Since I left my role at SXSW last July, I’ve been on many adventures.
I started my consultancy, Apostrophe Industries. I co-founded a health technology startup called Litmus. I worked alongside the marketing wizards at JDI. I built, launched and unintentionally destroyed a number of flying model rockets with my kids.
I’ve learned a tremendous amount over the past ten months. And this Sunday, I will embark on an entirely new adventure to learn even more.
A New Home
Adrienne and I have lived in Austin since first coming to the University of Texas in 1993. Technically, that’s not just the last century — but the previous millennium. It certainly feels like a long time ago. Adrienne has always desired to live abroad, and I’ve always wanted to gaze upon the stars in the southern sky. An opportunity recently arose that allows for both dreams to become reality.
“The Southern Hemisphere holds all the good stuff.” – the late astronomer, Bart Bok
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I recently spoke at an event many time zones into the future. The speaking engagement in New Zealand was also a reconnaissance mission. It’s true — I’ll very soon be leaving Austin for a sabbatical in Wellington, located at the southwestern tip of the North Island.
A fortuitous initial meeting during SXSW Interactive in March quickly turned into this new opportunity. As of today, I’m honored to be working with the talented team at Creative HQ on a brand-new product and manufacturing accelerator called Lightning Lab Manufacturing. I’m going to take my passion for maker culture and experience growing business communities to foster some really cool product innovation in the Wellington region.
We’re about to open up the application for participants, so I’ll soon share more details on the intensive 12-week programme. (← I am learning a number of alternative spellings and Kiwi cultural preferences.)
My role as co-founder in charge of product and experience at Litmus will continue uninterrupted. We have the right vision, an incredible team, and a technology that we’ll use to transform the $1.6 trillion per year pharmaceutical research business, which today is the opposite of lean and agile. My fellow co-founders (CEO Daphne Kis, Dr. Sam Volchenboum, and Josh Jones-Dilworth) are excited for my family’s opportunity to live overseas, and I’m grateful to have their support in this endeavor.
We’re planning to tap into the fantastic dev talent in Wellington, so there are real strategic advantages for the company as well. We’re not saying too much about what Litmus is up to just yet, but a few things have begun to leak out here and there.
Litmus is for one, honored to currently be a finalist for investment from the University of Chicago’s Innovation Fund. We will soon launch our pilot program to nearly 10,000 patients. And I’ll be able to say even more about what we’re doing after we complete our seed round, which is now in the final stages.
The Foreseeable Future
For at least the next 12 months, our home in the Wellington region will be the picturesque community of Eastbourne. Each morning, I’ll walk to a ferry for a 20-minute ride across the harbor into downtown Wellington. A new adventure for sure.
With our scrambling to get ready to leave town, I don’t have much of a social calendar at the moment — and unfortunately won’t be able to individually catch up with everyone. If you’re in the ATX, please join me for a bon voyage happy hour of sorts at 5pm on Friday, May 22 at Whisler’s on the East Side.
Hope to see you there, or perhaps on the other side of the planet!
Eeeeeeeeee! So proud!
It can only be a great adventure! Congratulations on your willingness to grasp the brass ring.
Exciting! I must get a Twitter account just to keep up with you. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family! Soak it all in.
What a great opportunity for you and Adrienne. Although we will miss y’all, our hope and prayers are that you will flourish and make memories of a lifetime .
Good luck to you on your grand adventure. Here’s to bravery, new chapters and sound risk-taking! (And to Chad for spreading the news 🙂
Greetings: Shawn I am so proud of you and applaud your adventurous spirit. I will be praying for your family that you will make great friends that you can bond with. What a great adventure for your children. I do hope you get out on weekends and enjoy the country – this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m a bit jealous but so happy for you.