Are you struggling to market your startup? Do you have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to reach your audience and get customers? Even if you have the greatest product, marketing your product may be more difficult than you think. This workshop will cover the most effective and unusual marketing tactics that work for startups. You’ll learn how to get big results with a small budget and compete against companies that have more money and more resources.
In this session marketing experts will share proven marketing strategies that get real results. This session will cover some of the best tips, secrets and unusual strategies that work to create raving and passionate fans for your company. This session isn’t marketing 101 - it focuses on low cost big impact opportunities specifically for startups and entrepreneurs.
Vic Gundotra will participate in a fireside chat with Guy Kawasaki to discuss the Google+ project. Vic will share how the product has grown since the initial launch, some of the lessons learned and the challenges the Google+ team faced along the way.
Congratulations: you've been acquired! First comes an initial high from the money and the attention.
Often company acquisitions that seem like a great idea result in disappointment, a mass exodus, the technology being tossed aside, and hard feelings on both sides. But every once in a while, an acquisition results in the team feeling like they got a big win, not just financially, but that it moved their product & careers forward in a way that would have taken them much longer otherwise.
During this core conversation, we'll share stories of acquisition successes (yes, they exist!), and draw out what worked well. The goal is to provide those that are looking to be acquired with some guidelines for what to watch out for, and how to pull it off as successfully as possible.
Most startup entrepreneurs, investors and incubators will tell you that two founders are better than one. What they won't tell you is two founders are more likely to try to kill each other - or at least kill their startup. Co-founder disasters are a bit of an industry taboo. We never hear about most of them. Many great entrepreneurs have had to sacrifice a beloved startup to learn valuable life lessons about working with partners. This panel brings together four entrepreneurs who lost their prior startups to infighting but survived to tell their tales in the hope that you can avoid some of their mistakes.
by Lyn Graft
Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication you have as an entrepreneur to assist you in starting a company, recruiting employees, raising capital, securing clients and getting press. Stories are universal and almost 100% relatable to people from all walks of life enabling the entrepreneur to inspire and catalyze an audience. Stories also help us structure meaning around complex situations and enable entrepreneurs to make the intangible tangible. Drawing from the experience gained from filming over 300 entrepreneurs, this panel is designed to share thoughts and examples on why and how storytelling should be weaved into your startup, launch and growth activities. Key points covered: Speaking from the heart and connecting emotionally with your audience; Crafting a memorable story and creating champions to share your story; making sure your baby is not ugly and stands apart from the crowd; and telling people why we do and what we do. Specific examples and techniques for digital storytelling will be shown and explained
You're David, they're Goliath. You're a small company, they are industry giants. You're fast and innovative. They move markets. You just wish they would move those markets in your direction!
How do you close that deal? How do you even get them to notice you? The good news is that big companies get big by working with innovative companies like you. The bad news is they also get big by stepping on companies like you.
How do you hold your own against big companies? Who can you trust and how much information can you trust them with? How do you decide which big deals to do and which ones to avoid?
This panel pits together three industry giants, Google, Intuit and American Express with two scrappy startups, BatchBlue and FreshBooks. After many rounds of negotiation, deals have been struck that have been lucrative for each party and a win for their mutual customers. Hear how these start-ups have built great relationships, launched successful partnerships and stayed in the game without being gobbled or squashed.
Technology startups are beginning to focus on traditional, regulated industries that until now haven’t seen many startup entrants. But taking on archaic, multi-billion-dollar industries isn’t easy. Startups face a variety of issues, from thorny regulations to apathetic customers demoralized by poor experiences, and competition from name-brand, established competitors. Building a new company in a regulated industry is a daunting task, but it holds the potential to transform an industry and dramatically improve the status quo.
by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. This talk draws on stories and insights from the book, explaining the new science of entrepreneurship. Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counterintuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
by Justin Fishner-Wolfson
Equity is the main driver of employee compensation at start-ups, yet a lot of the terminology and machinations around how to manage stock is shrouded in mystery. This session will explore how employees can maximize the returns from their hard work and how founders can structure equity packages to be the most lucrative tools possible for recruiting top talent while being fair to their employees. From day one, understand how to compare the financials behind job offers. Learn standard terms from vesting, cliffs, accelerations and triggers to the differences between incentive stock options (ISOs), non-qualified stock options (NSOs) and restricted stock units (RSUs). Know your options for maximizing the value of your equity including what it means to do an 83(b) election. Arm yourself with knowledge to hire qualified tax advisors and know what pitfalls to look for when talking to wealth management advisors. Find out what resources are available for free online and how to best protect yourself.
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?
