Entrepreneurs: Vator Splash

Entrepreneurs: Vator Splash

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

http://vator.tv/events/splash-sept-2012Vator Splash is a gathering of investors, successful entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs-in-process, entrepreneur wannabes, people who follow technology and those who just like a good party.

Splash brings together high-caliber speakers who talk about how to build and scale great successful companies, how their industries are changing and the opportunities those changes are creating.

Granted there is much to learn from the speakers and networking opportunities, but in a world of too little time how do you choose where to spend it.

The following guest post from Emanio CEO KG Charles-Harris, who just attended Splash, offers some thoughtful commentary on that.

The recent Vator Splash conference in San Francisco made me believe that there are different levels of needs for startups.

Somehow it seems that I’ve gone from kindergarten to elementary school, and now have finally advanced to middle school as an entrepreneur.  Vator Splash seems to be more on the kindergarten/elementary school level.

What am I attempting to express by making this simile?  The levels of knowledge and performance required in each of these school stages reflect the different stages of starting and building a company.  Kindergarten is the idea stage; it is necessary to do market research and concept development.  Usually this is an iterative process that can take months to years, involves speaking with lots of people and getting feedback that enables the idea to improve.

At elementary school the real learning begins – this is when it’s time to build a team, raise initial capital (friends & family or Angel) and start working on creating a product.

In middle school things reach another level – attracting customers in a repeatable fashion, dealing with executives, and realizing your product’s (baby’s) shortcomings and learning to live with them.

This is when the startup becomes a real business and has to learn to deal with the complexities of the outside world.  It has to learn to stand on its own legs and understand how to achieve profitability and growth.

This most often means significantly more investment capital as well, probably a factor of 10-30. Some, very few, companies manage to get through this stage based on the revenues they generate, but this is unusual in the technology space.

High school – I’m still wondering what this will entail.  Clearly it has to do with serious scaling, greater product complexity and possible internationalization (though some has already happened).

Each stage has its different capital requirements, so this must also be considered.  Beyond that, all is speculation as I’m yet to experience it.

The point to all this is that there seems to be few conferences that are focused on middle and high school.  Almost everything is centered around kindergarten and elementary school.

There must be a conference market for entrepreneurs that are a little more advanced.  If you know about any, please let me know.

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Flickr image credit: Vator Splash

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