Connecting with investors for TinyHackerHouse at Collision Conference 2017
As with all conferences, to avoid getting overwhelmed in the chaos of activities, it's always great to have a mission:
The mission of this trip was to connect with other Angel investors, Venture Capitalists, promote TinyHackerHouse campaign, support entrepreneurs, mentor new startups, a little matchmaking and maybe a couple talk sessions if possible and I think I did it all.
Having an investor badge, definitely has it's perks, like having access to the Investor lounge. Here I had the pleasure of meeting a number of Angels, VC's and some Entrepreneurs I'd invited to pitch their startups from various countries around the world.
Some of my favorite sessions included: Are we ready to embrace a robot coworkers? which featured a panel with Melonee Wise (Fetch Robotics) Rodolphe Gelin (Softbank Robotics) and Tessa Lau (Savioke). The key highlights discussed the fear of robots taking our jobs is quickly changing and more employees are now excited about the advantages of robots taking the mundane, heavy lifting out of their daily routines. One of the points Melonee made about the number of injury/accidents that happen in the workplace, how robots are reducing this and it's affects on insurance costs proved to be a great case moving forward.
I remember interviewing Melonee 3 years ago in Las Vegas for a startup I co-founded QGITS.org always great conversations.
Another interesting panel was Workplace of the future. Taso Val (TopTal) Stephane Kasriel (Upwork) Marcus Sawyer (Adecco). How to leverage the opportunity of virtual talent has always been an interesting learning experience for me and having 3 of the leading freelancing platforms out there reminded me much of the workshops I taught as Regional Marketing Manager at Elance: on Hiring, Managing Virtual Teams, Budgeting, Project Management, Platforms and tools along with all the other aspects in this process.
It was great to run into Stephane a little later that day to get the latest... So Elance merged with ODesk and had a baby called Upwork, which is now their main platform, now that all the previous users, projects and data has been migrated over.
Alexis Ohanian gave a talk on 'What the world needs now: Community, Conversation and shitty water_colour exciting stories about how user comments on the Reddit platform escalated to a point where the creators of emoticons were forced to create one more for muslims that wear Hijaabs.
I remember his visit to Chapman University where he gave a talk to many of my students in the entrepreneur program while on a book tour. I also met with him at NationBuilder during their new office opening in LA.
The story about his initial startup pitch being rejected by Y-Combinator, returning home disappointed and then receiving a callback inviting him to join Cofound Reddit still resonates with me today.
One of the other interesting points he mentioned was about the mental health affects of becoming an entrepreneur. It's something we don't often talk about but depression is often one of the extremely difficult symptoms to deal with. I remember the financial struggle of being homeless twice along my 7 year journey and trying to conjure up the energy to keep going.
The event ended with a great closing party, everyone celebrated the intense past couple days and had a chance to absorb the ongoing Jazz festival. Looking forward to the next Collision.