Jeff and Jon's Excellent Adventure

Musings on tech communities, travel, conferences, and the speaker life

Hello world! Who are these guys?

Welcome! And thanks for checking out This blog came about very suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly. In fact, in a lot of respects, it feels like it came totally out of left field. But that’s not really how it is. As with all things, there is a story behind who we are and why we are here. 

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Episode 2: It’s All About the Community (Neringa Young)

When we asked Neringa Young—principal organizer of the wildly successful Build Stuff conference in Lithuania—how she managed to extend her event to both Odessa, Ukraine, and Mallorca, Spain over the last couple years, she summed it up quite succinctly: “Well, it’s all about the community.”

We couldn’t agree more, and yet her seemingly simple answer belies something more complex and meaningful. Over the past seven-plus years, Neringa and her crew of accomplished organizers have forged a close-knit network of speakers, volunteers, and attendees to rival anything throughout the Baltics and beyond. In our conversation, we sought to learn more about her and how she got from square one to where she is today.

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Episode 1: Starting Something New (Nate Taylor / Brian Pope)

What happens when you want to start something entirely new for your community? How do you come to the decision to tackle such an undertaking? Where do you even begin?

In our first full episode of The Excellent Adventure Show, we examine these questions and many more with Nate Taylor and Brian Pope. These two guys from Omaha, Nebraska, are planning the first iteration of Connectaha—a technology conference aiming to connect people across different technology stacks and different technical roles in order to raise up an entire community.

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The Excellent Adventure Show: Episode 0

Okay! Time for us to embark on an entirely new kind of adventure! Starting this week, we are going to be producing a video series and podcast. Our goal is to have informal conversations with community leaders and event organizers around the world to see what makes their communities tick.

Over the twelve months since Jeff first jokingly invoked the #JeffAndJonsExcellentAdventure hashtag, we have had many conversations about what this whole “adventure” is all about. The answer surprises some people. Because for us, it all comes down to community. Our adventure is not specifically about the places we go or the events where we speak. It is the people.

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Tackling Adversity: Mentorship

This is part two of a four-part series about adversity and how we surmount difficult challenges. Last time, I described the need to develop the ability to engage in objective assessment of both ourselves and the difficult professional and personal situations that we encounter. Assessment, however, is only the first step. As a general rule, humans are social beings. While many of us crave quiet moments and “alone time,” it is not in most people’s nature to remain solitary all of the time.

Yet, when we find ourselves in those moments of fear and inaction—times when we feel like we have to start over and have no idea where to begin—too many among us withdraw. Rather than seeking help from our friends and our peers, our instincts may cause us to feel that we are completely alone.

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Tackling Adversity: Objectivity

This post will be the first of a four-part series about overcoming adversity. Over the years, I have experienced my fair share of struggles—as all people have done—in both my professional and personal life. In recent months, I have spent some time engaged in reflection upon various challenges and the means through which I have attempted to overcome them.

I am certainly neither a psychologist nor a therapist. However, I have observed that there are four broad categories of skills that many people, myself included, use successfully to get from point A to point B when facing obstacles, both big and small. In this Tackling Adversity series, I will address each of these skills and provide real-world examples of how I have seen them used to make a difference.

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