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Empowch Bootstrapping Camp

September 18, 2022

Intense brainstorming sessions late night in the basement followed by long strenuous walks past rising corn fields in quant Washington DC, enhanced with amazing mediterranean food to keep our brain jelly firm. This is Bootcamp 2022. 

Working in an industry where we do not have to be located in an office is a great luxury and blessing but sometimes connecting in person delivers results that no zoom call can compete with. The one-on-one energy that comes from collective brainstorming is palpable and powerful.

Empowch are preparing for their International launch and meeting to plan strategy and focus was essential in August, and has had dramatic results. More on that to follow soon. So what is our bootcamp like?

We wake up early in the morning and drink lots of coffee. Then we all gather in our favorite part of the house inside or out, to catch up on social media and fintech news and check emails. Then it’s time for breakfast . Breakfast is always an amazing treat. Moataz, our primary founder, grew up in rural Lebanon where a lot of food is home processed. Moataz’s mother cures her own olives which have the perfect hint of chili in them. A traditional breakfast includes creamy labneh, humus, cured olives, cucumber, flat bread and some spicy pickles of the day. So much yum.

After breakfast we sit and discuss any pressing issues we need to solve for Empowch and strategize on how we are going to achieve that. We all have our own lenses we focus on and here it is a bit of a scramble to get your urgent issue onto the table for discussion and resolution. Moataz pushes the tech agenda, Bethany pushes compliance and legal and Frederik pushes marketing and business development. Our goal is to make sure we all align with the end goal and purpose of Empowch which is always Empowerment. It is also a very good time to remind ourselves why we are doing what we are doing as that can sometimes get lost in the chaos of a start-up.

Then we all head to our respective and favorite locations around the house to do the work we identified. Bethany likes her office where she has her computer and her immense collection of compliance related material, Moataz sits outside on the deck in the shade, and Frederik heads down to where the whiteboard is in the basement and works from there. We all try the principle of at least solving three pressing issues for the day so as to not overwhelm ourselves.  

At around 11am we all start reconnecting on the patio where we discuss and follow up issues we are resolving and bounce ideas off each other. Then Moataz and Frederik head off on one of their daily epic walks while Bethany manages the ship. These long walks are brainstorming sessions where strategy is planned and they walk for over an hour and up to 20km walking through rural Washington DC. Once we return we have an amazing big lunch prepared by Bethany who also loves to cook and prepare traditional Lebanese dishes. We all sit at a big table and discuss work, life and family. It is an informal family style gathering. 

Then we all head back to our chosen locations where we work on what needs to be done. Around 2pm it is time to rest the mind and take time off. Time off is essential and most times everyone takes an afternoon nap. At varying times everyone resurfaces and we gather together on the patio where we smoke some hookah, drink mint tea and talk casually about the day. Around 5pm we head off again for a lighter walk around the neighborhood and discuss and strategize and most times we have the families kids join us on the walk and we spend time connecting with them too before we head home to prepare dinner.

Moataz is a master griller and Bethany a master tabbouleh maker and Frederick knows how to eat. A selection of fresh foods and salads are prepared and presented and we all sit together with the family and have dinner. After dinner and cleaning up, Moataz, Frederik and Bethany head down to the basement and the epic whiteboard where we conduct most of our most efficient brainstorming. Each of us takes turns to wildly scribble down solutions to problems as we vigorously erase and write on the board. These sessions can last up to 11pm when we are finally too tired to think anymore. These 17 hour long days are tempered with a lot of fun too.

We believe in the principle of working hard and playing hard and we make sure we balance our work and social time. Rinse and repeat for 3 weeks and Bootcamp has come to a sad end. Frederik returns to Vancouver and all the exciting growth and changes are implemented into Empowch. We try to do bootcamp every quarter and we intend to include this practice in Empowch as we grow.

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