How to save your early-stage startup from certain doom
In this session, Tom will combine anecdotes and data to highlight some of the oft-repeated mistakes that startups make when trying to get themselves moving. Listen and learn from the mistakes of those before you. Examples include: Too much listening to users, not listening to users enough, cargo cultism, not looking at competitors, comparables and corpses and, most importantly, blindly following advice from people on a stage who give you startup advice.
“My ‘Little’ Category: Lever the world to build your multi-billion dollar category outside of the Valley”
Silicon Valley appears to be a land filled with enchanted creatures – not just the proverbial unicorn, but also dragons, centaurs and My Little Ponies. Many denizens of the Valley claim that founders need to go there to create an enchanted startup. However, founders outside of the US have a major advantage, should they choose to use it – they are born global, and by taking advantage of the talent, capital and customers around the world, they have an opportunity to build something even more impressive, the global multi-billion dollar category creator.
Mark Organ was previously founder and CEO of Eloqua, the Toronto-based creator of the multi-billion dollar cloud-based marketing automation category, with over $10B of category market capitalization, with Eloqua itself sold for nearly $1B. Now CEO of Influitive, itself a creator of the advocate marketing category with over $50M raised, Mark draws on his experiences creating categories and studying several others to show to build not just a unicorn, but a company that defines an ecosystem to unlock tens of billions of dollars in value.
“Think big, be big”
As an entrepreneur in Canada, David was always focused on niches. Dominating a niche and avoiding the big guys seemed like a smart strategy, especially if the big guys were tech giants from the US. His time at Google has changed his perspective dramatically. It is generally easier to pursue bigger projects, in part because you can attract higher caliber employees and raise more money. He looks forward to discussing this counter-intuitive strategy in his home town, Montreal.
Roughly every decade, some kind of military or enterprise technology makes its way into the mainstream: the personal computer; the consumer Internet; the mobile phone; the Internet of Things. What happens when Big Data turns into a consumer product?
As a society, and even as a species, we haven’t properly understood just how fundamentally different it is to replace atoms with bits. What does it mean to be human in a connected world—and how prepared we are to deal with what comes next?
“Don’t pivot, persevere”
The Lean Startup movement has arguably changed the global startup landscape over the last few years, providing a simple methodology for resource and time-constrained companies to quickly learn from their customers and create products that people want. However, in practice, many of the teachings of the lean startup are easily misinterpreted, leading many startup founders to pivot too quickly and without proper validation (or invalidation). In the end, a founder needs to balance feedback from customers with their original vision for the business, and in many cases it is better to “persevere” than to “pivot”.
“Robots and poverty”
Technology and automation are changing the very nature of work. The answer is not to stop technological progress but to start thinking as big about poverty as we do about self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. The basic income is one such big idea, and would guarantee that everyone in a society had enough money to meet their basic needs.
“Disruption, disruption everywhere”
Digital Marketing is about as progressive as an industry as there is. The growth in this industry has created a very long (and very wide) runway. Many in digital marketing are considered the disrupters. Very similar to what you, as a startup, are doing today. Still, many in my industry went from being a “blue ocean” to a “bloody red sea.” How did this happen so fast? Who are the players? They are the same types of businesses that your startup needs to look out for. Beware! Just because you’re a disruptor, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be disrupted tomorrow!
“The state of the art in demon summoning, a.k.a. Artificial Intelligence”
Jana’s relationship with AI is a 25-year journey from using genetic algorithms to predict the maximum theoretical conductivity of certain polymers, to seeing if neural nets could help distinguish Paula Abdul’s voice from that of a backup singer’s, to expert systems that at this moment decide which driver is behind the wheel of any of tens of thousands of semi-tractor trailers.
Today, the most frequent AI question she gets, is whether Elon Musk is right: are we summoning the demons with AI? She’ll share with you a sorted version of machine intelligence to help you decide for yourself. She admits it will not be the sordid version of AI presented by people she respects greatly, like Mr. Musk, Mr. Hawking, and Mr. Gates.
You’ll learn the current state of machine learning, the players and their tribes, what’s possible today and a bit into the future, and where she worries and where not, from the perspective of someone who considers daily if she is, indeed, in the belly of the beast. She’ll be delighted to get your feedback and experience in questions during and after.
“Better empathy, better teams, better products”
Join Dylan Richard for a quick jaunt into how and why he focuses on building diverse teams. He’ll share lessons learned, as well as practical changes that Modest has made about how the company works and learns. And sadly, he’ll also talk a lot about how he’s failed.
The Better Block Project
The Better Block project began in Dallas, Texas in 2010 to help rapidly transform a neighbourhood block with high vacancy rates and auto-oriented streets into a vibrant, walkable, district complete with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, outdoor cafe seating, landscaping, and murals.
The project broke several outdated city ordinances to show how many of the rules and regulations that existed were holding back the potential for a great place to exist. Since that time, the Better Block has become an international movement occurring as far as Australia to Iran.
In this session, Better Block founder Jason Roberts will give you an inside look at how innovation, entrepreneurship, and the urban core generate new possibilities for the society in which we live.
How to change the world without losing your mind
You want to change the world. At your disposal is a set of tools past generations could only dream of, giving you new ways to engage communities, reach under-served audiences, and bring new resources to bear. You’ve got new media and awareness strategies, triggered by the rise of social media, that let you leverage established brands and their messaging in mutually beneficial ways.
There’s just one problem: how do you do it all without burning out and going crazy in the process? After 20 years as a successful businesswoman, Lia Grimanis set her sights on a big problem: helping homeless women and children to rebuild their lives. In this talk, Lia will look at social venture programs, grass-roots efforts for poverty reduction, and how to stay sane while you change the world.