Today was the big day of two Cases for Startups in Washington DC. It was day two of Capital Connection/TechBUZZ at the Omnin Shoreham Hotel. The 35 hour private investor conference highlighted 28 great Startups on Wednesday and equally as many later stage companies today.
Capital Connection features AOL Co-Founder and CEO of Revolution, Steve Case. He offered a great talk highlighting what he’s been working on as an entrepreneur and the strength of Washington DCs thriving tech and startup community.
Later in the evening we went just two miles down the road to TechCocktails Sessions event focusing on relationships and networking. The featured keynote speaker was Scott Case the CEO of the Startup America partnership and the founding CTO of Priceline.com.
Case opened up his talk by making sure everyone knew he wasn’t there to talk about dating. He did however talk about sex, gambling and getting lucky. In short that portion of his talk was about meeting his wife and having four kids (the sex). He then shifted to a story about his father in law who is a horse handicapper. He also talked about one of his friends, and their father, Ira, was also into horse racing (gambling). Then he explained how he was considering a move to the west coast and he got a call from Ira right before he left. Ira wanted to introduce Case to another one of his friends, who was ultimately the founder of Priceline.com (getting lucky).
With Case’s vast experience and the fact that he’s trying to become the most traveled man in the United States as CEO of Startup America, he’s met and networked with thousands of people.
Case brought up the fact that so many startups that he meets are so focused on product development that they forget about customer development. Customer development is totally different from customer acquisition. The roots of customer development lie in relationships and networking.
Case offered these 7 great tips for networking, specifically aimed at startups who sometimes forget about things like this:
1. Everybody has a story, understand what their story’s about.
2. It’s not about you it’s about them. Figure out more about the other person.
3. Find a way to say yes when people ask you for something. All the most interesting things in Cases life started by saying yes. You’ll find yourself falling forward and creates an opportunity for someone else to help you.
It’s very hard to say no to something when they’ve said yes to you
4. There are relationships when you won’t have something in common
5. Social networks aren’t a replacement for in person hand to hand make a relationship with them.
6. Use these tools to keep your relationships current. It’s not enough to go back 6 months. Use social networks to keep current between face to face interactions.
7. You have to be intentional about all of this. Allocate time and energy to networking. You can meet people almost anywhere.