A Brief History of Buddhist Geeks


Buddhist Geeks is born out of a conversation between two friends and Naropa University students, Vincent Horn and Ryan Oelke, at a coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado. They see an opportunity to combine their geeky skills together with their passion for Buddhist practice.


The Buddhist Geeks Podcast launches and becomes an instant hit among tech-savvy Buddhists looking for a fresh perspective on what it means to be a modern-day practitioner.


The Podcast passes 1 million unique downloads.


The Podcast continues to grow, and is now being downloaded over 100,000 times / month.


In an attempt to take Buddhist Geeks to another level, Vincent creates the micropatronage system, inviting the Buddhist Geeks to help him raise enough money to work full-time on the project, plus develop the Conference. The success of the micropatronage drive makes it abundantly clear that Buddhist Geeks is something closer to a movement or community. Vincent quits his full-time job to work exclusively on Buddhist Geeks.


Buddhist Geeks leaves the purely digital world with its first in-person event, the Buddhist Geeks Conference–a kind of TED Conference for 21st century practitioners. The first event, held in Los Angeles, is received extremely well with nearly 200 people in attendance, and ends up being featured in several publications including Fast Company, Tricycle, and the Los Angeles Times.

Buddhist Geeks Kickstarts it’s next Conference, becoming one of the first organizations to successfully crowdfund a live conference.

Buddhist Geeks brings on it’s first outside team member, Kelly “Sosan” Bearer, to rock out the Conference. Kelly brings her experience of event production–having produced over 50 conference and retreats–and her background in Zen to the Buddhist Geeks mix.


Vincent Horn and Rohan Gunatillake are featured in Wired UK’s cover story: Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world.

The Buddhist Geeks Conference is held again, returning to its original home of Boulder, Colorado, with nearly 300 people attending this year’s event. The Geeks can’t escape Niwot’s Curse.

Vincent and Emily Horn co-design a new format for doing intensive practice, in virtual space, called the Life Retreat. The first Life Retreat fills up in 11 days and Emily joins the team to continue developing the Life Retreat as a Buddhist Geeks project.

The Buddhist Geeks bring on a small amount of investment, so they can take things to another level, again. They are supported by investor & mentor Jerry Colonna, who is sometimes called The Yoda of Silicon Alley. Jerry begins schooling the geeks on cash flow budgets and business as contemplative practice.


Buddhist Geeks re-launches with a new site and integrates the Life Retreat project–an innovative new retreat model design for the modern world, and done completely online. They also add in some feminine flavor to the new site, with a new female geek logo. Move over guys, there’s a new lady in town.