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Startup Corner: Ethan Bryan, Catch 365 blog

Springfield’s startup community is here. Take the pulse.

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Minimally viable product …
I am an author, poet and storyteller. I have 10 books published and have spoken to a wide variety of audiences over the years. Most of my stories are told through the lens of baseball and are ridiculously hope-filled narratives of chasing audacious dreams, never giving up and learning how to live a good story.

Problem solving …
For 2018, inspired by both of my daughters, I’m playing catch every single day. Maybe I’m not solving a problem, but each day I look for someone willing to toss a ball with me, take a selfie and share a story of how baseball brings people together. When shared my quest in January, I got a small taste of the viral life with stories posted on CBS, ABC, Inside Edition and K-LOVE. How many junior varsity baseball players get the opportunity to write stories about playing catch?

Seed money …
I have no seed money.

Hurdles overcome …
So far, I have overcome one seemingly never-ending Missouri winter, one weeklong cold and about three weeks’ worth of incredibly sore muscles.

Next phase …
The next audacious step in this journey is a 10-day catch-playing trip across the Midwest: Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Davenport, Rockford, Chicago. Meet new friends, play catch and write stories. I am convinced there are nonprofits and local businesses that would like to partner in such a venture; I just have yet to meet them.

Pivot …
I am an introvert. I am used to spending the majority of the time my daughters are at school wrestling with words and working on various writing projects. Because of Catch 365, I am now actively seeking and scheduling catch playing opportunities. Of course, I accrue rejections at a ridiculous pace, but I also get to meet some fascinating people I never would have otherwise. Some people I’ve played catch with: Kyle McClellan, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher; Jim Morris, whose life story was made into a movie, “The Rookie”; and Keith Guttin, Missouri State University’s longtime baseball coach.

Biggest mistake …
I wish I would have driven to Royals Alumni Fantasy Camp in Surprise, Arizona. Although I could not have afforded to pay to play baseball that week, that might have been my best chance to play catch with Bo Jackson.

Worst advice received …
“Creative work is selfish and a desperate plea for attention.”

Greatest need …
There are still more than 200 unscheduled catch-playing days this year. Anyone want to sponsor a road trip or two?


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