TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 has come to an end. But the wild ride ahead for many start ups is just beginning. Some of the best and brightest in the tech space shared their insights. Below are ten takeaways:
Relationships and marketing play a pivotal role with influence. Just ask Mark Schaefer. This means it's very difficult to measure the “Return of Investment” instantly after an event. Only time tells which relationships develop and materialize.
Putting a system in place is a smart way to measure your long-term Return on Influence. At big events like TechCrunch, it's important to massage these relationships early. Use an app like CardMunch which turns business cards into contacts. Or hashable to save and remember everyone you meet. Being organized only helps your cause.
2. Don't Launch your start up here
The launch of a startup should be centered around when its ready to launch – not some arbitrary event date. If you're worried about launching your product for an event, you're focusing on the wrong thing.Â Product first – then everything else. Of course if your company just so happens to be ready in time for TechCrunch, it can't hurt to have a presence. Just don't launch here. Too much noise. Too many distractions.
3. Ambient Technology is on the rise
Many of latest start ups are about making life more efficient and creating meaningful connections. We'll soon no longer see “social media” as something itself to talk about (it's about time). Itâll instead grow into letting technology run in the background to improve lives. This new intelligence will grow more integrated into our environment, disappearing into our surroundings until the only thing we notice is the user interface.
4. Serendipity is a dying force
Leaving things to chance is a dwindling past time. Fortunate discoveries will soon be completely in the hands of technology. This can be a good and bad thing depending on how we look at it. The good: Many daily problems will be solved. No more wasting time scouring the streets looking for a parking spot. Apps like ParkWhiz now allow us to reserve parking in advance. The bad: Our desires will be anticipated without conscious thought. (This can also be perceived as good, depending on the situation on how we look at it). Finding that rock star parking spot won't bring us as much joy – because things will no longer be accidental.
I, for one, would love more serendipity in daily life/interactions. But the way technology is heading (in the tech/business world) appears to be more cold, distant, matter of fact – dictated by algorithms. We're now able to plan in-person activities online, which leave less room for chance…”serendipity.” Of course, pleasant surprises can still happen virtually – I just don't see them as amusing or intriguing.
5. Nothing beats face to face
Real human interaction is a million times better than an avatar. Talking in-person goes so much further.
6. Word of mouth is alive and well
While marketing in general is crucial, organic growth through word of mouth is always preferred.Only at an event like TechCrunch can we step away from technology and learn just as much in-person as we would anywhere else. Simply talking with others to hear about the latest and greatest goes far. And it's sometimes the best way to learn.
7. Sometimes arrogance is also known as ‘shyness'
I borrowed this from @alexia of TechCrunch and it couldn't be more true. Don't take it personally or assume things if people respond or act a certain way. People are complex. Take their actions or way of behaving with a grain of salt.
8. It's More Important to Socialize Instead of work
The ultimate dilemma of the workaholic: To work, or not to work at a major industry event? It's hard to step away from working your typical job. If you can pay someone to monitor your business for a few hours, it'll be well worth it. If not, give your customers a heads up that you'll be busy at an event. Unless you're a hacker at the hackathon, it's not cool to be engaging with your laptop instead of with others.
9. Working the Hustle is Not Overrated
Whether it's to meet new people, get the attention of press, or potential investors, show up early and work late. Mostly work late. (Or at least be at the parties that happen at night). Empirically, entrepreneurs aren't morning people. With this comes an unpredictable lifestyle which can mean cranky mornings. Whether you're a morning person or not, get it done. No excuses. No complaining.
10. Doing Your Homework Pays Off
Research the companies and people behind them prior to showing up at the event. You most likely won't have time once you get there. The research and insight you glean will arm you with knowledge that can be used as talking points in conversations.
What takeaways would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know.