Grab your coffee, a stack of business cards, and a big smile – it’s time for Dallas Startup Week 2015!
The inaugural, week-long event features dozens of panels, workshops, and events to help startups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area get going.
As a team of North Texas-natives, we were immediately thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from other movers and shakers in the area. But more than that, Dallas Startup Week offers aspiring entrepreneurs from every stage of the startup process the chance to connect to people who’ve been there before.
Sounds too good to be true right? That’s what we thought – but so far the real experience has been as wonderful as imagined. Below is some of the helpful information we’ve learned so far – and check back later in the week for all our favorite pieces of advice from Dallas Startup Week 2015.
Monday, March 2, 2015
What: Mobile Monday
What we learned: When reaching out to potential new clients, don’t be afraid of the cold call. Extra tip: Offer to bring by pizza in exchange for 15 minutes of their time.
The highlight: By far, the coolest part of the night was the opportunity to try out a real-life Oculus Rift. For those who aren’t familiar with this product, it offers a 3D experience that’s exciting, trippy, and a little nauseating.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
What we learned: There’s an awesome tech, startup community in Dallas that we didn’t even know about. There’s probably something like that in your community too – so start reaching out!
The highlight: Meeting local entrepreneurs who are interested in finding a better way to schedule their work, their groups, and all the fun stuff going on in their city.
What: The Real Deal with Hiring, Firing, & Building the Best Team for Your Business
Who: Erin O’Brien, GinzaMetrics
What we learned: Determine your personal red flags, because you need to be able to recognize what particular qualities do not mesh with you, your work personality, and the culture of your business. NOTE: Everyone’s red flags may be different.
The highlight: Erin O’Brien in general because she’s smart, frank, and hilarious. But specifically the ‘sidenotes’ on every one of her presentation slides.To see all of O’Brien’s awesome presentation, go to her SlideShare page here.
Wednesday, March 4
What: How to Create Mobile Apps – From Ideas, to Design, Development, and Beyond
Who: Greg Flory, Bottle Rocket
What we learned: Greg Flory knows a ton about making an app that people love. But just because the app rocks, doesn’t mean the right audience will find it. He says app companies should learn from their analytics and let users tell them what they want.
The highlight: This quote: “If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” – Howard H. Aiken (from the book “The Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun).
What: Product Hunt Happy Hour
Where: Fort Work, Dallas
Who: Jared Schaffer from The Tribe App, Geoffrey Byers of PassportPhone, and the masterminds behind DrawAttention, which makes a whiteboard that sticks on your laptop.
What we learned: Geoffrey Byers shared how they determined the first market for his company’s by finding where they’d have the smallest number of obstacles holding them back. This strategy helped them decide which groups of people to reach out to first, and determine what sort of marketing strategies to focus on.
The highlight: WOW – hard to decide because the entire talk was really interesting. But we would have to say DrawAttention’s Kyle Taylor sharing this very useful piece of info: “Apparently Germans really like whiteboards?”
Yes, Kyle. Yes we do.
Thursday, March 5
BAD WEATHER. BOO.
Luckily IgniteDFW got pushed back until Friday – can’t wait to attend!
Friday, March 6
What: House of Genius
Who: Nina Lowe, Co-Founder of Front Door Fashion
What We Learned: Establishing a target market and identifying price points within any industry are very important for any particular product. Also identifying where your consumers are (54% of new customers through Pinterest for Front Door Fashion) and what types of media they consume are key marketing strategies for business growth.
The Highlight: Having a panel of entrepreneurs and business consultants give feedback about her business was very rewarding. After a 5-minute pitch about her company, she was given feedback about the most strategic way to grow her business and answered questions about the company’s future. The floor was also opened to the audience to discuss growth possibilities, crowd funding, and exploratory verticals.
What: From Crowdfunding to Shark Tank: An Entrepreneurial Pursuit
Who: Corey Egan, Co-Founder and CEO of Ilumi
What We Learned: Finding an audience who is just as passionate about your product as you are could lead to a viable source of crowdfunding and fundraising. Overall, a company’s story or mission is an essential part of gaining customer acquisition and retention. Although getting an investor like Mark Cuban boosted brand visibility, it is the company’s story that kept momentum going after being on Shark Tank.
The Highlight: Learning the ins and outs of crowdfunding and how hard it is to become a sustainable business. Ultimately it is up to the founder of any company to understand the power or persistence and playing the numbers game when it comes to gaining consumers and investors. Receiving “no’s” helps construct business opportunities and valuable feedback to grow the company.
We had an absolute blast at Dallas Startup Week! We learned so much in terms of things we’re doing well and ways we can improve our business going into the future. We look forward to attending more events like this, networking, and joining more communities who have so much to share. Thanks to all the wonderful speakers and panels who served as part of this event. For more events like Dallas Startup Week follow allcal on social media for real-time updates on the cool stuff we’re getting into!