Another guest post- this one from Brianne Warner, who you may remember from Dobro Media, the company I profiled from the UVA VC Summit (see a description of Dobro Media Precision Ads here and here).
Brianne was just elected President of the Venture Capital & Entrepreneurship Club at Darden and stays very linked in with events in the area. She wanted to preview a very cool event this coming weekend- Bootstrap Maryland. It takes place April 10 (9-5) at University of Maryland. Brianne’s post below starting at *****
On April 10, I’ll be back at my alma mater, University of Maryland for a pretty cool entrepreneurial event. A friend and fellow Terp, Jared Goralnick, will be putting on his second Bootstrap Maryland. This day-long event features experienced entrepreneurs who have build companies by listening to their customers and responding to the markets – “bootstrapping” their businesses, rather than relying on a huge influx of VC cash.
Jared bootstrapped his own business, Set Consulting, and then started AwayFind, a web application designed to keep you away from the suck of e-mail and focused on productivity. He speaks at conferences regularly and organizes cool stuff generally. I’ve always found his career path inspiring, and when we chat, I get the sense – as I do when I talk to most entrepreneurs – that the world is full of possibilities if you think things through.
Curious, I asked him a few questions about the April 10th event:
How did Bootstrap Maryland get started? Where did you get the idea?
When I got started, I would’ve benefited a lot from a group of peers to explain the unique needs of a web startup. And before that I could’ve used advice about starting a small tech business as a 20-something. Bootstrap Maryland fills those voids for tech companies in the DC area. For much more on why I started Bootstrap Maryland, see here. (http://www.technotheory.com/2009/03/dc-md-va-entrepreneurs-and-bootstrap-maryland/)
Who should attend? Who shouldn’t attend?
People who are or hope to be building tech companies, particularly on the web. It doesn’t matter how much experience one has–the topics and activities are not what you’ll learn at a typical business or technology event–they’re nontraditional, often personal lessons-learned from young entrepreneurs. It’s especially relevant for folks who haven’t seen how tech startups are built outside of this area–we’ll focus on some of the advice and current practices taking places in some of the tech hotbeds like Silicon Valley.
People who are deadset on business plans, and believe there’s a clear line between technology and business are probably not going to enjoy our perspective.
What have you changed since last year and why?
Last year’s event was a bit more Business 101. This year’s topics are more focused and somewhat more advanced. We’ll talk a lot about aligning our businesses with our (real) customers…and discuss how software built today can involve customer-learning (or even billing) at the very earliest stages.
Tell us about one or two sessions that you are really looking forward to and why:
I’m excited for Jill Stelfox’s talk on marketing–I spoke alongside her at Founder Institute and she’s both engaging and direct in the way she delivers her nontraditional advice. She’s sold billion dollar businesses before and yet she knows how to give down-to-earth, practical advice.
The range of speakers and industries (though still focused around web startups) is pretty awesome. I’m excited that it’s not just geeks talking about blogging–it’s technology people who get business (or the other way around). One of our speakers has 90 million monthly users, for instance–his company is doing well.
You are an experienced conference-goer, speaker, and maker of lists. What should we bring? Anything we should do to prepare and get the most out of the day?
Research the speakers and attendees, so you know who you want to get to know. Bring questions. Stay late. Feel free to ask for introductions or just introduce yourself–while the panels will be great, make sure you get a chance to build a relationship or two that lasts well past our event.
And just for fun: If we get to College Park early or stay that evening, what are a few spots worth checking out?
Ha. Try our authentic College Park Diner or enjoy some veggie food at Berwyn Cafe (not so easy to find, closes around 7). But your best bet is really to walk around the campus, which will be quite lovely at this time of year.
Intrigued? Register at www.bootstrapmaryland.com. $25 for entrepreneurs or a mere $10 for full-time students!
It sounds pretty damn cool – I’m out of town so can’t make it but drop a comment if any of you are planning on going /go to it, and let us know about it.