Right after (literally, RIGHT after) our Phoenix workshop, our co-founders packed their bags & hopped on a plane to San Francisco for the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference on Sept 21-23! We can definitely say we stepped out of our comfort zones, but what we stepped into was a world full of determination and innovation. After the three day conference, we left feeling super inspired and motivated to take our business even further! Because we weren’t quite sure what to expect at a TechCrunch conference, we thought we’d share our thoughts, lessons, & takeaways!
How was the conference broken down?
The conference was three whole days from 9am to 6pm. Throughout the day, speakers and presentations would be going on in the main room, but if you weren’t interested in attending one of the presentations, you could walk around the “expo style” part of the conference. By walking around, you could see everyone’s booth and get to know all the entrepreneurs showcasing their business or great new idea! Also, every afternoon after the presentations were done, TechCrunch would introduce Startup Battlefield. Here, entrepreneurs would compete against other businesses by trying to convince the audience and panel of judges about why they should win the Battlefield cup at the end of the entire conference.
What can a first-time attendee expect to see at a TechCrunch conference?
Imagine the typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur and multiply by hundreds! We weren’t exactly TechCrunch’s stereotypical attendees, but it was actually really refreshing to be around a different crowd! If you’re a first-time goer, you can expect to see tech startups ranging from apps, new websites, hardware, innovative robotic technologies & so much more! We’d say TechCrunch is definitely a place where people join together and try everything in their ability to make it and take their business to the next level!
What was one of the coolest startups/ideas you saw during the conference?
How can a small business or blogger benefit from going to one of these conferences?
I think there are many benefits but to sum it up, TechCrunch is an INCREDIBLE place to learn and network! For a small business owner, it’s always encouraging to see that even the biggest companies in the tech world (like Dropbox) started as a small startup. We saw firsthand that any idea can be a good idea if you execute it right. Just by listening to the presentations, the Startup Battlefield contestants and the judges, you get a good idea of what might make your business attractive to potential investors. Listening to other companies can also give you ideas on how to pitch yourself and your brand to other people no matter where you are!
Bloggers nowadays aren’t just writers–they’re entrepreneurs and media and technology experts too! If you’re a blogger and want to make it in the world today, they need to be aware of new products and platforms and should constantly seek learning opportunities to grow and move ahead of their competition.
In your opinion, did you see anything the companies at TechCrunch or TechCrunch in general could improve on?
If we had the opportunity to suggest some ideas to TechCrunch, we’d start with the chats with experts and big-name entrepreneurs. The discussions were incredibly inspiring, but we would have loved if the speakers were more specific and really told the behind-the-scenes processes and strategies they used for certain issues. For example, when the founder of Dropbox talked about making money, it would have been more interesting to hear how he actually approached his first investors, how he prepared, how he identified who was a good fit, and what obstacles he overcame to get to where he is now.
Why do you think technology and innovation is so important in today’s society?
Because it makes us evolve as a society and (in most cases), it makes our lives better. Technological innovation creates sustainable economic growth, can create new job opportunities, and increases productivity. Also, because we live in such a global economy, we must focus on innovation and technology in order to be able to compete in this world!
Describe your TechCrunch Disrupt experience in 3 words.
Motivating, inspiring, and educational!