The last three days have been full of learning and growth. I knew I'd come away with plenty of great ideas and thoughts. Little did I know how much value I would take home with me. I kept it simple with two big thoughts.
The Best Thing Ever
The biggest "aha" moment of the event was a Customer Experience Architecture workshop on Tuesday with Lauren Fritsch. The interactive workshop provided a mapped path with real tools to help start ups create the experience they want for their customers across all parts of the brand experience regardless of where the customer was on the path at any given time.
For me this meant I now had a better way to answer the WHY question I'm so passionate about. The tools Lauren gave to the group showed each step start ups go through as they enter the market, define their product and value, build a user base, and then inevitably deal with the resistance to the solution provided.
I now have a better understanding of whom it is serve and how to get you to hopefully be my eternal champion. After the presentation, I was fortunate enough to give her my card and secure a 15 minute one-on-one session to be scheduled at a later date. She promised to put the presentation on SlideShare when she had time. I will pass it along when I get it.
Validating My Efforts
I struggle constantly with over estimating my own skill and worth. That's what got me into trouble with Erica Minnihan. When I knew I wanted to come to Las Vegas and build my blog, I decided to focus on creating so much value with my content it was impossible to ignore me. It was about embracing the grind and serving those who chose to consume my content.
On Monday, I attended the Next Level Results for Start Ups with Stacy Parson and Susan Cooney. I really enjoyed the presentation. It confirmed what I have always believed when it came to my overall makeup: I have the ability to commit to something I firmly believe I can accomplish, and I will expend ALL the energy I have on making it happen.
It was after the workshop where I realized how much impact my efforts up to that point had created. I was asking Susan a questions about communication and perception. She responded by saying passion and commitment work best in getting your point across. She believed I had it, and said she knew who I was even before I walked up to her.
I was completely humbled and happy all at once. Leading up to this, I was starting to believe I was talking into a black hole. Even at my most authentic, I felt like no one cared. That fact Susan said that without me fishing for a compliment made this entire trip worth it for me. I saw the results of my work make an impact, and it made me wonder if the traffic reports for my site were accurate or not.
After that revelation, my interactions with Elliot Volkman and Will Schmidt took on an new sense of worth. I most likely annoyed them to no end with my constant requests for feedback about my posts. Always one to seek to capitalize on an opportunity, I followed up on those interactions and I am now a contributing writer for Tech.co.
So Now What?
I have come to the realization the best way to tell a story is to be the story. I sought connections with start ups who were in the same boat as me. They had an idea and a little bit of traction, a lot of passion, and no real clue how to get to the next step.
I found many people just like me. We are now new friends. I gave out as many business cards as I could and got the same amount back. I followed every new friend's app on Twitter. I listened to their stories and rooted for them in the competition. I am selfishly upset no one I interviewed made the top five. I guess it's a reflection on my observational skills right now.
Moving forward, I have a vision, and now I need to develop a plan. The next five days will be about strategic planning. I hope Lauren connects with me so I can set up our chat. I want to squeeze as much out of that 15 minutes as humanly possible.
I will come back with a post Sunday evening. It will be the first step in my start up development plan. I hope you will come with me along this path and we can grow, learn, and make mistakes together.
Stick around, and we'll have a blast together.