Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: All right, well, I think you can tell from that intro what this episode is going to be about. I’m Ashkahn.
Ashkahn: Oh boy. Oh boy. No, we messed it up again. I’m Ashkahn.
Graham: Shoot. I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: Yeah. And this is a podcast that we do occasionally.
Graham: It’s called the Occasional Solutions podcast.
Ashkahn: Really solutions I think is the main thing that doesn’t, that’s not really true anymore. You know?
Graham: And if you’re smart, you’ll occasionally subscribe to it. You know what I mean?
Ashkahn: Oh, just once really we just need you to subscribe that one time.
Graham: We got done with a big event recently that we didn’t actually put on.
Ashkahn: A little thing called the Float Conference.
Graham: Oh, sorry. Wait, no, it’s like an ominous kind of, yeah, no, it’s not a…
Ashkahn: I think… that’s…
Graham: Traditional music for excitement. Yeah.
Ashkahn: Yeah, so there was just the Float Conference, the Float Conference and it was in Denver,
Ashkahn: Not Portland. Not Oregon. And, it was run by other people.
Graham: Who aren’t us.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So, I mean it was cool. We got to go and we got to attend the Float Conference for the first time, basically.
Graham: I saw more talks this year than I think I’ve ever seen.
Ashkahn: I slept more than I think every other conference combined.
Graham: I thought you were going to say more than you’ve ever slept and I was like, I don’t know if that’s physically possible.
Ashkahn: Which still isn’t that much. There was a lot of late nights still, but it was great. I just had a really great time.
Graham: Yeah, me too. And, I guess that’s what we’re here to say. It was awesome. Yeah, thanks everyone. Yeah, there’s, yeah, lots of good hugs. Lots of good memories. Lots of good speakers. That was cool.
Ashkahn: It was cool. It was fun being in a different city. We got to really explore Denver. It was super cool. Getting to party at Samana and check out like, they have a whole fun float party.
Graham: Samana is a great float center over in the Denver area, by the way, if-
Ashkahn: Yeah, I guess if you didn’t come out to the Float Conference, we should catch you up, or something.
Graham: Well, see you next year.
Ashkahn: You made a big mistake, like we had a really good time. I guess the super, super quick get people up to speed if they have no idea what we’re talking about here-
Graham: Just go to floatconference.com.
Ashkahn: Well, it doesn’t really explain much anymore, but yeah, Float Conference-
Graham: It doesn’t explain much? Go on. What are you going to say?
Ashkahn: It’s just a blank website now.
Graham: I’m sorry for interrupting you like three times in a row right there. What are we going to say?
Ashkahn: There’s this event called the Float Conference. No. Okay. Float Conference has been happening. This was the eighth year. For the first seven years, we were the ones organizing it. Last year, we turned it into a nonprofit, so this was its first year running as an event that was organized by float industry, by a board of directors and volunteers, and anybody who wanted to help put it on. And it moved cities for the first time. It was kind of just like a rebirth of the Float Conference event. And so, that’s why we’re so excited. We got to go. It was like seeing a float baby that we just had taking its first steps.
Graham: And in the show notes too, we’ll put on an episode we did previously about the Float Conference. We’ll put on our talk from last year, which actually talks a lot about the history of the Float Conference, but with really fun graphics and slides. So, if you don’t just want to hear us describe what everyone was wearing, you should definitely go watch the talk and yeah, that actually explains a lot of where we came from and this journey to actually being a nonprofit this year. If we were kind of like breathing giant sighs of relief when we started this episode, that is exactly why is because for seven years we got to be the hosts and now we get to be, yeah, just some guys, man.
Ashkahn: But yeah, actually, I had a really good time watching the presentations too. I felt like a lot of the speakers are just like super solid and there’s just stuff happening in the float world in this cool way that is becoming bigger and more prevalent every year. And it’s not just now like the Laureate Institute for Brain Research putting out its new research. We’re also seeing other places do research. We’re seeing large institutions like sports teams and military and stuff like not just talk about floating, but actively be using float tanks. In real world applications, like actually having their student athletes float, or having the enrolled people float as part of their training, or whatever, recovery.
And, it was interesting to see that stuff really happening now. It wasn’t just these rumors, or we’re going to start these programs soon. It was like, no, we’ve been doing this for the last year. And it was also really interesting seeing so many of the scientists and the people running these programs. I feel genuinely impressed with float tanks. They were giving these presentations and they were just like, yeah, these are having incredible effects, or the data we’re getting out is really not the type of data you see when you do this sort of research.
Graham: Yeah, it’s really cool and neat to see people who even have been speakers before come back. People who are more tangentially involved in the industry. You get kind of wrapped into it. It has this way of, I don’t know, if you connect with floating and you connect with the float industry, it’s almost like you’ve come home in a certain respect. So, I was thinking specifically of Roy Vore and getting to see his talk this year compared to last year, which we’ll definitely put his talk from the previous year in the show notes. It’s great for sanitation stuff. He’s like the man when it comes to recreational, waterborne illness. And one of the coolest things he said, he started just talking. It’s pretty much like, something’s changed from last year. I float now. This is something I do and it’s just, yeah, we got him. He’s one of us now.
