My pursuit of awesomeness

I’m hanging 200 feet in the air above the Kentucky river, 100 feet below a railroad bridge named High Bridge in Wilmore, KY.  What else would I be doing at 1:00 am on a Thursday night?  I’m stopped because my hand is getting hot as the rope is starting to burn through my glove from the first 100 feet of the rappel.  The only thing holding me is a 10mm, 300 foot rope attached to the cheapest harness I could buy at J&D’s, one D-ring, and one 8-ring.  And the only I can think is “wow, my life is awesome.”

 I start to recall the last few months of my life. 

 Merging my software business with another successful software business. = fortunate to surround myself with smart, awesome people.

Trips to Boulder, CO and San Francisco, CA to learn how to start a business incubator called Awesome Inc. = way more fun than should be legal on a business trip.

– Coaching a full season with a soccer team of great and entertaining kids. = 5 wins, 7 losses, and 7 ties.  Most would write that off to a less than average season, but since 6 of our 7 losses were by one goal (and most of those goals scored against us were on corner kicks) and the players have really developed over the season, I am avoiding the trip to negative town and staying positive.

Coaching 1 Coaching 2 Coaching 3

– Going on the most random, amazing, exciting date with an extremely fun and cool girl. = lots of fun and a great story to tell.

Spelunking with the county judge and other awesome friends. = revolutionary, hopeful that I can remain ‘cool’ as I grow old.

– Dancing with old ladies at a local block party back home. = realizing the effects of alcohol on mature adults.

– Building a giant hour glass to be placed on UK’s campus.  This might sound like work, but I have the most amazing friends who helped with it which resulted in a project that was actually tons of fun. = realizing that good friends are invaluable.  Thanks Tyler, Justin, Marty, Rachel, Vanessa, Rachel, and Alyssa.

Hourglass 1 Hourglass 2 Hourglass 3 Hourglass 4

– Attending Big Blue Madness. = best basketball practice one can ever watch.

 Big Blue Madness 1 Big Blue Madness 2 Big Blue Madness 3

– Meeting people like the Mayor of Lexington, President of the University of Kentucky, Founder of Exstream software (recently bought out by HP) and having amazing conversations = incredible learning experience for a 26 year old.

When I started writing this blog over a year ago, I wrote this, “My name is Brian Raney and I like life.  The favorite thing about my life right now is that I don’t have anything in my life I dislike.”  That is still true…but it is actually better than that.  I pretty much love everything in my life right now. 

So, how did it get that way?  When did I change the measurement of fun from dinner and a movie to random nights of kickball and an 80’s dance party.  When did the bar get raised from hanging out at the club to having our own rock band party?  I think the answer is in the people.  I am a firm believer that your behavior is a reflection of the people you have around you.  I have written about this several times already on this blog.  Surround yourself with awesomeness and you will do something awesome.  And that is really all there is to it.  The last year of my life I have surrounded myself with the coolest, most fun, awesome people I can find.  Really, all of this awesomeness is thanks to them.  And now I am asking, no actually I’m begging and pleading, that all two or three of you out there that might read this blog entry do one thing – surround yourself with awesomeness and realize that life is meant to be great.


As my glove cools off I begin to slide down the rest of the rope and eventually drop into the river.  It’s then that I realize that Luke’s ‘last words’ to the camera just before the short-roping high bridge adventure was true – “It’s moments like this that make life truly worth living.”

 shortrope 6 shortrope 1 shortrope 2

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 …to read more about the short-roping high bridge adventure click here –  This is a blog written by a guy named Tynan who came to speak about “living life awesome” at a UK eClub event.  While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the entries Tynan writes about on his blog, two things are for certain:

  1. He lives an exciting and interesting life.
  2. He is a much better writer than me, which is why I am letting him tell the story of our short-roping experience.

My first merger

I am excited about the potential of our new company, APAX Software.  The combination of two successful companies that started just over a year ago should result in one extremely successful company.  APAX was founded by a friend of mine Ryan and grew from 2 to 11 employees.  SFENITY was founded by myself, my brother Justin, and my friend Matt and grew from 3 to 9 employees.  We just made our first hire as the ‘new APAX’, so that puts us up to 21 employees.  I always preach about surrounding yourself with the right people and getting quality people on your team.  I am confident that our new combined team is comprised of quality people and look forward to building something awesome with these guys.

Apax merger signApax merger 1

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Trips to Boulder, CO and San Francisco, CA

Luke and I traveled to Boulder, CO in August to visit TechStars and watch pitch day.  We met all ten 2008 teams as well as the founder David Cohen.  We learned a ton about what it will take to make something like this happen in Lexington.  We also met StartupWeekend founder Andrew Hyde and scored a StartupWeekend event for Lexington, KY on November 21 – 23, 2008. 

While we were there we found time to climb a mountain (probably not a mountain by CO resident standards, but a still a mountain by our standards), teach swing dance lessons, network with awesome people at TechCocktail, and attend a salsa dance party.

   Boulder Climb 7 Boulder Climb 5 Boulder Climb 6

Boulder Climb 1 Boulder Climb 4 Boulder Climb 3 Boulder Climb 2

Techstars salsa


In September we went to San Fran to attend Mobilize. We met leaders in the mobile space, marketing geniuses, mobile investors, and one crazy taxi cab driver.  We also met some really interesting people hanging out around bonfires on the beach at night.