The time has come. All the profiles I could write have been posted. All the appointments have been made. The plane tickets are confirmed. The rental car and hotel are reserved. Now it's game time for me. The reason I tried to crowdfund this thing and the reason I started this blog in the first place is here. Celebrate 2015 starts tomorrow.
I have reserved some time with a few workshops and mentor sessions. I tried to get some time with the topics I wanted to learn more about and hope you will care about. My focus will be on building teams and communities and money. I see those two areas as the biggest factors in the formula of success in any start up.
After the opening keynote Monday at 8am, I have reserved an office hour with Erica Duigan Minnihan. If there is anyone at this event who could answer questions about investments and deals with start ups, she is it. Check her LinkedIn profile for the deal she has handled and the business she built. My reaction is similar to that of a hungry zombie: BRAAAAAAAINS!
I plan to ask her questions like her judgments on the best Beta value for a discounted cash flow model for different industries. As I have studied the model and learned the calculations, the one thing with which I have difficulty is the Beta value. She will give me some great insight here.
I will also ask her about the value and strength of the dollar in the international market. While she may not have direct dealings with international start ups, she has tons of financial acumen I lack and would have a better view on the possibilities.
She will also be part of a panel talking about the current funding landscape and how to get your start up funded. Along with many others on the panel, this will be another great source of material.
I plan to be part of a workshop on Tuesday with John Fein of Techstars on how to nail investor meetings. Another great look at getting money for your start up.
I am trying to line up an excursion where I can get pitch coaching in Tony's personal suite. Still working on that.
Community and Team Building
On Monday, I have signed up for a team and talent workshop with Stacy Parson and Susan Cooney. Building and maintaining a great team is the biggest part of growing a start up. The best product ideas will die at the altar of the never ending meeting if no one is one the same page.
Additionally, I want to speak directly with Greg Tehven on how he helped build a strong start up community in Fargo, ND. I'm sure the oil money in the area helped immensely.
I have a mentor session with Dan Dodge on Tuesday. I want to ask him about the Blackberry and its platform. How he built its success and why it is now perceived as third best in a two-horse mobile platform race.
The community part is important to me as I work to build this site into a community where ideas are shared and researched among everyone. I hope I can be a gatekeeper and competent moderator. That means I must constantly refine my technique and grow my knowledge base to keep up. These people will help me with that process.
I plan to get video of as much as I can. I have enough storage to make it happen. Not everyone will want to be filmed, and that's ok. I still have a voice recorder and my laptop to document all of it.
I land in Las Vegas Sunday at 11:30. After I get my car, I will head downtown and get my bearings. I can't check into my hotel until 4pm. The VIP reception starts at 6pm and the main party starts at 7pm. Monday and Tuesday evening will be about talking to start up teams. I plan to speak with Picking Duck, HipPocket, GemPhones, PBX, and a new Twitter fan SunPort. The SunPort idea sounds fascinating.
I will get back to the hotel late all three nights. I hope I can hammer out a few quick posts before bed. The day will mostly be Tweets and quick videos about where I am going next. Direct messages and tweets are great. I will be using two hashtags: #startup and #celebrate 2015 if you are following.
Much of each morning will be about prep work and getting my notes straight. If there is something I catch that really looks great, the schedule will change, and I will tweet it out. Adjusting on the fly is what it's all about.
I fly out October 7 at 6pm. Most of Wednesday will be about compiling my thoughts and notes into a coherent form so I can post a few wrap up pieces. I can guarantee the postmortem will take a while.
I will not lie to you. This trip is also about networking for me. I need to create something positive soon as my student loan payment start date gets closer. If I can partner with someone and create some cash flow I will definitely do so.
Thanks for tuning in. This will be fun and hopefully the start of something exciting.