A surprisingly high percentage of entrepreneurs derail their startups because they fall in love with their idea. Emotional attachment to an idea leads to premature scaling and a number of other dangers. But, passion is a sacred topic among founders, who are often just as passionate about their passion as about their startups. Too often, we entrepreneurs equate rigorous scrutiny of our ideas with “negative thinking.” In this workshop we will transcend the false dichotomy between "positive" and "negative" thinking, and explore how entrepreneurial passion can bring danger along with its obvious benefits. Drawing on the latest psychological and business research, we will show how to scrutinize and strengthen your startup idea in a way that deepens your passion and confidence, and elevates your odds of success.
With easy access to new technologies, resources, and ideas, more and more startups outside the Valley and the Alley are finding early success in places like Kansas City, Missouri and Des Moines, Iowa.Having assisted or launched several startups outside the traditional ecosystems, Dwolla’s Ben Milne and Zaarly’s Bo Fishback will discuss the role that the Internet has had in leveling the playing field for the builders of the 21st century. Moderated by Big Omaha and Silicon Prairie News founder, Jeff Slobotski, the candid conversation will provide audiences an unfettered, behind-the-scenes look at how one region is overcoming the odds and cultivating an entirely new kind of startup manifesto."
In June 2011, Vivek Wadhwa wrote that we need a black Mark Zuckerberg. But, what about Markia? Is it hard to imagine that the next big thing could come from a Black woman living in an urban environment instead of one of Indian or Asian descent? What about a woman with Spanish as her first language? Where are the Black, Latino, and female Mark Zuckerbergs? There are plenty of underrepresented minorities and women who have achieved success in the tech field, but not to the level of a Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. It is a mission impossible or more like improbable?This is not a session that will re-hash and re-frame this familiar problem. This session will present out-of-the-box-thinking solutions to address the issue of diversity head on. It will also present challenges to and action items for attendees that will help to move the needle forward to truly increase diversity in the tech community.
Tools like Nike Plus and FitBit, apps like Lose It, Run Keeper, and Skimble, and communities like Daily Burn and Spark People are helping to change everyday workouts from a solitary to a social pursuit. The magic of these devices, tools, and communities enables people to track their fitness, undertake fitness programs, track and share their progress overtime, and learn from peers and professionals. This panel will look at where it’s all headed and what it means for everyday interactive experiences. Conversation will include the provocative question: can the Internet make you fit?
While TechCrunch, GigaOM, ReadWriteWeb and other major tech blogs inform tech enthusiasts of the more exciting and press-savvy startups, tech blogs such as Silicon Florist, Silicon Prairie News, TECHdotMN and Technically Philly are dedicated to continual coverage of both the loud and quiet startups in their area. This panel will look at the importance of regional tech blogs, how they got their start, revenue models and methods of gathering story leads as well as case studies of startups they've discovered that have gone on to capture national and international press.
Entrepreneurs often pitch their ideas as “the X of Y”. Match.com for farmers… Foursquare for parking lots… Gilt Groupe for grandparents. It is both efficient and lucrative to take what already works and extend it to a new niche, a new country or a new context. Innovation through localization or specialization has launched many successful businesses.
On the flip side, say you have a truly innovative and disruptive idea. Good for you! That’s only the beginning. Companies like Groupon and Gilt launched with unique business models, but now they each have a slew of imitators and have spent fortunes to stay at the front of the pack. In a time of easy capital, fast development and expensive intellectual property rights, how else besides capital can a company stay defensible?
9th–13th March 2012