Good morning, All,
We will not be attending SxSW this year. Unless you have a reason to be there, save your money and your energy. Last year we had lunch with Brian Cohen (New York Angels) upon his return and he asked why we hadn’t attended. “Why did I need to be there?” I asked. “Because we were all there,” he answered, meaning investors.
It’s true. They are all there. So, if you do decide to go, how do you make the most of it? And this is more or less a general checklist for any conference that goes over several days, like Social Media Week, which is coming up this month in ten cities around the world, and which we will attend. Remember: neither is a sprint. Both are marathons:
1. Do your homework before you go. SxSW attendees: check the angel list and the VC funds and target the ones who invest in your vertical: they’ll be there.
2. Network, network, network.
3. Go to the parties, stay out way past your bedtime – and sleep in the next morning. You’d be surprised how much business gets done at night, and over drinks, so take advantage of it and …
4. Pace yourself – don’t get drunk. Nurse your drink. Singular. If you’re having a second, make sure it’s a nightcap, then leave.
5. Drink lots of water. Go easy on the 5-hour energy drink. Instead…
6. Power naps. Waaay underrated. You’re not running on empty: you’re recharged. Especially helpful if there’s an early session you want to attend the next day. You might actually make it! Seriously: nap for ½ an hour, before or after dinner.
7. Don’t skip meals – and never eat alone. Make plans to meet up with people, either before you go, or once you’re there.
8. Be social. Start conversations. ‘Hello,’ usually works. DO NOT LAUNCH INTO YOUR PITCH. Give it at least a little while. Have a conversation first. If you do launch into your pitch and see that it’s falling on deaf ears, give it a rest.
9. If that person you’ve been waiting to talk to looks like they’re in a hurry to get somewhere, DO NOT LAUNCH INTO YOUR PITCH. Introduce yourself, tell him/her you’d like to follow up at a later date, ask for their contact information – and follow up.
10. Have a wingman; don’t move in a pack. Divide and conquer is one thing, and with two, you cover more ground. In a pack? What if everyone wants to talk to the same investor/mentor/whatever? Instead of having that conversation, you may well find yourself gasping for air.
11. Follow up.
SouthBy is still a month off, and most attendees don’t even bother to buy a badge. They go to network, pure and simple. If you notice that there is a panelist you wanted to talk to/meet with, hang out around the venue and introduce yourself afterwards. If perchance someone else comes along whom you wanted to talk to, pivot. Carpe tempus.
It’s true that twitter and foursquare were runaway successes thanks to SouthBy, but consider: these are apps that deliver information in real time, and were useful to attendees. We can’t tell you how many invites to new apps we’ve been sent from SouthBy attendee friends over the years, and most were never to be heard of again. The apps, not the friends. Remember highlight? That was last year, and maybe enough people have downloaded it to make it useful at a SouthBy or SMW. Still, it’s not top of mind, like a twitter or a foursquare. Some never get there, so choose your venues wisely. Whether you’re heading to either or both shows, or neither: Get your rest, work on perfecting your startup, and conserve your energy for when it’s useful and/or meaningful. As I like to say, life is short, and so am I. Onward and forward.
Our next networking event is this Thursday: The Lean Movement: What You Need to Do – And Why You Probably Won’t Do It will be on February 7th Our speaker is Kelley Boyd, who has mentored at many a startup weekends here in NYC, helping companies to figure out their business/revenue models. And Kelley will be happy to give you a pointer or two. We’re also keeping the group small – 50 attendees max – so that everyone can participate. And network, of course. Her talk will center around observations about what kinds of work people do in startups and what kind of support startups need and when! You will hear her views of the differences in coaching, advising and mentoring and what kind you should expect to give and get from those relationships. We will chat about the lean movement and what really has to be done and why you probably won’t do it! Kelley is an early adopter market specialist with expertise in business and sales models, strategies, tactics. A veteran of 7 web 1.0 startups, 5 of which went public, were acquired OR in one case both! Proud carrier of a Fortune #1 Badge (you gotta come to learn what that is!). Kelley is expert in a range of technologies from inter-networking to data security. Of late she has dusted off her Sales 1001 skills and worked in the burgeoning “lean” ecosystem with a number of weekend groups and start up companies. She’ll also share a few fun stories about sales – breaking into enterprise companies, gaining trusted adviser status among Fortune 10 CEO’s, How I lost a global Exxon deal and designing the network for the “Smartest Guys in the Room!” Hope to see you there! To RSVP: http://bit.ly/W525WP
The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events
Startup Grind 2013, February 5-6, Mountainview, CA – 20% sos discount
Join us for Startup Grind 2013, a worldwide 2 day community event bringing together entrepreneurs and founders from every continent across the globe. Where better to host it than the heart of Silicon Valley? Not only will we have great Startup Grind networking and fireside chats, but we’ll also learn from the best and brightest entrepreneurs around the world as they educate and inspire us to push through 2013. Some things you can expect:
Be inspired by people and products we use and believe in.
Make the lasting friendships needed to survive our journey.
No panels. No startup booths. No pitching. Just founders helping founders.
