Here’s my report of day 2 of the GO Youth Conference, that happened last weekend in Lisbon.
The first speaker of the day was Sam Shank, CEO & Co-Founder of HotelTonight, an app where you can grab last minute deals with the best hotels. The app is 100% mobile. It launched in 2010 and has been gradually growing. They just added Lisbon to the featured cities, so it’s worth taking a look.
His main three tips for starting your own project were: 1) Keep it simple and focused; 2) Focus on quality; 3) Figure out distribution first. To sum up Sam advised “Focus on being different, not just being better”
Next up on stage was Jimmy Soni, Managing Editor of The Huffington Post. He was supposed to talk about the growth of the project, but instead decided to enumerate the 10 things that you absolutely need to know and people don’t tell you about. Here they are:
- Read. Read constantly. And then read some more.
- Your available time and your available risk tend to go down as your age goes up.
- Will power is a finite resource. Lean on others.
- Aristotle was right. Habits are everything.
- Clear writing is clear thinking. Learn how to write and you will learn how to think.
- We overestimate our impact on everything. We underestimate the impact everything has on us.
- Everyone – everyone! – has a book to write.
- Don’t be a one-trick pony. Diversify.
- The way to get noticed is to be so good they can’t ignore you.
- No one is prepared. Everyone is faking it.
David Noel, Soundcloud‘s VP of Community came on stage after. He told us about how Soundcloud is the place where artist get to build an audience. 12 hours of music are updated per minute to this platform. One of his tips is to create a product that lets communities create themselves, but you should have defined community rules. He then
highlighted some success stories and some strategies to engage users.
Next up was Sheel Tyle from NEA, a global venture capital firm investing in technology and healthcare.
He confessed that venture capital firms sometimes get it right, but sometimes get it wrong.
He also advised that even if an important firm tells you no, it really is not that important. “No” is just really an obstacle. To end his presentation he told the audience that “If you fail, fail fast”.
Jorg Sutara from Paymill, a payment solution, spoke next. He shared his lesson learned:
- Make the MVP (minimum viable product) happen
- Have a plan B
- Understand your first target group
- Track changes
- Focus, evaluate and iterate
- Have a complementary team
- Traction not pulse
- Be prepared
- Know the terms
- Create and support culture
- Understand the unit economics
- Make processes scalable
Kelsey Falter from PopTip, who had been doing a great job of cheering up the crowd, took the stage for her talk. Here are some of the topics she touched on:
- Feedback helps inspire ideas and action
- Her mantra is “make it happen”
- An ethical way of doing business
- Relationships (real word people) propelled her forward
- Have a goal and work backwards
- Activity is not the same as results!
- Don’t underestimate the importance of prioritization
- Don’t compete; change the game
- Do what you say you’re going to do
- Guiding principles
- Be relentless
- Overcome rejection
- Be empathetic
- Make something people want
- Think and act sustainably
- Prioritize and focus
The Founders insights startups presentations were the next event. The following eight startups gave 5 minute pitches:
Before the last talk, there was a fireside chat with Josh Miller and Tiago Vidal about how GYC came about. Tiago shared his vision about the conference and the way he put it together.
Andy McLoughlin from Huddle, was the last speaker of the conference. He shared the 10 things he wished he’d known before starting Huddle:
- Get the basics right
- Launch early, monetize soon
- Get smart on pricing
- Pick a villain
- You’re building an ‘unsexy’ business (so own it)
- Hire smart (and avoid the loyalty trap)
- Stay SaaSy
- Head West
- Perception = reality
As I said on my post about day 1, GO Youth Conference is among the best that’s being done worldwide. The speakers were top notch, and the organization did all it could to run a smooth event. I’ll be keeping you posted on these and other startups. Expect some interviews soon from these entrepreneurs here on the blog.