Ashkahn: He actually applied to be on the board of directors for the Float Conference and got voted in.
Graham: Somehow weaseled his way in. He promised enough people free drinks if he got in there.
Ashkahn: But it’s cool. Now, we have like the leading recreational water illness expert like in the country as part of the Float Conference board. It’s cool.
Graham: Where will we go from here?
Ashkahn: Who knows what we can tackle. So basically what I’m saying is like all the food is definitely not going to get you sick next year. We’ll be able to check it very thoroughly.
Graham: Yeah, I don’t even… we kind of started the episode, what do we even talk about for this one? We can go on about some cool stuff that happened, which we will, but maybe like even differences is what I was going to say. No, what were you going to… Where were you going?
Ashkahn: Well, if you did attend the Float Conference, then you know what we’re talking about. But if you didn’t attend the Float Conference, a couple of things you can do to kind of see what’s going on. There is a really cool podcast, we’ve been doing it every year. We just had to catch up, had to get in the scene. So yeah, we did this Float Conference podcast for many years and this year Matt from Modern Gravity up in Canada took it over and did an awesome job hosting it.
So there are interviews with a handful of the speakers, especially the new speakers from the Float Conference that are released and those are really cool to listen to. They’re like 30, 40 minutes long. You get to actually just hear their backstories and where they’re coming from. So that’s all on the Float Conference website. And we can put that in the show notes, but yeah, it’s all just floatconference.com. And the videos will be released hopefully soon. It always is a little bit of a challenge to get all the footage and get it edited and all that sort of stuff. Takes a lot of time and it’s a lot to deal with.
Graham: And we also just like secretly messing with people. So even when we have the videos, we just hold onto them for a few weeks and don’t release them.
Ashkahn: But that stuff will be coming and if you want to actually know when videos are released, you can follow us on social media is usually where we announce it. So Facebook, typically our Facebook page, or our Instagram. So you can follow either of those-
Graham: For you Russians out there.
Ashkahn: Yeah, for you Russian guys. You can listen to our Instagram. And yeah, you’ll get to see the talks one-by-one as we get them edited and put out. And… there’s some cool photos?
Graham: Yeah, they’re very cool photos that you can also see on our Facebook and Instagram. I think is probably the best place to check those out.
Ashkahn: If you drink enough alcohol right now, you’ll probably just feel like you were there and… What were you going to say?
Graham: I was going to say some of the things that we really enjoyed this year and some differences between…
Ashkahn: And then certain things we hated. Is that what you’re going to talk about after that?
Graham: I was going to say people we hated, but we can go with things. It’s probably maybe a better decision actually. So, some things stayed the same. Some things changed. I got to lead the bus tour again this year, which is like a beer bus tour of different float centers around usually Portland, but this year, Denver, which was really cool. And I realized it hadn’t quite hit me that it means that we’re going to get to see all these new float centers in every new city that the conference goes in. And, I guess we didn’t kind of say this, but it’s going to be changing cities every single year from here on out.
And yeah, I don’t know. This year going on the bus tour, I just realized it’s going to be so cool to actually get this different character of float centers wherever we travel in the future. And actually, for me, get to go, I hope, if I get voted in from the board again, to lead the bus tour hopefully. I’ll be an attendee regardless, so go on this tour of different local float centers and get to, I don’t know. And then the owners come out to the conference too and they just get to like be a little bit of the hosts as well. And I don’t know, we kind of like realized that as we were making this transition and it didn’t hit me until we were at the conference, just how cool it is to really get outside of Portland and to, yeah, just change the environment and take in that local flavor.
Ashkahn: We also… it’s really cool at the Float Conference every year that you see people from like all over the world there. Which is really fun. But also, there are people who just run small centers, or their center has a lot of services and float tanks is just a part of what they do. And, it’s kind of hard to justify flying across the country, or whatever for that.
Graham: And they have to go to their Magnosphere Conference. They have to go to their Acupuncture Conference.
Ashkahn: Exactly. So, it is cool being in different places and having people who… when it’s like, “Oh, this year I think I can make it out because it’s just like a two hour drive from my place,” and that’s like, it’s enough that it makes it possible for them. So as we move around, we’ll just get to see some new people that I think have had trouble justifying kind of being able to fly out to Portland each year, be able to happen to come when, when the conference is in their neighborhood.
Graham: And then that’s it. We got them.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Then they’re stuck.
Graham: And they’re one of us. And the blob grows. Did you have anything that you wanted to add to that?
Ashkahn: Yeah, it was also just cool… I feel like-
Graham: It’s okay, you can say it.
Ashkahn: It was cool, I guess just watching the event be different… different decisions were made. There’s been this funny thing that Graham and I have had where for the last, like all these years that we’ve been organizing the conference, we’ve been trying to recognize that this was an industry event and that we should even curtail some of our own opinions and thoughts in favor of trying to do things-
Graham: Which is very difficult for us.