Speakers will include Clayton Christensen (Innovator’s Dilemma), Mark Suster (Both Sides of the Table), George Zachary (Charles River Ventures), Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Bing Gordon (KPCB), Steve Blank, Ben Huh (Cheezburger Network), Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC), Leah Busque (TaskRabbit), and many more being announced soon. SOS member Perri Gorman will be on of the moderators – and she’s very good. That we can tell you from personal experience.
For more information and to register: http://sg2013.eventbrite.com/?discount=SOS4532#
NEW Social Media Week Google+ Hangout Contest Extended. Deadline: February 6th. Grand Prize: $5k. for more information and to apply, go here.
HEADS UP Last chance to register for Venture Summit | West 2013 is this Thursday, February 7th at midnight. Featuring more than 70 Top Innovators and more than 45 VC panelists. And we have an SOS discount code: code is sos and will save you $200 in addition to the current discount. PSOS: if you’re a startup that has raised less than $1 million, email email@example.com for an additional discount! Click Here to Register Now!
DreamIt Health, deadline February 8th. This is the first-ever Philadelphia-based health care accelerator. Powered by IBC and PennMedicine, this collaboration marks the first time a leading health insurer and a leading health care provider have come together in an accelerator to deliver the resources entrepreneurs need to capitalize on emerging health care opportunities. DreamIt Health’s 4-month program provides selected companies with a stipend up to $50,000 and office space, plus in-depth mentoring (which are uniquely assigned in a one-to-one fashion to each company), coaching from industry experts, and access to other critical health care-specific resources to rapidly develop and test its product. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/RQRqTc
NEW GE & StartUp Health: Deadline February 8th. This is a 3-year Entrepreneurship to provide expertise, resources and growth opportunities for consumer health companies.
NEW Pilot Health Tech NYC, deadline February 10th. This program matches early-stage healthcare technology companies with key NYC healthcare service organizations. It will provide funding of up to $100,000 each to 10 innovative pilot projects.
Reinventing NYC’s public pay phones, deadline February 18th to submit your design. More information here: http://bit.ly/YxXenH For the record, public pay phones were a crucial link for New Yorkers during Hurricane Sandy
Call for Nominations: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, deadline March 8th. Recognized as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the country, Ernst & Young is now calling for nominations in San Diego, Orange County, Greater Los Angeles, Northern California, Portland, Seattle and Utah for the 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. Details: http://bit.ly/UCDHeU
Global Apps to Empower Competition Seeks Apps to Educate and Empower Women Everywhere, deadline April 30th. Applications that best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to have their apps featured on Datawind’s $40 Ubislate educational tablet. That’s potentially a lot of computers – and a big win for the winning app! The UN is involved and the winning apps will be receive cash prizes, recognition (judges for the contest include Joanne Wilson, Vivek Wadhwa, Geena Davis. For more information and to apply: http://appstoempower.org/
NEW ER Accelerator now accepting applications for Summer 2013. Early application deadline: March 7th. Final deadline: April 19th. $40,000 investment 4-month program. Follow-on investment in future rounds. 200+ awesome mentors, including yours truly. Apply now.
DreamIt Ventures Accelerator Summer class is now accepting application. Deadline: March 15. It’s their third annual New York City Accelerator program, which will begin in mid-May and run to mid-August. The program offers $25,000 in seed funding, as well as collaborative work space, mentoring, exclusive speaking engagements with industry leaders, and an opportunity to pitch to investors on Demo Day. To apply as a company or an individual: http://www.dreamitventures.com/
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For you edification this week:
Twitter And Foursquare Explain Their SXSW Explosions: Hustle, Buzz, And Maybe $11K. Since we’re on the subject… Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. Ok, so it’s TechCrunch.
If you want to get to SxSW and have something to show for your trip there, there’s still time to jump on the startup bus. It’s where you and a team of strangers, on a bus, traveling at 60 MPH, have 72 hours to conceive, build and launch a startup. Go! (Or not.)
nReduce: The Free Online Startup Incubator. In case it might be of help to some of you. And thank you, Rene, for sharing.
6 Things You Need to Pivot Successfully. Pivot. We’re all familiar with the word — and many people now roll their eyes when they hear it. The word has been bastardized, overused, and taken out of context. But it doesn’t mean pivots aren’t important. Dont hate the word, hate the people that use it incorrectly and ignore its importance.
Milkshake Marketing. A fast food co wanted to increase its sales of milkshakes, did some research and realized 40% of milkshakes were being sold in the morning and customers were buying them because they helped to relieve the monotony of morning commutes, not just because they’re a tasty beverage. Its true competition: bagels and donuts. Know your product’s true ‘job.’
13 Reasons You’ll Never Quit Facebook. They missed #14: linkedin is really starting to lose sight of their core competancy. We’re personally now spending more time on facebook – for work.
Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!
Bonniefoods (that’s me) Valentine’s Day Truffle Special for SOS members in the continental US. We’ll add 50% more truffles and remember: they’re low fat, dairy free – and you’d never know by tasting these luxurious little morsels. When ordering, just mention SOS in the special instructions box, and if you’re coming to the event this Thursday, let us know and we’ll bring them along for you. And thank you for supporting a fellow entrepreneur!
And check out AlleyWatch, a new online publication covering the New York tech industry – and yours truly is Editor-in-Chief.
That’s it from us for now. Hope to see you at our event this Thursday or at another some time soon. Until then, as always, help is on the way…