Jess Flynn is CEO of Red Sky, a PR firm based in Boise, Idaho. She considers herself 'a seed sower', focused on fostering connections, ideas and opportunities in her hometown. Follow here on Twitter @jessflynn.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't love Boise when I first arrived. In fact, I was pretty damn pissed off about the whole place.
Moving for your senior year of high school can do that to you. Moving from New York to a place that a significant portion of Americans can't locate on a map -- or think is part of Canada -- will definitely do that to you.
But I've boomeranged back and changed my tune to #DamnILoveBoise instead of "damn this town!"
As a born-again Boisean, my love letter includes appreciation for the freakishly-friendly nature of the people who reside here. The two instead of six degrees of separation that makes it uber-connected, and the serendipitous convergence of music, culture and creative expression that sparks during our hometown upstart Treefort Music Fest.
If you want to work 18-hour days and see your community only on your commute, stay the hell out of Boise. Here we believe in the mantra work hard, play harder. Define play as you like - trails outside your office, the river flowing through town, a ski hill within 30 minutes, a walkable downtown, public art and urban creativity around every corner. And then there's the rest of our backyard which transitions from high mountain desert to deep canyon rivers to pristine alpine lakes.
While I love the work-life integration fostered in Boise and beyond, it's not just that often-touted-but-little-measured lifestyle quotient that fuels my crush.
It's because you can start something here with little friction. The connectivity and independent spirit of those who make their home here means the vast majority of us believe in and support the grit and soul of the entrepreneur. Whether challenge or opportunity, we know who to call and who to connect with to get the job done. And when we compete, we compete and drive each other forward instead of stepping on each other to move upwards. It means your successes - and your struggles - will spread at the speed of thumbs to rally a celebration or to rally support.
Because not many people have found their way here, there is a beautiful blank slate feel to what our community can become. Here we don't wait around for answers, we create the solution. Here we don't ask 'why', we ask 'why not? Oftentimes, those 'why the heck not' conversations are happening on the mountain bike lunch ride, at one of nearly a dozen local breweries or sitting on one of the slew of urban patios.
If you want to play a role in crafting Boise's future, the door is open. We've stripped away the boundaries and formalities and leveraged that independent initiative and collaborative drive. For the creative class / knowledge worker / millennial / (insert your jargon title here), it is a place to make your mark and define your reputation.
As my hometown makes more and more of those ubiquitous Top 10 lists, we hear it's the next Austin, the next Boulder, the next Bend.
God I hope not.
It's the next Boise (pronounced Boy-see by the way).