Ashkahn: A little bit more representative, or you know what I mean? We were sometimes actively trying to restrain ourselves from putting too much of direction into what we thought it should be because it felt kind of bigger than just us and our float center. But, we’re really only so good at that. It’s not like we can actually perfectly separate thoughts in our head, or our strong opinions.
Graham: I think everyone would have capes on the volunteers. That seems reasonable.
Ashkahn: So, as much as that was an effort that we made, it was much better to just actually have different people making decisions who weren’t us. Like the float conference just got to have other people’s input and other people’s tastes and thoughts and stuff incorporated into everything from what speakers were chosen to how the venues work and the flow of the event and all the little details just got to have a different set of decision making than what we’ve usually done. And it was cool just to watch that sort of stuff be new and fresh and ideas that I was like, “Yeah, this is a way better idea than what we thought of.”
Graham: They still put capes on the volunteers though.
Ashkahn: Well some things are just good ideas.
Graham: No, agreed 100%. I feel like you’re saying, the event kind of always belonged to the industry a little bit and it’s kind of nice seeing that the input reflected that as well.
Ashkahn: Now it really does. Instead of it just fake kind of belonging to the industry.
Graham: Yeah, yeah. Sorry. We have the little post-conference high going on right now. Still riding that wave. Let’s see, what else did I enjoy versus previous years slash just had thought changed. Doing it in a hotel was interesting. Just not being inside kind of the same type theater set up. I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy having standing room. It was actually a really tiny one. I was like, “Oh, it’s going to be a little lamer and in a conference ballroom,” but it turns out you can just decorate conference ballrooms and the stage still looks super cool and having float tanks around is awesome. And then yeah, having like tables you could actually stand at in the back was kind of clutch. I really liked it. I wasn’t expecting that.
Ashkahn: Yeah, it was nice to be able to roll out of bed and just go down an elevator.
Graham: Having the conference just in your hotel, like yeah, that was cool.
Ashkahn: There’s always a bar in the lobby, that helped.
Graham: And then also a bar on the 27th floor and then also a bar… Yeah.
Ashkahn: So we had a good time. I mean…
Ashkahn: Everybody had a good time.
Graham: Almost everyone had a good time.
Ashkahn: Except for that one guy.
Graham: Oh boy, let’s not talk about him. Yeah.
Yeah, just go to floatconference.com. Just go check it. There’s talks from every previous year up there. You’ll have fun. It’s a good afternoon.
Ashkahn: And, I guess the other thing that we should mention is that this event really is just run by people who want to help put it together. We have dozens of volunteers help everything from photography to video work to graphic design to just helping run the event to helping with social media to the entire board of directors who’s volunteering their time to have meetings, to discuss speakers and cities and all that sort of stuff. The whole thing is just run by people who want to chip in and help out.
Graham: You didn’t even realize it, but you’re helping with next year’s Float Conference. So thank you.
Ashkahn: You better get down here. So if you do want to actually be a part of the event, you should. There’s a mailing list. There’s two mailing lists on our homepage of the website at floatconference.com.
Graham: See if you can guess which is the right one.
Ashkahn: One is like, if you just want general information to know when the city’s announced and stuff and the other one is a mailing list you sign up for and that’s what we use when we need help. When stuff comes up, we send out a blast to people and say, “Hey, we’re looking for help with these things.” And then, people email us back and say, “I’d like to help with that thing.” And we say, “Wow, you’re such a great human being.”
Graham: Here’s a medal, a trophy, and some tasks that we could really use you for.
Ashkahn: Everybody’s going to really like you. And so, you should do that, you know?
Graham: Yeah, everyone will love you. I think we pretty much broke down the benefits. Yeah, I guess that’s it? That’s it. That’s it?
Ashkahn: That’s it.
Graham: That’s it. We’ll talk to you occasionally in the future as well.
Ashkahn: Yeah, there’ll be another conference next year.
Graham: Pop on by.
Ashkahn: Yeah, hop on over. Scoot on in.
Graham: As we always say, see you later.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
The holidays are a busy time for float centers and it often means lots of new customers asking questions. This means it can be a really great time to brush up on the facts about floating. Fortunately we’ve formed a folio of fantastic studies for you to fancy. Feliz Navidad!
In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
Something in the world of floating have you stumped? Show Highlights Hooo doggie! This is a big one! This Tank Topic is filled with useful information about what you should know before talking to health...
Latest Blog Posts
In the first episode of Improving Your Float Center from Home: the Bathrobe Chronicles, Ashkahn and Graham covered the special deal that they're running at Float On during their closure. Watch the full episode below:For the deal, they're offering 25% off floats, and...
These are challenging times for all of us, and many float centers (ourselves included) have decided to temporarily shut down to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Our team got together yesterday to figure out what we need to do to put our shop into hibernation mode,...
Obviously, there’s a lot of concern around the Coronavirus outbreak right now. There are also a lot of float centers who are worrying about how this will affect their floaters. Here’s the critical information and tips for float centers to keep in mind during the...
Holy smokes we did it! This years’ Start-a-Center Giveaway was really amazing. The quality of submissions was really a cut above any other year we’ve run this, and it certainly made it a challenge choosing between all of the submissions. More...