I had the pleasure of attending Big Omaha 2013 last week, and I learned a ton (as I normally do in these entrepreneurship and innovation conferences put on by Silicon Prairie News). Here are some of my highlights and important points that I took away from the conference.
Hover over the business name to go to their website.
Tony Conrad: About.me
- If you don’t think though the journey, think through the steps.
- If we don’t have core beliefs or an idea of true north, we aren’t going to get there.
- Believe in making the world a better place
- Innovators are the most important national treasure
- The most important startups aren’t starting businesses, they are starting movements
- About.me- wanted to give people more control over their online presence
- Google algorithms should not define you.
- My tweets don’t define me.
- If you’re going to spark a movement, you have to think about how you fit in
- Just because its cheaper than ever to start a company, doesn’t mean that you should
Megan Casey: Pack
- Tech people build communities
- Stand for something: boil it down to one thing you are going to stand for
- Openness without guidelines or admission can be bad for the Internet (spam)
- The most shared topic on pinterest and Instagram are photos of dogs
- Build small and beautiful
- The first 1000 people are the ones that are the foundation to your success and are the catalyst. Build the site for them.
- Psst: here’s my Pack profiles
Dr. Peter Hudson: iTriage
- Climbing fences: it all starts with a passion: Technology and innovation can help people climb over fences in their lives
- If you do your hobbies as your jobs, sometimes they start to feel like work.
- If you want a challenge, do something meaningful.
- Medicine may be practiced differently around the world, but we all have the same needs.
- Entrepreneurs should feel like they “can’t not do it”
- Start with user interface and user experience
- Reviews of your product are what really matters
- Unnecessary services in medical cost us $750b annually
- The US Government owns 50% of any dollar spent
- Your resume is not always a static piece of paper, it’s more like a facebook profile
- Provide free resources to consumers to engage patients in a different way
Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora: Back to the Roots
- Find other disruptive retailers (companies doing things differently in their industry) and get them to partner with you
- Find people that don’t look at what other people are always doing, they look into the future
- Opportunities and competition come through change
- P.S. The AquaFarm is awesome!
Catherine Rohr: Defy Ventures, Inc.
Catherine runs an organization that puts freed convicts through an MBA type education and training program. Her story was amazing and really made me reevaluate my prejudice against convicts.
- Non-white people get convicted more than white 20 more times, even though they deal/use the same amount.
- 1 in 15 people have been in jail
- 70% of people end up going back to prison
- 70% of children of convicts go to jail
- “If you were known for the worst thing you’ve ever done, what would your life be like?”
- “If you died today, why does your life matter?”
- Launched businesses from landscaping to real estate investments
Anil Dash: ThinkUp
Anil’s talk was one that you’d need to watch online to fully get how awesome it was.
- Introduce accountability to yourself. If your product sucks, refer your users to someone else.
- Public spaces are at their best when they let us do unexpected things
- If you’re not a jackass all the time, people will show up.
- We say no to people who might otherwise give us checks because we know that we can do better.
- “What if that succeeds? and what if that’s worse [that it succeeded]?”
Ben Milne: Dwolla
- Creation is greater than consumption
- Writing tweets is better than reading them….write content instead of just consuming it, you will attract people
- A pointed finger elicits a reaction, not a conversation
- Your team at work AND home has to handle your bad decisions at either place
- “I see more potential than what people had actually done already”…Not everybody really wants to grow that much. You can’t make decisions about who you want people to be without their permission. You can’t start making decision about who people should be.
- “Cut out the cancer”– what isn’t working for you at home and work
- Scale how you think, not how much work you do. There is a point where you can’t do more work. You need to be smarter about how you work
- Just say no to cubicles (they stifle creativity)!
- The more successful we become, the more successful people become
- Likes the Midwest because of traits unique to this area– holding open door, holding your tongue. Midwesterners stick together. (I agree!)
- Disagree respectfully.
- You need to accept that you will need to change more minds. Be ok with that.
- Respect that your employees’ children are relying on you for food.
- If you don’t like your job, quit. Stop waiting.
- There is no reason to assume that anyone will do anything for you. If you wait, all you will have is depressing stories about how people didn’t do anything for you.
- Avoid shiny shit: Be frugal.
- You are usually right about people when you meet them
- You will regret relationships with people that you knew were a bad idea initially.
- F*ck normal. It’s not important. If you are going to build something meaningful, you can’t be worried about what is normal. Your life is going to be abnormal.