The start up scene continues to thrive. You may have got funding and you may have an awesome product but how will you make those first key partnerships with clients and ad agencies? This is new territory for many blue chip clients and most ad agencies. They know they need to play in the start up space but they are afraid. All you guys are much younger, and cooler, you don't wear suits so how can we take you really seriously? How will I know whether you are the next FourSquare or the next pets.com? The panelists will be able to share all their different viewpoints. We have an investor and incubator, we have a recently funded start up making their first deals, we have an ad agency and we have the all important client who is making those purchasing decisions for her brand. We will hear from all of the panelists and then invite any start ups in the audience that would like some advice to ask questions. All the panelists are used to talking freely about the subject rather than inflicting death by powerpoint.
Tech startups have long known that a strong community will amplify a company’s successes, bolster growth, and make work worth waking up for. Today's unstoppable startups understand that putting community first means putting community management first. And yet, the field of online community management is still in its early days, and we haven’t stopped figuring it out as we go along. Through case studies and never-before-told stories of three veteran community managers from SoundCloud, Foursquare, and Airbnb, we’ll reveal what it takes to build a community to last.
In the capital of the latest tech boom, developers work late into the night creating the next big thing. But they take office culture just as seriously, fueling behavior that is reaching a level of froth not seen in a decade. Some web startups are partying like it's 1999. Companies say the fierce competition for talent among startups has necessitated extraordinary perks meant to attract and retain employees. But what makes startups a great place to work? Are they things like creative benefits, core values, philanthropy and dogs? This session is focused on creating uniquely successful and fun working environments with disruptive leaders from cleantech, healthcare, and enterprise tech startups.
We've all heard the story of The Technical Guy and The Business Guy getting together and starting a company. But what happens when a company puts User Experience at the helm? Hint: It doesn't just mean your product will be prettier!
Being UX-Driven means more than hiring a “UX person”—we’re not even sure that’s a requirement. Learn what it does mean by spending time looking through the eyes of some UX-minded founders who’ve shaped some of the most interesting products of the “10s.” Learn from these companies’ experiments, mistakes, challenges and wins—from Foodspotting’s decision to only allow positive ratings to Gowalla’s decision to let their community build their place database from scratch—and how tools like observation, metaphors, mantras and metrics drove them.
Whether you’re managing an established product or have or an idea you’re trying to get off the ground, you’ll leave armed with practical tools you can put to use as you strive to make your own company more UX-Driven.
In the evolution of a product, ideas are the seed but the execution is key, and what happens between those two stages can make or break a product's success. Designers are trained to think on their feet, be flexible, and not be afraid to start over or make mistakes. Similarly the key tenets of today's startup culture are to be lean, move quickly, and iterate often. In this environment, where risk and competition make innovation critical, companies must leverage design thinking to help define products, often by adapting the design process. In this multidisciplinary panel of technologists, designers, and entrepreneurs, key players in some of today's most successful mobile products will look at the "textbook" creative process in delivering user-centered results and delightful outcomes. Then, we'll talk about examples of what actually happens in the less black-and-white world of startup culture, and discuss what can be done to leverage design in the making of great products.
by Khoi Vinh
What comes after just reading on iPad? A new form of creation that's much closer to consumption than what we saw on desktops and laptops. Mixel co-founder and CEO Khoi Vinh takes a look at the journey that led him to create Mixel, the world's first social collage app. Its goal is to get non-artists making art, and Vinh will look at the ways in which the social network has met, exceeded and fallen short of that goal.
Startups are an important part of the American economy. Over the past three decades, companies less than five years old have accounted for nearly all net job creation in the United States. Yet, recent data on startups indicate that the startup engine is slowing down, as new businesses hire fewer employees than in the past. Led by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), policymakers in Washington are realizing the importance of entrepreneurs to job creation, innovation, and economic growth. To revive the startup engine and jump-start the economy, Senators Moran and Warner introduced legislation called The Startup Act.
The Startup Act is based on a simple premise: the easier it is for creative individuals to take risks and start a business, more jobs will be created. The Startup Act addresses the need to reduce regulatory burdens, rewards patient capital invested in startups, provides tax relief to help startups grow, supports research conducted at American universities that spurs innovation, and creates new opportunities for American-educated foreign students and entrepreneurs to stay in the United States where their high-tech skills and new ideas will fuel growth.
The Startup Act incorporates key recommendations made by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Kauffman Foundation, and entrepreneurs across the country. Senator Moran will speak about his bipartisan legislation and the urgency of capitalizing on the unique attention policymakers are currently giving to startups.
