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Rise is coming up soon, May 3rd through 5th, and while many of you have probably heard about it, most of you probably haven’t been there. I’d like to talk about how it compares to other industry events, and what makes it so special.

We’ve attended Rise every year, and it continues to be a wonderful collection of kind humans perpetuating greater gentleness to the rest of the world. This is the third annual Rise gathering, and it promises to be just as third eye-opening as the previous ones.

Last year, Graham and Ashkahn got to sit down with Kevin McCulloch and Jacob Resch, the organizers of Rise and owners of Float STL, for the Daily Solutions Podcast which was right in the middle of its run at the time. You could tell from the conversation that there was a certain delight from everyone involved in getting to share horror stories about the stresses of running a conference for the float industry.

During that conversation, Kevin shared his thoughts on how Rise compares to the Float Conference. As he says, it’s a “gift that the Float Conference is already operating” since it’s “the pulse of the entire industry… and we wanna focus on this little sliver. And it wouldn’t even make sense to do that if the Float Conference wasn’t servicing the whole industry.”

(If you’d like to see some of our coverage from last year, you can check out the podcast episodes where Graham and Ashkahn took live questions all day or you can check out the live blog we ran during the presentations.)

It’s difficult to talk about Rise without referencing the Float Conference, despite them being very different. The Float Conference was birthed out of necessity. It was started because there was no other industry event at the time and so Float on started one.

Rise is another conference for the float industry. Absolutely. But that doesn’t make it an East coast Float Conference. While the Float Conference is for the entire industry, Rise is much more focused on float center owners, and even more specifically, those who focus on spreading the practice of floating. You could say that Rise is more a cultural event than a business one. It’s for the float community as opposed to the float industry.

Kevin and Jake will no doubt be leading us in thoughtful conversations, introspective meditations, and sharing the warmth and love that they feel for everyone who comes.

At Rise, everyone does everything together at the same time. If there’s a presentation going on, everyone is in the audience. If there’s lunch, everyone is at lunch. If it’s time for guided meditation, you’re right there for guided meditation. Each event bonds you closer with the rest of the people there until by the end of the weekend, you feel like you’ve just shared an intimate experience with loved ones. Even if you’ve never met them before a few days ago.

One of the best ways to see this contrast is to look at the speakers who attend both events. Justin Feinstein, the head researcher at the Float Lab at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, shares updates on his research every year at the Float Conference, and at Rise he focused far more on how to get float center owners involved in contributing to the scientific community.

While Glenn and Lee Perry are consistently delightful and kind, in the context of Rise, their talk feels much more like a fireside chat than the TEDTalk style presentation it appears to be at the Float Conference.

Even Graham and Ashkahn are more laid back at Rise – they did their presentation there in bathrobes last year!

Not to mention that St. Louis itself is such a lovely city. There’s always something to do, and getting to visit Float STL is really a treat.

So far, every year we visit, we take a group trip out to the City Museum, which is like no other place on Earth. If you’ve never been, it’s a surrealist wonderland for children and adults. Beyond being just a museum, it’s a monument to the oddities that exist within the human mind. While yes, there are historical artifacts, artwork on display, and educational experiences aplenty to be had, the entire building functions more as a giant playground filled with wrought iron structures, disturbing tile mosaics, and a giant ball pit at the center of a climbing maze. Honestly, it’s something that needs to be seen to be believed.

In short, if the Float Conference is like a family reunion, Rise is like coming home for the holidays. It feels so cozy and familiar. In both cases, everyone there is family, but the setting for Rise is more intimate, less overwhelming. It’s so much easier to say hello to everyone you know at Rise, even if you know everyone!

*Also, consider this an open invitation to join us this year at the City Museum! We’ll be visiting Monday, May 6th, after the Rise gathering has concluded. Below are just a handful of images from the museum to help entice you.


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How Detailed are Your Finances? – DSP 363

How Detailed are Your Finances? – DSP 363

It’s possible to have a nearly infinite recursion of productivity vs. financial data. You can break down how much you could save per float by switching to a cheaper q-tip, but in the end, is it worth it? 

Ashkahn and Graham discuss how they handle financial details at Float On and where they emphasize detail over broad strokes and convenience. 

Groupon Revisited – DSP 362

Groupon Revisited – DSP 362

In a previous episode, Graham and Ashkahn shared their experience running Groupons with Float On from like… 6 years ago. 

Groupon called them up and offered them an opportunity to try Groupon again and see what they thought of the experience. So here’s their updated review of the modern Groupon process.

What’s More Important than the Podcast? – DSP 360

What’s More Important than the Podcast? – DSP 360

It’s no secret that Graham and Ashkahn are shutting down the podcast (check out the resources for details on how to call in for the finale), but why? 

Today, Graham and Ashkahn talk about all their projects that they’ll be dedicating themselves too now that they don’t have a daily podcast to rush to, everything from the mundane to the insane. 

How to get your Water Tested – DSP 359

How to get your Water Tested – DSP 359

Every once in a while during float industry events, during this podcast, or talks given by health department professionals and the like, they’ll say something like “if you get your water tested and…”. But how does a float center do that? Where should they look? Is there just a lab that they can send their float solution to? Are all labs the same? How much does it cost? 

Ashkahn and Graham take on the difficult task of making sense of microbiology testing laboratories, regulatory institutions, and acronyms, all so you don’t have to. 

A Few of Our Favorite Things – DSP 358

A Few of Our Favorite Things – DSP 358

Graham and Ashkahn take a break from all the doom and gloom of the float world to talk about the amazing things that floating has brought them. What they love, the things that surprised them, and the many ways in which they’re inspired to stick with it and pioneer in this wild and crazy industry.

Learning to Trust Your Gut in Business – DSP 357

Learning to Trust Your Gut in Business – DSP 357

Sometimes, the hardest part of starting any project is to just take the leap of faith complete step one. 

With some words of encouragement and caution, Graham & Ashkahn channel their inner Tony Robbins and encourage a highly knowledgeable aspiring float center owner, to trust their gut and start their float center.

How Long to Run a Filter Between Floats – DSP 356

How Long to Run a Filter Between Floats – DSP 356

How long should you run the filtration system for between floats? It’s an eternal question that has plagued float center owners since the dawn of time (Or at least until 1978 when the first float center opened up). 

Ashkahn and Graham break down the science behind why you should filter for as long as you do and how to properly plan for it. This densely packed episode is filled to the brim with a summary of knowledge on water dilution, filtration, flow meters, and water sanitation brought over to float tanks from the pool and spa world. Take notes as you listen, there’s a lot to assess.

How to Reward your Employees – DSP 355

How to Reward your Employees – DSP 355

Recognizing that your employees rock is one of the most valuable traits an employer can have, but only as long as said employer is able to properly acknowledge that appreciation. 

Graham and Ashkahn share their take on rewarding employees for their hard work and how to make it count when you want to give them a gift. The duo has no shortage of examples of how they’ve shown their appreciation at Float On, and this episode is dense with examples of nice gifts and rewards to provide staff, from the practical to the symbolic. 

Problems with Free Floats – DSP 354

Problems with Free Floats – DSP 354

The question asker today calls out Graham and Ashkahn on their most common marketing tip: giving away free floats!

The guys are put on trial and forced to defend the practice from someone who has experienced some major fallout from giving out floats to people. They offer some solid advice on how to make sure your free floats reach maximum effect and reassurance in the fact that it’s a relatively low risk practice.

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