As the head of Wildcard at Myriad, my job is to spot and develop opportunity. I help my coworkers in developing their passions, taking a product to market, testing viability for new businesses, and ultimately sustaining and growing that venture.
Sound like a lot? It is. But in my eyes, it’s what makes everyday exciting. I didn’t know it when I started at Myriad, but I am an entrepreneur. And I have a lot to learn.
Luckily, I discovered GrowCo: Inc’s Grow Your Business Conference. The speaker list was stacked with heavy hitters like Sheryl Sandburg (an idol of mine) and Kevin O’Leary (who was less of a jerk that you would expect). But it was the in depth workshops, 1-1 time with experts, and ease of connecting with people that truly knocked GrowCo out of the park.
Before taking off for New Orleans, I thought the best way to share the knowledge of GrowCo would be to live Tweet. But after arriving I knew it would be a shame to hide in my phone and miss out on real life relationships and lessons from new friends and experts.
Therefore, I present to you my not-so-live live Tweeting of #GrowCo17:
- At Dave McKeown’s “Predictable Success: Achieving Growth in Uncertain Times” workshop. His model identifies your business’s current stage of growth, then humanizes the stage by focusing on what type of people you need to progress.
- Businesses are typically started with a Visionary and an Operator. Think Jobs and Wozniak. An Operator likes to put out fires; a Visionary likes to start them. Like my fellow Pole Wozniak, I’m a #proudoperator
- Good Operators understand when a Visionary is thinking out loud vs truly wanting something done. Lots of quiet chuckling as I think about my relationship with @myriadwill.
- Thought I would make a quick lap through the Welcome Party before heading to my room for the night, but making friends with entrepreneurs is easy! Founders tend to be outgoing and engaging, especially with an open bar in New Orleans.
- My plan to hit the sack early quickly changed after meeting Stephanie from Oakland, my GrowCo17 BFF. We hung out with some of the 600 attendees during the pub crawl around Bourbon Street.
Above: idol Sheryl Sandberg
Day 2 AM.
- Glad I took it easy with the hurricanes on Bourbon St. Non-stop speakers and sessions from 8am-1pm today.
- Shook hands with billionaire Norm Brodsky at breakfast. The 1st question he asks his team each morning: What’s our gross margin?
- Props to Alex + Will for leading Open Book management at Myriad! Everyone at Myriad understands our monthly GM.
- Speaker Jia Jiang had me cracking up with his stories of rejection. Biggest takeaway: Just ask! People want to say yes.
- “Entrepreneurs are born, not made.” Flashback to my first businesses — For a Kid, By a Kid — selling seed bead necklaces at craft shows.
- Steve Case started AOL in his early 20s. How does he define success now? “Using your platform to make an impact.”
- About time for Sheryl Sandberg, an idol of mine. In her I see my greatest ambitions and heartbreaking fears. She’s handled them all with grace.
- Sheryl is the only speaker to share the stories of other entrepreneurs. Instead talking about herself, she’s highlighting others. Lift up others and you will be stronger! #leanin
- Did you know 80% of Instagram accounts are from businesses? As COO of Facebook, Sheryl is proud of this; Facebook is providing small business a free platform to grow. But as a user, that stat is a red flag.
- Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank — not the asshole I expected (you know you were thinking it). He wanted to pursue photography as a profession until his dad pushed him into businesses.
- “We live in a 20 second world. Know how to communicate quickly: What your pitch? Why are you the best team? Know your numbers.” – Kevin O’Leary
- Being a successful entrepreneur = successful execution
- Taken 20 pages of notes so far. I am exhausted.
- Let’s be honest… I’m so tired that tonight’s dinner was take out and big ole glass of wine. Chowing down in my hotel bed, ftw.
Above: Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank
- Kick off with Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker: “Move quickly + deliberately. Speed walk; don’t cliff dive.” Fascinating to hear how they broke down big decisions into small ones to measure risk.
- Warby Parker has such beautiful stores.
- At a straightforward negotiation seminar. It hits on one of my biggest business pet peeves: Shut up and listen!! Use silence as a tool to understand others.
- There is so much more wisdom in listening than speaking. In business, it is not about us; it’s about them.
- A perk of networking all week? Sharing a cab to the airport with the owner of a video agency in Minnesota. Lots to discuss as he considers spinning out a new venture.
- The good vibes continue, even at the airport. Just shared a beer with the lead singer of a Russian Mafia Band. A great send off from this crazy, inspiring conference.
GrowCo, it has been a pleasure. Can’t wait to be back next year!