Ivy League degree? 401K? VP of what? Screw that. Entrepreneurship on a global scale is exploding, facilitated by a growing ecosystem of resources and supporting institutions to help startups succeed. However, there is a significant difference in quality amongst these varying institutions, people and content. In this panel we will help the audience discover and navigate the emerging startup support ecosystem. Whether you're currently fielding inquiries from Pepsi, applying to TechStars, or negotiating an angel investment for your third startup, the members of this panel will lend expertise within the following four core areas:
1. Tools: Startup Genome, Mixpanel and Kissmetrics which help you to track your progress and make better decisions
2. Supporting institutions: Accelerators, Service Providers, VCs, Market Entrance Partners
3. Science and Education of Entrepreneurship: Eric Ries, Steve Blank and other thought leaders release content that is transforming the way entrepreneurship is done.
4. Corporate Partnerships: working with companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, for better distribution, valuation and M&A.
More and more journalists are either facing layoffs or zero-job market around the world. Some of them take their passion online and start their own publications. Research project "Sustainable Business Models for Journalism" has interviewed these brave journos that have actually made the move to entrepreneurship _and_ are making living out of it. 30 very different cases from around the world - from international success stories (ArsTechnica) to small hyperlocal sites serving just 10.000 strong communities (DavidsonNews). What are the key elements for sustainability and how they are building a whole new ecosystem of news? The future of journalism is not built on grants, 401k's or VC funding. It's built on single individuals that are not afraid of long hours and wearing multiple hats.
It doesn't matter if you're a tech startup, ad agency or production company - getting the best talent on board is always key to making good ideas a great reality. How can new technologies help us identify, work with, and afford stellar skill sets? With crowdsourcing on one end and traditional approaches on the other, we'll explore the middle ground where new tools can help you assemble the craftiest team possible.
It’s not every startup that revolutionizes an industry, changing and sometimes reversing the direction of a long-standing space. But some, like our panelists, have done just that — Jawbone in re-shaping mobile lifestyle; Lytro in changing the way we take and experience photos; and Nest in re-defining the thermostat. These game-changing startups will share their secrets of success and give insight to how they developed the visions that have guided them to be true disruptors. We’ll also look at how more established disruptors – Google, Apple, etc. – changed the game and maintained a leadership position.
With the meteoric rise of Chicago-based Groupon, interest in the Windy City startup scene has spread to both coasts and beyond, bringing new companies and hundreds of millions of VC dollars to the region. This panel features top Chicago investors, entrepreneurs, and journalists with diverse perspectives on the emergence of a Chicago startup community. Combining lifelong Midwesterners and recent transplants, young founders and seasoned venture capitalists, the panel will discuss how the Chicago startup scene has evolved in the past year, what it will look like in 5, why they chose Chicago over New York and the Valley, and the unique challenges of building a business in the Midwest.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter were all startups once. Today they are some of the world’s most successful companies because they learned the first lesson to succeeding in a digital economy: take care of your users and they’ll take care of your business. To survive in today’s digital economy, where half of all purchases are made or influenced online, today’s largest companies will need to become truly digital businesses. Join Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, as he discusses his new book Users Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business and how companies can make the transformation to digital. Shapiro will outline the seven lessons large companies can learn from the smartest digital businesses around - startups and successful Internet companies - including how to evolve management, operations, marketing, and customer service around meeting user needs and driving sales in the process.
Start spreading the news...the New York City tech renaissance is underway. ‘Silicon Alley,’ as NYC’s booming tech startup cluster is known, has a vibrant culture with unique competitive advantages. Through its recent rapid expansion, Silicon Alley has outpaced Boston and begun to rival Silicon Valley. What will Silicon Alley look like in 10 years, and how does tech community collaboration and competition foster its growth? Can your startup 'Make it in NYC?' Join us as leading NYC entrepreneurs discuss the strategic factors contributing to the ongoing evolution of NYC’s diverse, cross-industry startup ecosystem.
In the strange new world of micro-entrepreneurship, roaming, independent publishers operate from Buenos Aires and Bangkok. Indian bloggers make $200,000 a year. Product launches from one-man or one-woman businesses bring in $100,000 in a single day, causing nervous bank managers to shut down the accounts when they don't understand what's happening. Oddly enough, many of these unusual businesses thrive by giving things away, recruiting a legion of fans and followers who support their paid work whenever it is finally offered. How is this possible? And how is this model different from all other Internet businesses? *** To be published by Crown/Random House in May 2012, 'The $100 Startup' is based on a comprehensive, multi-year study, and is accompanied by the world's first 7-continent book tour. This session at SXSW will be the first public presentation of the data.
9th–13th March 2012