Notes from INNOVATE Boston

Ask questions only once you have completely exhausted your own resources. (Really?)

“VSnap” : for storytellers. Send short videos in lieu of emails. “90% of communication is nonverbal. So we want to enable full-body communication.”

  • “You’re about 40% more likely to do what I’m asking if I ask visually rather than solely through text.”
  • Make sure people know what’s at stake. So, what’s at stake for VSnap? The capacity to engage consumers, clients, and customers in more personal ways will have a huge impact on empowering them to make choices.
  • Balance confidence and humility: you need enough confidence to keep the vision, and enough humility to listen to your team and your customers.

“Matchbox”

  • Do fun stuff.
  • Do big stuff. Transformative stuff is hella fun.
  • Scratch your own itch.

“PromoBoxx”

  • Powerpoint sucks. Tell stories.
  • Budweiser, Coke, Frito-Lay: there to help retailers do well. (huh!)
  • Engage, involve, empower your customers / clients / consumers. They will reward you for it.
  • Try to walk away. If you can’t walk away from your idea, then it’s good.
  • Fail as fast as possible. Learn through failure. Recognize failure ASAP, and move on.

“BostInno”

  • Focus! As a generalist, you have a wild perspective. Leverage it deeply.
  • Learn about something by writing about it.
  • Develop a framework for filtering the good advice from the bad advice.
  • Take your time with the hiring process. This is human relations, after all. Your margin for error is pretty low.

Coachup

  • Mentors and coaches are critical. You can only teach yourself so much. (Hacker principle: never solve the same problem twice; if someone else did it first, learn from them.)
  • Valuable markets are those that let craftspeople stick to their craft; let the market handle marketing, vetting, etc.
  • Keep the vision. Stay true to the vision.
  • Don’t worry about secrecy. You need a team. You need friends. Solicit help. Talk to people. Meet your clients. Learn.
  • It’s important to spend a lot of time with the folks you’re going to bring onto your core team. Take time to meet them and learn them and build a great chemistry. Get to know them.

Misc:

  • We call it “The Startup World”. Why? Because it’s so insular? Because it’s so different?
  • Most of the successful entrepreneurs I meet have really solid mentors and advisors.

Importance of Mentorship (I asked about this)

  • Every call could be the call that leads to something big.
  • Kiss a lot of frogs. Go down every path. You never know when you’ll find treasure.
  • Tap into the community. Help, and be helped.
  • Trust your team. Trust your mentors. Good relationships are built on trust.
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