10 Things I Learned From the Founders at F.ounders 2011

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By Lindsay Harper (Founder, Swayable) F.ounders Dublin was truly the most amazing networking experience I’ve ever had. Having an extensive background in experience marketing, this high praise to be sure. I’m still trying to fully process the entire experience a full 2 days after being home.

I was invited to attend F.ounders last spring, and am very honored to have been included in the 150 founders from around the world. Seattle was represented by myself and Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO.

The structure of this global event is brilliant -- 3 tiers of founders; those that have built era0defining companies, those who’s companies are growing very quickly and are on that same path, and those (like Swayable i.e. the company I am a founder of) who are just starting out.

10 Things I Learned from the Founders at F.ounders Dublin:

  1. All founders are willing to talk to you about their experience, give honest feedback and frankly are very approachable, just be confident and ask.
  2. Regardless of current company size, scale or influence, founders have common ground of taking risks and persevering.
  3. All successful founders have all had failures and keep coming back for more by learning from those experience and being empowered to do better next time vs. letting it crush them.
  4. There was a common business theme: Listen to your customers and pivot as needed, even if it goes a bit against what you thought your initial vision was.
  5. Entrepreneurs share a kinship. The entrepreneurial spirit is in your blood; it’s part of who you are.
  6. All the founders have a contagious level of passion for their business that comes to life in the way they discuss and represent it.
  7. There is an automatic level of empathy and understanding when speaking to another founder.
  8. Founders all have passions outside of business. They throw themselves into these varied pursuits equally as hard and with as much gusto as they possibly can.
  9. Founders all recognize that there is an element of luck and timing that is out of our control, it’s all part of being an entrepreneur and taking risks.
  10. Every founders “elevator” pitch was finely tuned and rehearsed like a memorable speech. I could understand what nearly every company does within 30 seconds or less. Polished and personal, genius!

I have to admit, I was rather intimidated when I landed in Dublin. To be in the company of founders and CEO’s of leading world class companies that I not only use products of, but also have much admiration. For those of us who are not geeks, it’s the equivalent to being invited backstage at a rock concert of your favorite mega artist, “and” an invitation to the private all-night after party…

When all the people in the same room are entrepreneurs who have created companies and have taken personal risks along the way, you find common ground very quickly.

There are numerous recaps and posts about all the events and happenings at F.ounders, (I’ve listed them at the end of this post,) I wanted to share some key insights as a startup that I came away with that has given me renewed passion, fire under my feet and inspiration to keep pursuing, taking risks and perservering.

Here are some great recaps and details from other outlets:

The event is truly a once in a lifetime experience, I hope that F.ounders keeps inviting new Founders each year so others can experience the magic of this event. I also know, for those of you I didn’t get to meet at the event, we will instantly connect on this shared, amazing experience. Thank you Paddy Cosgrave and team for an amazing life experience.

This post was originally posted at Lindsey Harper's blog.

Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Lindsey Harper has over 13 years of experience in project management, event management and marketing consulting. Since 1998, she's been building, marketing and selling small websites as a hobby. By 2008, she sold all her "hobby" sites on Sitepoint.com and focused on her marketing consulting business. Currently, she is working on Swayable and blogs about her startup experience at www.harperlindsey.com. Follow her on Twitter at @harperlindsey.