It’s always interesting when you look back at things in hindsight and realize that one little email can have a substantial affect on your life.

In 2012, I received an email from Greg Hoy, President of Happy Cog, inviting me to the 2nd edition of an event they were holding called “Shop Talk” (which eventually was renamed Owner Camp). I didn’t know much about the event or what to expect, but the idea of spending 3 days talking with 30 other digital/creative studio owners in a round-table setting was appealing and something I had never done before. Truth is, I had no clue where it would lead…

Where the magic happens

Here’s the thing — when you have a room full of like-minded digital studio owners from across North America connecting as peers and equals and not competitors going after the same client — there’s going to be some amazing shared common ground and with that, business insight you simply can’t put a price on.

As the Owner Camp creators put it, “It’s an opportunity to share your victories and lay your fears on the table. It’s a realization you’re not alone.”

Returning home after my first Owner Camp retreat, the only way I can describe my feeling was refreshed, renewed and revived. As soon as I walked back into the Plank office, my entire team could see that something in me had shifted. I’d been running Plank since 1998, but I could safely say I was now more confident and saw my business as something that I could evolve and grow to fit my values and visions, and run Plank in a healthier and more mature manner.

Since 2012, I’ve attended 7 different Bureau of Digital events. I can now say I have a series of colleagues and friends all over North America that I can talk with, lean on and look to for advice to make myself or Plank better. I’ve even sent ½ my team to their other events — Operations Camp and Digital PM Summit.

Hotel 10 Exterior

A Canadian Twist

When I got word earlier this year that Owner Camp was going to be coming to Canada for the first time and taking place in my hometown of Montréal, I was ready to help in any way I could.

This year, I’ve taken on the role of Co-Host to help make this event unique, interesting and uniquely “Montréal”. My goal is to offer a series of Montreal experiences that attendees can share together to help build their bonds by experiencing some of the most interesting restaurants, sites and neighbourhoods in North America. We also have a special event that hasn’t been a part of any past Owner Camp, so stay tuned.

If you are considering attending an Owner Camp, here are the 5 reasons you should attend Owner Camp 012 in Montréal:

  1. Building relationships with some of the most talented people in our industry. As a by-invitation-only event, attended by a small group of people, you can be sure that you will have extensive opportunities to share off-the-record realities and learn from some of the brightest minds in digital.
  2. The benefits of being part of the Bureau of Digital Events network. I found that by the end of these retreats that I had made friends that would have a deep impact on me personally and in discovering new ways to run Plank. The Bureau of Digital also makes sure, through online tools and community building, to encourage discussions and access to a larger network of past attendees.
  3. There are some very special guests attending the Montreal event. The man behind Chicago-based Basecamp Inc. (formerly 37signals), entrepreneur and author Jason Fried will be joining us for Owner Camp 012. In addition to being a participant, he’ll be sharing his wisdom of running his company over the years, which started as a web design services agency and evolved into the software firm it is today. Attendees will also be given an exclusive overview of the new Basecamp 3.
  4. Montreal is a city like no other. Known as the most European city in North America, Montreal is the 2nd largest french speaking city in the world with hundreds of years of history. If you are a history buff, there’s Old Montreal — where you can wander around cobblestone streets and watch horse-drawn carriages. If you like to eat and enjoy cafés — you are in for a treat. Montreal is known for some of the world’s best restaurants and you will be able to start each morning with a fresh croissant.
  5. Each year, Owner Camp gets better and better. When we aren’t digging deep into the issues around running a digital studio, we will have a slew of topics and ideas that will make these 3 days your most important and inspirational days this year.

If you run a digital studio between the size of 10–75, check out the official page for the event here and apply to attend. I can’t say enough how this will be a life changing event for you.

Owner Camp 012 is going to be a great and we are really looking forward to all of the inspiring discussions and insight that will shared in Montreal. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me — I’m here to make sure this event will be special for everyone.

À bientôt! (See you soon!)


P.S. This post was also published on Medium and Linkedin.