Collision 2016 Recovery and Beta Planning
I went into Collision thinking it’s this really important event we’ve been working so hard for, and it will ultimately be the place we get funded. While it was still a great event, Collision was great for many reasons outside my initial expectations. The first day of the conference was spent getting our bearings and attending talks. Where is our exhibit space? How are other companies presenting? What marketing shwag are they handing out? What do the different wristband colors mean?
After a brief time figuring out the flow of the conference, I broke off to see some talks. Collision talks are awesome because they only last about 20 minutes, but suck because the speaker never has time to delve deep into a topic. You don’t have to listen to someone drone on for two hours but always leave with questions. I found the ultimate benefit to be that I am motivated to answer those questions when I leave because I’m truly interested. Collision also featured some very accomplished speakers that I wouldn’t expect to find together anywhere else. Here are a few people I saw: Brad Smith (CEO – Intuit), Steve Blank (Author – Stanford University), Kathryn Petralia (Co-Founder, Kabbage), Stephen Wolfram, Julia Hartz (CEO – Eventbrite), Dan Wagner (Civic Analytics), Tyrone Grandison (US Department of Commerce),and Matt Mahan (Brigade) among others.
Walking around the conference I felt like I had never been to a place that had more people who shared my interests. The majority of attendees were young, sharp, business-minded technologists which contributed to the culture of incredible Night Summits where conference folk would network and party in New Orleans. Every night we got to go to different bars around the city, drink and talk to random people about our businesses…it’s a pretty fun way to market your company. Emily was the best at keeping an eye out for the infamous investors with their red wristbands. Equally impressive was her luck in engaging several in conversations over the course of the week…I can’t wait to see how follow up goes. Romo was definitely the champ at managing all the different ways New Orleans offers to get you drunk, while maintaining sterling composure each day at the conference and fixing last minute bugs in our web demo. I tried to be sensible and take it easy early in the week only to get food poisoning the day before I planned to party the hardest (after exhibiting, of course) and took home the award for lamest guy in the company for the week.
Exhibiting SimpleForms was my favorite part of the whole Collision experience. We presented on Thursday, the last day of the conference, to an audience trying to survive after partying three nights in a row. I was far more anxious about presenting before we left, but felt uncharacteristically calm pitching and fielding questions Thursday. It was a needed team experience. Standing together repeatedly explaining the company you’re claiming to run helped us learn how to exaggerate strengths and lean on each other strategically to handle questions. We learned how to create a positive perception consistently with all the different personalities we encountered. We learned that we work well together and created renewed team motivation to get SimpleForms to the next set of deadlines…a successful beta program and then PRODUCTION RELEASE!