Life as an entrepreneur might seem to be glamorous and full of parties and success, but in reality, running your own company can be quite time-consuming, strenuous, and, at times, overwhelming. But the opportunity for you to hit it big and to develop something that will solve one of the world’s problems can be quite rewarding, both spiritually and financially. If you want to understand what it’s like to be a part of the “hustle”, then read this great TechCrunch article written by PicPlum’s co-founder Paul Stamatiou, who gives a read inside look at what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. There’s definitely lots to think about when it comes to your own startup: product ideas & development, investors, user acquisition, features, strategy, and more. And while you might think that life as an entrepreneur is all glamorous and exciting, deep down, there’s lots of things you’ll need to think of–and perhaps one of the most difficult things for any startup is to find ways to make money.
But don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of resources around in Silicon Valley for you to take advantage of and learn how others have become successful. In fact, one such resource you can partake in is happening this Thursday in Mountain View. It’s called the unSEXY conference and it’s being put on by the startup incubator, 500 Startups. Here’s the deal…while there’s a lot of hoopla over those consumer verticals that you see people clamoring over, but you have no idea what their business model is, there are many other companies that aren’t in those appealing verticals that are as successful, or even more, and are vastly different than the “popular girls” in the industry–they’re making money.
This one-day conference in the heart of Silicon Valley will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and founders from some of the industry’s most successful companies who aren’t necessarily in any of the “sexy” verticals. Topics of conversation will include things like helping companies figure out their strategies for marketing, branding & public relations, understanding user interface & experience, acquisitions in fragmented markets, HR, finance, and operations, solutions for customer service, SaaS, freemium, subscription, and much more. From this agenda lineup, what’s certain is that businesses are going to be nurtured at this conference in a way that will help them walk out of the Microsoft conference center at the end of the day with new ideas on how to spruce up their operations and grow their business into something more successful…and profitable.
In 2011, tech reporter Boonsri Dickinson published an article that covered why most tech startups fail. The answer? Premature scaling. Okay, so what is premature scaling? Is it some type of disease or illness one can get? Is it another way to say “burn out”? No, actually it’s when one side of your business scales faster than the other side–causing an imbalance in your business structure. In her post, Ms. Dickinson interviewed Bjoern Hermann, co-founder of The Startup Genome Report, who said that premature scaling helped to explain about 74% of failures.
Take a look at this infographic that The Startup Genome Report put together last year. I think it’s a perfect example of what the unSEXY conference will hope to illustrate. In this infographic, they cover two different startups: Color, once a interesting technological marvel who quickly rose to prominence (and criticism) for raising $45 million without even launching their product, and Rally, a useful non-profit/charity fundraising platform that recently raised a huge funding round solely through their platform. As you can see, two different verticals and one seems to be more popular than the other, but clearly one has a great business model and is profitable. And that’s exactly what the unSEXY conference is aiming to do…it’s going to help separate you from being the “flavor of the week” and help you focus on monetizing your startup so that you can be hugely successful. It’s all a matter of being smart with your business and understanding that you don’t have to be part of the “in” crowd and have the next Instagram or Color. Instead, focus on verticals where you know that there’s worth and interest and slowly build your company into profit. Here’s another infographic that you should check out from The Startup Genome Project to help illustrate how startups can avoid failure.
Speakers at the unSEXY conference include some of the industry’s most successful entrepreneurs and business folk.
- Aaron Levie, CEO/President of Box
- Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey
- Rashmi Sinha, CEO of SlideShare
- Ben Chestnut, Co-Founder & CEO of MailChimp
- Jeff Lawson, CEO & Co-Founder of Twilio
- Issac Saldana, Co-Founder & President of SendGrid
- Cindy Alvarez, Director of UX at Yammer
- Richard White, Co-Founder & CEO of UserVoice
- Steven Boal, President & CEO of Coupons.com
- Michelle Broderick, Marketing, Strategy, & Curator of Culture at Uber
- Hiten Shah, CEO of KISSmetrics
- Charles Hudson, Venture Partner at SoftTech VC
- Alex Moore, CEO of Baydin
- Jeff Haynie, CEO & Co-Founder of Appcelerator
- Matt Tucker, CTO & Co-Founder of Jive
There’s lots of great sessions lined up and you can check out the full agenda by clicking here. Tickets for the unSEXY conference can be purchased by going to their Eventbrite page. There are two different sets of tickets–if your startup has received less than $1 million, then you can attend the unSEXY conference for $250, but for everyone else, even if you’re an investor or a business person, you’re going to have to pay $350 to get in. Tickets are going fast and this is most likely going to sell out, like all of 500 Startups’ past themed conferences. But if you don’t have a chance to go, rest assured that Dave McClure and the 500 Startups gang will most likely offer the livestream up for you to watch.
Now get back to work and go make some money!