Couldn't attend the conference? Here's a brief recap of the good stuff!
By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)
What an amazing and inspiring first day of our HowTo Conference!
We learned from women who have innovated at Google and Facebook, got inspired from amazing founders who have disrupted industries from travel to fashion and everything in between and got to see five early-stage startups nail their pitches on stage during our PITCH competition. To top off the day, Divine closed out with a live performance of his track #VClife - and it was epic.
- Yoky Matsuoka, the VP of Technology of Nest (acquired by Google), showed us how to make magic happen when machines and humans work together.
- Ruzwana Bashir and Tracy Sun -- two women who were poised to become doctors but founded their own startups instead -- showed us how to think different. They encouraged us to take risks earlier and reminded us that time heals. Remember, the bad times will pass. But the good times will pass too, so cherish them.
- Charles Hudson led a group of female technologists and founders in our business models panel. What did we learn? When you’re an early-stage startup, you absolutely must focus on how to create a positive experience for your users. Turn a bad experience into a good one, and the word-of-mouth referrals you need to grow will follow. Oh, and just because you don’t have your business model nailed down right now doesn’t mean you can’t arrive at one that works for you. Experiment and iterate your way there!
- In our lunch opening, Andrea Soto, the Chief of Staff to President of Operations & Technology at MasterCard reminded us how to have a sense of humor in your failures. The more you fail, the more you learn! And the more you fail, the less fearful you’ll be of it.
- We saw five amazing early-stage startups pitched on stage. WiseBanyan, JobBliss, RockYourBlock, LocalData and CheddarUp showed us how to innovate in investing, connecting freelancers with employers, helping teenagers find jobs, harnessing data for urban planning, and helping busy parents pay for group gifts. Five more startups will pitch tomorrow. Stay tuned tomorrow for the overall PITCH winner!
- Ellen Petry Leanse led an inspiring discussion with Mari Baker and Robin Hauser Reynolds. These women challenged us how to look into the future of tech. What will be that “remember when” conversation you have 10 years from now when gender disparity in tech is just a faint memory?
- Everett Harper shared with us the story about how he killed his company by not choosing the right partners. Now his company is going strong, but only because he learned how to partner up smart. He shared with us his tips on how to choose the right partners -- and lose the others.
- Thomas Korte discussed how to avoid startup pitfalls and failures. Some attendees told us they wish they would have been able to hear this four years ago before they launched their startup.
- Jocelyn Goldfein, angel investor and the former Director of Engineering at Facebook shared with us some awesome tips on how to deliver amazing products to the world. Hint: It starts with building building an amazing engineering team, which starts with pitching engineers like they are VCs who are going to invest in your company.
- And to close out the night, Divine showed us how to expand our horizons in a huge huge way. We loved, loved, LOVED his performance of VC Life and Venture Capitalist (Like Ben Horowitz).
Viewers at home, check the agenda to help you plan which sessions you want to watch (or listen) to on our livestream. Cheers to another incredible day of insights, inspiration and connection!
Remember, you can still drop by the Innovation Hall today for free!
*Photo by Elvina Beck
About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.