Wow, where do I even begin? As I come down from what has easily been one of the most memorable and humbling experiences in my short life, (post-BBQ depression, I've seen it called), I've tried to also find the words to accurately express what this weekend meant to me.
It's hard to describe what this weekend was like, not only as a spectator (not often), but also as a little one-man operation trying to keep things going.
Some of you might remember a long post I wrote on my personal Google+ page (at ) when my Indiegogo campaign was fairly funded about how I wouldn't have been able to get it had it not been for Google+, and that's absolutely true.
If anything, it feels like the Big Android BBQ was an extension of that, or the next iteration of that, or something. Am I not making sense? Let me backtrack.
Last November, when I had the dream of buying a laser engraving machine and starting Android Etch, I didn't even know if that would be possible. Before that, back in 2011 when I initially had the idea, I was going etched glasses by hand at the rate of maybe one or two a night.
The room for error was high, it made my hands hurt, I was a poor college student, it was a mess. Still, when I posted my first picture of an Android-branded pint glass, I remember the small pang of hope when people seemed interested in it. Because of that, I held the dream of making Android Etch a reality near and dear to my heart.
When I was asked to do glasses for the early bird registrants and ticket package buyers, I was floored. Little ol' me, doing glasses for something the size of the Big Android BBQ? Just being asked was humbling.
And I guess that's one of the things I keep circling back to, how humbled and grateful I am, not only for being able to go and sponsor an event like this, but also just the incredible amount of generosity and kindness I was shown from nearly every attendee I spoke to.
For those that don't know, I thought I could pull this thing off by myself, and I definitely couldn't. There were boxes upon boxes to move, a machine to move, five gallons of water, etc. I was silly for thinking I could do it alone.
Yet, when I asked, people answered the call to help, giving up their time and strength selflessly, to help this one guy with a laser machine try and succeed.
With that, many, many thanks are in order. If I forget you, please don't be offended! Know that I am unbelievably floored at how wonderful everyone was to me this past weekend.
To , , , , and anyone else I might have forgotten, thank you for helping me move equipment when I couldn't do it alone. Y'all were lifting and sweating when you didn't need to be, and I really appreciate it.
Also, thanks for being such an awesome roommate, !
To +Scott Good (why is it not letting me tag you?), +April Good (same issue, boo!), , , , , and anyone else who kept me company at the booth ( gets another shout here, as well!), thank!
To , , , and any of the other hard working volunteers and staff at the BBQ, thank you! Mad props to Corry and John for putting up with all of my emails asking them when I could get into the convention center on Friday morning.
To and for helping me promote the brand (along with any tags and shares you all have done!), thank you! Me and had a little spat online earlier, but I'm happy to say we're friends now!
To all my friends from the internet that I finally got to meet in person, which includes but isn't limited to , , , , , , , , , , , , , and anyone else I've forgotten or can't tag, it was GREAT finally getting to meet you!
To , for tirelessly working on making sure everyone was fed to their hearts content with delicious BBQ.
To and , thank you for the awesome pictures!
To , for being the largest single order at the BBQ! :)
And finally, this probably goes without saying, I have the utmost thanks for . Without Aaron, all of this, sponsoring, Android Etch, the entire thing, would still be a dream.
I'm not sure when I met Aaron, or in what capacity, but I've always sort of known of him, and at some point, I started chatting with him online every now and again. Probably because of AndroidSWAG, I'd ask him a lot of business-related questions.
When I launched by Indiegogo campaign to get my laser, things weren't going well. I was probably only about 50% funded or so and I was starting to get nervous that it wasn't going to work out.
Cue Aaron changing my life.
He messages me and tells me he'd like to give my campaign a $1,000 'donation' from the Big Android BBQ on the grounds that I'd do 110 pint glasses for the actual event. With that single donation, I was within striking distance, and I went through with the campaign with the intention of buying (and financing) a laser machine.
I bought the machine, fulfilled my backer's orders, and waited. There was no explosion of sales, the clouds didn't open and angels come down, nothing. I continued to make payments on the machine out of my teacher paycheck.
A few months ago, Aaron messages me again and asks me if I can do a bigger order for the BBQ than originally intended. Instead of just a few pint glasses, now I was in charge of early bird pint glasses, shot glasses, and shot glasses for special ticket packages buyers.
Again, with that, my life was changed, since it was the first time since I'd started that I wasn't in the red.
Simply put, if there was no , there would be no Android Etch. Aaron has supported me, backed me at every turn, and enabled me to try and make something of this, and without him, I wouldn't be writing this message right now.
So, Aaron, thank you, for everything. I can't put into words how much your friendship and support has meant and continues to mean to me. I am truly, truly indebted to you.
Sorry for the length and the excessive sappiness, everyone, but I've been waiting since I got back on Sunday to say all of this.
As I finish writing this with a small lump in my throat, I hope you'll all stay in touch and that we can see each other again next year.
If you can help me get the word out, I'd love for everyone I interacted with to see this post, and I've got a limited audience here (~360), so any and all shares are appreciated.
Till next year, friends.