August 11, 2014

Top takeaways from a growth hacking conference

Rand-Fishkin
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, speaking at the Weapons of Mass Distribution conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Make sure your content is unique, relevant and looks great

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaToday, it seems, just about all startups — and even more mature companies — want to wield the growth hacking buzzsaw. Growth hacking was the theme that drew several hundred marketers, entrepreneurs and business strategists to the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco on Thursday for the fancifully named Weapons of Mass Distribution conference put on by 500 Startups.

And while growth hacking may be hot hot hot right now — even marketing consultant Sean Ellis, who coined the term, was on hand — the impressive lineup of speakers made it clear that to succeed, a new enterprise can’t spin flax into gold. You’ve got to have some kick-ass idea to begin with, and you have to have a product team that knows how to execute. And then, yes, by all means, call in the growth hackers and marketers to run the numbers, size up your analytics, get feedback from customers, and create a virtuous product development loop that fast-tracks your company on to its inevitable trajectory of fame, riches and a guest spot on Jason Calacanis’s “This Week in Startups” podcast.

I captured some of the magic on stage and in the room in this Flickr photo set. (Ah, Flickr, you were on that fast track once!) Continue reading

December 11, 2013

Lean Startup: Highlights, photos & takeaways

Steve-Blank
Steve Blank at yesterday’s Lean Startup conference. Blank developed the Customer Development methodology, which launched the Lean Startup movement. (Photo by JD Lasica)

Insights from founders, execs & Lean practitioners

Target audience: Startup teams, founders, innovators, product managers, business executives, social business strategists, educators, Web publishers.

JD LasicaOver the years I’ve attended or spoken at scores of conferences, across the country and on four continents. Lately I’ve been drawn to startup conferences like Launch (the next one is coming up Feb. 24-26) and TechCrunch Disrupt.

Monday and Tuesday I attended my first Lean Startup Conference, at San Francisco’s Masonic Center and Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. Here’s my festive Flickr set.

The Lean Startup movement, inspired by author and Stanford professor Steve Blank and popularized by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup, is, in Wikipedia’s words, “a method for developing businesses and products [to help startups] shorten their product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and what he [Ries] calls ‘validated learning.’ ” Continue reading

October 2, 2013

Photos of Launch conference for mobile startups

pablo-sandoval
Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, former World Series MVP, demonstrated Zepp at Launch Mobile.

JD LasicaIspent the past two days at Launch Mobile & Wearables, a gathering of several hundred entrepreneurs, technologists and startup staffers in San Francisco organized by entrepreneur/VC Jason Calacanis and his team.

As usual, I did more tweeting than blogging, but I also captured more than 60 photos of the event, seen in the Flickr set above. (I still love you, Flickr!)

The grand prize winners were three startups:

SoundHound, a brilliant bit of software that helps users identify songs, summon up song lyrics on the spot, conduct voice search (including identifying radio segments) and much more.

Zepp Labs, which trotted out Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants and former Giants star JT Snow to show off a multi-sport training system, tiny sensors — and big crack of the bat.

MyTime, which lets you book appointments online with top-rated merchants, such as massage therapists, dentists, hair stylists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and other services.

I agree with the judges — terrific selections, all worth a look.

September 12, 2013

Photos of TechCrunch Disrupt 2013

mark-zuckerberg

JD LasicaIthink this is the seventh year of TechCrunch Disrupt in all its incarnations, and I’ve been to them all. Yesterday I wrote about some new social travel startups making their debut, and today I’m sharing my photos of the event.

Here’s my Flickr set of TechCrunch Disrupt (remember Flickr? I still prefer it to Facebook for sharing photos), and I’ll be adding more later today.

While some of the mainstays of the tech scene — Marissa Mayer, John Doerr, Jeff Weiner — remain the same from year to year, the new founders and startup teams — from startups like Udacity, Lyft and Snapchat — are what give TechCrunch conferences their sizzle. See if you recognize anyone! 

August 28, 2013

Worst business advice given to women founders

Women 2.0 - Business Advice to Ignore

The entrepreneurs of Women 2.0 received & ignored the following advice

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startups, small business owners, developers, venture capitalists (VCs).

David SparkIn April, I wrote an article 20 Pieces of Business Advice You Should Ignore. It was filled with often hackneyed advice that’s offered with little attention paid to the recipient’s business.

I followed up on this article at last month’s Women 2.0 Founder Friday event at Google’s offices in San Francisco, where I asked attendees about the worst business advice they’ve ever received. Here are their answers.