Last week I had the good fortune of attending the 2013 GROW Conference, held at the new Vancouver Convention Centre. We were given the opportunity to present Mojio to an audience of world class entrepreneurs, investors and media in the tech sector, so we had to step up our game. While attending the conference, here’s a few things I learned:
Stand out from the crowd: At a conference you can get more networking done in a couple days than you’d otherwise get in a whole year, and for a fraction of the cost of travel to meet so many people. You can get your story in front of very influential people that no amount of cold calling could ever get for you. So get out there, get in front of people, and be present to others. You’re there to meet new people, so ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you open your mouth. I always find it surprising how many people were thinking the same thing I was when I start asking questions. Not everyone is in expert in every subject at these events.
Own your idea/don’t be so f*ckin’ Canadian: (Thanks Debbie!) Being seen as a thought leader requires bravado. No one wants to watch someone talk about a big future with a timid or at best, a hopeful voice. Whatever it is that you’re up to, you’ve got to own it with your entire being. Don’t be mesmerized by what you’re doing. Talk about the future as you see it, like it’s right here, right now.
Perfect your pitch: Practice telling your story over and over, in front of the mirror, in front of friends, anybody who’ll listen. Get feedback, refine it, hone it, and watch their body language as you speak. Maybe most importantly, listen to their feedback and consider all of it, without losing sight of your vision.
Find the balance between confidence and humility: Some of the best entrepreneurs go from bust to boom to bust again. You’re only as good as your last startup, so while you do need to pound your chest when telling your story, do it with humility. An idea is only as good as the people that stand behind it. As the entrepreneur representing your idea in the early days, these people are really standing behind you. Give them a reason to believe in you.
The fruit is at the end of the skinny branches in life. So get out on a limb and take some chances. By embracing uncertainty and being present to your surroundings, you’ll find yourself at the receiving end of what successful entrepreneurs frequently call ‘luck’.
(L-R) Andreea, Darren, Jay, Narayan, Paul and David at the Mojio booth.
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