It is always good to be back in the Silicon Valley, headquarters for entrepreneurs, where I attended my first TiECon 2017. I was told close to 7000 entrepreneurs were in attendance. Most of them being from the Indian-based origin is a great story of how the US remains a magnet for attracting talents to organize entrepreneurs efforts for the pursuit of passion and profit. All these participants, along with plenty of speakers, brought a lot of energy and excitement to the event. There was a lot to learn from back-to-back sessions, panel discussions, words of wisdom, and keynotes that shed light on the power of networking with people. Of course, there was a lot of knowledge gained in the conference, and I will try to summarize my top 3 takeaways for my fellow entrepreneurs here:
- Always work with great people
No matter where you are going, it is very important to choose the best complementary talents that will help take you places. I have looked at all the great companies along with many failed ventures: The difference is usually the great team of passionate people; they not only increase the probability of success, they also help you reach your vision much sooner. Now the question is where do you find them – When you look at your surroundings including work, Linkedin connections, contacts, associations which you are a member, etc. No matter what is your area of focus, the recipe for success is surrounding you with great people. According to Mr.Khosla, it can be better to recruit someone who is totally new to the industry than an established and experienced player to shake things up.
- It doesn’t matter what you think
Another point I learned from several of the meetings/discussions at TiECon is to not overvalue your own opinion as a founder. It matters only what your customers think about the solution or the service you offer. Many of the entrepreneurs just with sheer passion and perseverance build a great product for years just to find out there is no one in the market willing to pay for the product. Being able to gather feedback while you develop the product and pivot from your initial plan is the key to being a successful entrepreneur.
- Expand the target market
Expanding the target market is more relevant for a venture in the growth phase. Entrepreneurs often run into a wall where there are not enough customers for the products or services they offer, and it then becomes mainly a lifestyle business for them instead. Once you have case studies and customer stories to share, it may not be a bad idea to get funding to expand into an adjacent market using your existing platform/product. VCs are generally not interested in investing in less than a billion-dollar market opportunity, according to Mr.Bansal. If you are going after a small opportunity, a lot of VCs would not take their time to hear your pitch.
There was an abundance of passionate no-nonsense advice by the speakers/panelists to all budding entrepreneurs, which I won’t be able to cover in this single blog post. It was well worth the trip, and I am looking forward to connecting with the speakers and get more virtual mentorship as we build our company.
Learn more at tiecon.org