Denver Startup Week is our favorite week of the year. Like-minded business women and men gather, share ideas, and talk about innovation day in and day out for a full (free) five days. Knowledge is shared openly, and the pulse is intoxicating. At the end we are exhausted from the long days and nights, but also hungry to implement new strategies and ideas we have learned from our fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in the community and beyond. Here were a few of our favorite sessions from this year’s event:
Women Who Startup Summit
If you are a women entrepreneur who attended Denver Startup Week, you were probably at the Women Who Startup Summit. The room was absolutely packed with men and women alike ready to talk about one question: Why is it so important to invest in women and why do you believe it’s smart business? The answers were powerful. The statistics were staggering. One of our favorite nuggets came from angel investor Praful Shah who said, “Of my portfolio I do not have a single failure that is a female-led company.” Our CEO, Krista Morgan, spoke about how diversity drives creativity at P2Binvestor. The organization also announced that it will launch 10 new locations by summer 2016. Visit their site to learn more about the organization and support their expansion by purchasing an awesome Women Who Startup t-shirt.
AARRR’ You Working As A Team? How Successful Product And Marketing Managers Work Together To Leverage Pirate Metrics
Aside from providing us with a fully enjoyable pirate pun, this panel helped us address one of our biggest startup pain points: How do you ensure that your marketing efforts are generating leads? Panelists Aaron Duke, product manager at CirrusMD; Danielle Long, product strategist at Skookum Digital; and Nicole Cifani, marketing lead at Chosen, shared their strategies on creating an integrated product and marketing roadmap to drive sales. They taught us the importance of marketing ourselves as an authority in our space by answering questions on Quora as well as how to segment users who visit our website so we can better understand their unique needs. Check out Dave McClure’s presentation Startup Metrics for Pirates to learn more about some of the tactics they referenced during the panel.
Why Culture Matters … And It Matters A LOT More Than You May Think
How can you maintain your startup culture as your company grows? How do you make sure that the people you hire truly align with the shared culture you’ve worked hard to develop at your organization? Panelist Zach Nies, managing director of TechStars, shared a powerful horror story of a toxic culture from a previous job which left us all asking ourselves: How do we make sure that never happens to us? The answer: Measure what makes your employees tick using a program like RoundPegg and determine where your key values align. Then, spend some time defining those values and make them an important part of your culture and hiring process. While new employees will certainly add their own unique perspectives as your company grows, those key values should remain paramount.
Let’s face it, the startup world moves fast. On a day-to-day basis you have to be able to think long term while turning in a mountain of deliverables to your clients, your investors, and your team. How do you make sure nothing slips through the cracks? This session helped us better understand how we can continue to see the big picture while ticking off the smaller boxes. We loved the Yoda-esque tidbits of wisdom like “No theory, no learning” from Natty Zola of TechStars when he explained the importance of measuring the effectiveness of a management process. Be sure to check out the article Good Project Manager, Bad Project Manager by Ben Horowitz (referenced during the panel) for some valuable and highly entertaining insights into the habits that drive a successful PM and the attitudes that drag down a bad one.