5 things i learnt from futurefoward conference #ff2009
so there weren’t exactly and only 5 things that i learnt from the futureforward conference i attended on thursday, but one of things i did learn from @chrisbrogan (seated right in the photo); ‘for whatever reason, when you put a number in front of your blog title, it has a higher chance of getting read. if you want to write an article, ‘i hate lebron james’, you should in fact title it, ‘5 reasons why i hate lebron james’. so i guess that’s one. credit were credit was due, he was as awesome in person speaking as he is online blogging. a couple of other side tips, he recommends caused based marketing (marketing yourself or your company related to a specific cause) and promote others (either on twitter or your blog, almost like a malcolm gladwell-esq ‘connector’).
staying with social media, lesson two comes from @edwardboches, chief creative officer of mullens (seated left in the photo, the guy in the middle is brian @bhalligan, @hubspot ceo), and that was how to balance the strengths of experienced content creators with digital natives to have maximum impact on consumers. the point was that, sure, young people have been brought up on the internet, we don’t use books and print, we were on facebook first, we know about social networking, we use social media for news, not traditional mass media, but that doesn’t mean we know about strategy. in fact, in many cases we don’t know the meaning of the word. you ask many young, first-time founders, and we’ll tell you about our crazy ideas, and we’re often okay with the short-term tactics, but breaking them down into strategic, high-level thinking is a different challenge. that’s what we have our advisors for at blank label. i don’t have any expertise in anything, but it’d be just down-right stupid of me to think that i know how to think 12 month, 3 year and 5 year strategy for technology, online marketing or fulfillment. again, that’s why we have three advisors in those verticals to help us with that.
lesson three came from one my favorite people in boston, @billwarner; ‘angel investing is a really bad way to make money, but i do it really because i see it as an honor’. now the lesson to me was that if i could ever find an angel investor like that, i’d be pretty stoked. with angel investing moving ‘so professional’, it was just really nice to hear that there are still people like bill, even if he is the exception and not the rule.
being a narcoleptic, my lesson number four was fairly interesting, and it comes from ben rubin, co-founder and cto of zeo. ben calls it a personal sleep coach which tracks your daily sleep patterns, and educates on how to get better sleep. his story was fascinating to me because i haven’t met any young entrepreneurs with his kind of patience. zeo got to market 3 months ago, after six years, starting from junior year at brown. i said one of the most ignorant things of my life over the summer. to one of our advisors, i frustratingly asked, ‘i’ve been working on this for a whole year, why aren’t i successful yet!’. ha! HA! ben’s story of belief, passion, and vision was pretty inspiring, and i wish him the best of luck.
so i go to a lot of events, and sometimes i worry that i go too many. at the conclusion of the day’s events, i was chatting with john landry, angel investor and founder of lead dog ventures, and joe caruso, angel investor and founder of bantam group, comes over, interjects, and says to john, ‘i don’t know if this guy’s a good entrepreneur, but he’s a damn good networker’. now the point of mentioning this was 30% self promotion and 70% passing on a lesson, lesson five, that you really want it to be other way around. i will continue to network because i think it’s fundamentally important to me. i) it’s motivating to meet smart, successful people. ii) you get interesting feedback and perspective. iii) you receive encouragement and validation. but those things only work if you have a startup that is making useful progress.
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