Is this your First Startup Conference? Here are some tips to make the most of your day.
What to Expect
What does the conference feel like? This blog post has a great write-up, written from the point of view of a new entrepreneur.
Network, Network, Network
In Silicon Valley, networking is key. Meet as many people as you can. Be genuine, maybe you can help them. And in return, maybe they will help you too. But start with being helpful. Sharpen your listening skills.
But what if you don’t know anyone (maybe you are from out of town, or from another continent). Make sure to attend the after-party, it’s a relaxed environment where you can meet fellow entrepreneurs and make friends quickly.
I’m a Nobody
Weren’t we all? At the conference, you probably will feel like you want to talk to the speakers on stage, because they are successful entrepreneurs and there is so much you could learn from them, if only they paid some attention to you. True. But one of the biggest mistakes you’ll make is ignoring the other entrepreneurs in the audience. While they may not be famous today, you’d be surprised how quickly things chance. Today’s entrepreneur sitting next to you may be the next Pinterest(*).
(*) this is actually a true story: Ben, the founder of Pinterest, applied to pitch at one of our events, before anyone had heard of Pinterest. Spooky.
What To Do After The Conference
The days after the conference, hang out at some of the best entrepreneur spots in Silicon Valley, such as the Hacker Dojo. Did you know that Pinterest started there?
May 8 – 10: Google IO
May 18 – 20: Maker Faire is on.
Grab a coffee at Red Rock Cafe in downtown Mountain View, if you are a pennyless entrepreneur working on the next big thing, or at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto if you think you are ready to pitch VCs. Just sit back and watch…
The Computer History Museum is worth a detour, also in Mountain View, next to Google’s headquarters.
Also in downtown Mountain View, see if you can get a tour of 500 Startups, the view is awesome from the top. About a mile away, skip Y Combinator’s offices, there is nothing to see unfortunately. Just a photo op in front of the sign outside.