This week Flippa was at Startup Grind as a sponsor, speaker and also to showcase our offering to small business owners. Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect 2,000,000 entrepreneurs across 500 cities around the world. There were over 70 speakers and presentations across two days, from some of the most recent and exciting innovators. Here were my highlights from the two-day event.
Photo credits Alya Tau Photography
Ruud Hendriks (Startupbootcamp) interviewed by Simon Hudson (Privy)
To put it mildly, Ruud is something of a legend in the entrepreneurial world. The co-founder of Startup Boot Camps, a renowned accelerator program, Rudd started his career as a Dj on board pirate station Radio Caroline. From the beginning, Rudd’s interview was about determination, hard work and above all else ‘hustling’. He was so eager to become a DJ when he was 18, that in 1979 he spent 2 years on a pirate radio ship in the high seas. He later transitioned to a legal radio station and forged a career in TV broadcasting, rubbing shoulders with Rupert Murdoch.
From ‘deep despair to Youtube euphoria’ Ruud understands how hard it is to build a startup. Startup Boot Camp is now considered one of the top accelerator programs in the world and has helped over 100,000 startups.
Guy Kawasaki (Canva) interviewed by Jules Lund (TRIBE)
The next highlight was marketing specialist and Cheif Evangelist at Canva, Guy Kawasaki. Guy opened his interview with Jules Lund of Tribe by explaining how he got his title for his role at Canva. When asked why more companies don’t have evangelists, Guy replied “well there was Jesus before me”, much to the amusement of the audience. Guy went on to explain that the term ‘evangelist’ means “to bring good news”. Canva as an enterprise is ‘good news’. It allows non-designers (its user) to easily create beautiful designs, graphics and photographs. Guy started working at Canva after they reached out directly via Twitter and his VA vouched for the company.
When asked about his career and how his ‘hunger’ has evolved, Guy replied that it had actually decreased. An understandable response after such a successful career and three kids between the ages of 3 and 17. Guy followed up by saying, “No one will say at the end of their life, I wish I’d worked more”.
Guy then went on to talk a little bit about his time at Apple and how fear is a healthy thing. Fear “makes you train harder and it’s not about whether you have doubt, it’s whether you can push back against it”. Guy explains that doubt is “not a sign of weakness but a sign of intelligence”.When it comes to startups, Guy stressed the simple things that lots of us often forget. Startups don’t take off due to a lack of sales and “sales fix everything.” Do whatever you can to increase your sales in the early days and worry about everything else later.
Wild Wild West – Marketplace dynamics and learnings
Towards the end of day 2 Flippa’s CEO Blake Hutchison shared lessons from his first two months running a 9-year-old marketplace. Blake spoke about data, speed and humans in his presentation. Starting with data, he encouraged the audience not to “fly blind”. It’s important in businesses of all levels to understand where your revenue is being derived from and what segments of your audience to really focus on at any given time. He then spoke about speed – “don’t let yourself be affected by decision-making paralysis” because it’s important to make decisions swiftly in business. 8 weeks into becoming the CEO at Flippa, Blake introduced ID verification, targeted email lists, an improved escrow service and a post-sales offboarding team. The third thing that Blake spoke about which really resonated with the crowd was that “you do not work for a tech company, you work for a human company.” Blake discussed the emotional layer to tech companies and reminded the audience that “you can iterate quicker with people than you can with humans”.
Layne Beachley (8 x World Champion Surfer)
Champion surfer Layne’s conversation touched on how we as humans are hardwired to be negative. It’s a genetic pre-disposition within all of us. She also talked about fear, a hot topic throughout the conference and something relatable to all the entrepreneurs in the audience. Layne said that fear is something that is learned in today’s world and she spoke about a constant running commentary that goes on in our mind. It’s important that we “stop, take a deep breath and re-calibrate our mind”.
Layne shared her “3 C’s” which she lived by – courage, conviction and consistency. A champion for the belief that “choice not chance determines your destiny”, Layne’s talk was filled with self-affirming and motivating quotes and anecdotes. She finished up talking about how comparison leads to a sense of inadequacy, something we can all relate to.
Andi Chatterton (Ingenious.AI) – Bots for Enterprise
The final presentation that I found fascinating was Andi Chatterton’s, the founder of Ingenious.Ai. Ingenious.Ai helps businesses to build chat bot experiences so they can respond to their customers at any time. Chatbots live within channels people use every day and provide frictionless interactions. By 2020, “over 80% of customer interactions will be held without customer involvement”.
Andy spoke about the direction that chatbots are moving towards. They no longer need to learn an interface when reacting to human contact. In fact, in order for chatbots to evolve, a “new style of the broadcast is needed, where users can ask questions”. Conversational designers can now ensure that chatbots identify the tone of the user appropriately and accomplish goals efficiently. But while we’re looking to service AI, customers are also beginning to use AI on businesses. Andi spoke about how Google has developed AI that allows your phone to call a salon, interact with a receptionist and book you an appointment. Pretty amazing stuff!
In summary, Startup Grind was an awesome event with some really engaging speakers, fun panels and even a holiday to Bali up for grabs.