some sunshine. Especially for my people up North. 

- Jon

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