October 17, 2014 | By Eric Disney |
We here in the land of LittleHoots like to think BIG. In fact, several of us recently attended the second “Big Kansas City” conference brought to our metro area by the Silicon Prairie News. According to their website, “Big Kansas City is: Founders, designers, developers, investors and the like converging on the Midwest for two and a half days sharing ideas, co-creating experiences, and inspiring altered landscapes”
As part of “the like”, LittleHoots can also claim to have founded a company, designed a brand-spanking-new mobile app, developed a platform for Memory Keeping, and invested lots and LOTS of time, hard work, energy and passion to bring this dream of Lacey Thomas Ellis to fruition. During the conference time,we shared the idea of LittleHoots with many, we co-created experiences by connecting and telling stories with people who had been strangers to us before the conference, and most importantly, we altered our own LittleHoots landscape by gaining much needed clarity of vision and priorities, topped off with a new found sense of urgency to raise our own high bar.
I love how this description of Big KC has no punctuation at the end—no period. I feel sure that this was intentional, giving attendees the sense that we only limit our own possibilities by thinking we are done, that we have arrived where we want to be—that’s the thing about possibilities—they are endless, one step leading to another.
So. Wide awake, coffee, phones and notebooks in hand we listened to a wide and totally diverse group of doers and thinkers, ranging from robot makers to world class drummers—yep drummers, as in “playing the drums”. I would just like to point out a couple of highlights from various presenters and share with you how we think they might be things that the LittleHoots team will be considering and hopefully implementing as we navigate into our future.
Some random bullet-point take-a-ways:
“Are you building a great product or a great company?”; “Know that your vision and values matter—and should evolve.” -John Wirtz, http://www.hudl.com co-founder
“A lot of great businesses are started by asking the integral ‘why?’ “; “Entrepreneurs should always be empathetically authentic when it comes to their user base and figuring how to better serve them”; “Empathy for the user is what turns curiosity into a business.” -Shradha Agarwal, http://www.contextmediainc.com cofounder
“There isn’t a single face of entrepreneurship”; “You must be 100 percent committed to the things you believe in”; “That being said, you must be 110 percent OK with changing everything else outside of what you’re committed to”; “Opportunities don’t come to you, you make them.” Four things that Maxine Bedat, https://zady.com co-founder wished someone had told her before starting a company.
Three marketing truths “that work anywhere”, shared by Anita Newton, marketing guru:
“The biggest lies are the ones you tell yourself—one common ‘big lie’ —thinking you have a good market fit when you don’t.”
“Your marketing team is not a reality show; there is no such thing as viral marketing or silver bullets to solve everything. You must put in actual effort to get results.”
“The scarcest thing on the planet is human attention. You aren’t going to be able to hold this generation’s attention with past tactics. To break through that lack of attention, you must present ideas that are unexpected or create an emotional connection. If you are able to figure out the emotional/universal truths for each of your market segments, your company can do great things.”
Mark Hemeon, co-founder http://www.hemeon.com, had many “gems”: “Say yes”; “Show up”; “Hire smarter than you”; “Value emotional intelligence”; “Measure all the things”; “Punch above your weight class” [HA!]; “Use peer reviews”; “Get rid of your ego”; “Be civil”; “Acknowledge that all jobs are hard”—among many others.
Mike Johnston, founder of http://www.mikeslessons.com, not only had a number of unconventional bits of wisdom for the entrepreneur, he also gave a stellar performance on his instrument of choice, a set of drums. “Pave your own way. Do things the way they’re not telling you to do them in the [business] magazines”; “The moment you say ‘I wish’ out loud, you need to act”; “It’s seriously time to rethink your social media approach—FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are each avenues leading to different fan bases”.
Good stuff. All, really good stuff—and believe me, only the tip of the iceberg. These “nuggets” of wisdom from some of the best and brightest on the scene may seem a bit heady and disjointed out of context like this, but I feel that it is important to state how “sponge-like” we are at LittleHoots now, as we continue building to make this the “go-to” Memory Keeping Platform for now and years to come. This kind of bigger picture thinking could not have been more timely for our small but mighty team—we have been at it for more than a year and it is time to play with the Big Kids, the winners. This is certainly not to say that we have not been winners—look at all the wonderful Memory Tiles that have been created by you—our users, our fans. We DO, however, need you to keep engaging with the “more than you may realize now” importance of documenting what truly is important—those family moments, priceless memories that once forgotten are gone forever—you know, “Outta sight, outta mind”. There is so much more to be done, and we are poised, at the tip of our own iceberg of possibilities that we will continue to bring to you and the ones you love as LittleHoots evolves. [Insert smiley face here.]