I was fortunate enough to attend Startup School 2010 yesterday. #sus2010
Startup School is a day of learning for anyone with either early onset or chronic entrepreneurialism. I suffer chronically, but have it under control.
I was impressed with all the youthful, intelligent energy at the event. Unfortunately not a very diverse crowd, it was the usual male imbalance. C’mon guys….lets work on this.
The speaker lineup was pretty impressive:
Andy Bechtolsheim is the founder of Arista Networks and Sun Microsystems.
This was my favorite talk. I was elevated by his talk about the history of modern computing and the Internet. He blasted through all the essential building blocks of of our online world with microchips, personal computers, networking, open source, browsers, mobile and cloud computing. He left me with the realization that money and the business models applied were another essential building block for our online worlds. It will heavily influences where we go next.
Paul Graham is a partner with Y Combinator.
I learned a lot about VCs and Angels in a short period of time listening to Paul. I think Y Combinator is an excellent start in establishing a positive model for identifying technology talent and start-ups, and is one of the financial building blocks contributing to innovation, positive growth and ultimately the next Google for VCs to make a buck off of.
Andrew Mason is the founder of Groupon.
I have followed the success of Groupon in the blogosphere, but didn’t know much else. Andrew brought some serious start-up experience, and the story of Groupon. The one thing that has stuck with me, was Andrew stating how we try to translate things from the physical world and recreate them online, rather than starting over completely and appropriately using technology. Very powerful thinking to guide the next round of start-ups.
Tom Preston-Werner is the founder of GitHub.
Tom delivered one of the most important messages I have seen come out of all the tech start-up gatherings I’ve attended this year. The best way to avoid the problems start-ups face with Angels or VCs is don’t get involved with them. Bootstrap your start-up. If you have an idea you believe in, get the dedicated team you need and make it happen. This is an important message I feel gets lost in all these discussions around tech start-ups. Everyone is obsessed with the money.
Greg McAdoo is a Partner from Sequoia Capital.
I thought Greg was a very articulate and experienced voice from the VC community. I think entrepreneurs need to hear from VCs in these forums, and be exposed to how they work and what they are looking for. Not sure what I would take away from his talk.
Reid Hoffman is a partner in Greylock and the founder of LinkedIn.
I think Reid offered a dizzying but valuable perspective for start-ups, he provided insight from working with Paypal and LinkedIn. He was a little overwhelming in his delivery, and not sure what I walked away with. I may need to watch his presentation again to see what I remember.
Ron Conway is a partner with SV Angel.
I believe Ron truly gets the tech community and brings a wealth of wisdom and stability for the community. Ron Conway is what I think of when I hear the word Angel Investor. I believe Ron Conway’s definition of angel investing partnered with the Y Combinator model for idea cultiavtion and talent mentoring is the positive building block needed for the financing of the tech community mentioned by Andy Bechtolsheim.
Adam D’Angelo is the founder of Quora.
Even though I cringed throughout Adams talk because of his speaking skills I walked away with two important lessons. One, if you are a young aspiring entrepreneur go work in a tech start-up and get some necessary experience and perspective before embarking on your own start-up adventure. Two, when you do your start-up make sure and assemble the right team for the job. Your team should bring the experience and network you need to successfully, deliver your products and services.
Dalton Caldwell is the founder of Picplz and Imeem.
A common element of many start-up showcases I’ve seen lately are stories of failure. I’m relieved to see that these event coordinators see the value in bringing the tech start-up failure perspective to the table. Dalton delivered a funny and sobering story of Imeem, a music startup he survived and ultimately sold to MySpace. The lessons he learned by doing Imeem spoke to me deeply, because I started my Internet career in the music industry and quickly moved on because of similar frustrations. Tech entrepreneurship isn’t always filled with stories of joy and happiness, and Dalton delivered a great story of entrepreneurship.
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook.
I was very impressed with Mark’s interview. Other videos I’ve seen of him, he is very awkward and fumbles around. At start-up school he was very well spoken, engaged the audience and handled himself very confidently. He dealt with questions about the movie, The Social Network very well, and felt the most important piece they got wrong were the motives for building Facebook. He said they just couldn’t seem to grasp that someone would take on developing an project such as Facebook to just build something cool. I think the public is ready to understand the motives beyond most of the tech community, we really thrive on building and delivering tools that solve everyday problems.
Brian Chesky is the founder of Airbnb.
Brian I thought really delivered one of the most inspirational start-up stories of the day. I had heard of Airbnb, but did not know the whole story behind it. He delivered the timeline of his start-up over the 1000 days it took to develop,. evolved, and launch….and well relaunch the idea multiple times before it found success. He walked us through the entertaining saga, and showed the innovation behind what he calls a marketplace for space in the world. It is a great idea, and a great story behind an inspirational Y Combinator start-up.
I think the two most important things I took away from startup school 2010 was the important role of financing as a building block of the tech community, and how we really need to move beyond taking offline processes, add the Internet and call it innovation. We need to truly think outside of the box when it comes to solving problems with technology and financing these start-ups.
I was very thankful to have a chance to attend the Startup School and see some of the most innovative minds of our generation. So much more to think about. Thanks Audrey.