The Truth About Startup Failure

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The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.

–Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things

In the Silicon Valley-inspired startup culture, we glamourize failure. We wear our failures like badges of honor, write post-mortems with all the gory details, and duck our heads in mock humility when discussing them in person.

“Shoot for the stars,” we say.

“Fail fast,” we say.

Unfortunately, the message that is often missed in this go big or go home mentality is that failure really sucks.

Failing Looks Like…

Failure is not glamourous. It’s not even pretty.

Failure looks like losing 30 pounds in 3 months because the stress is so much you can’t eat.

Failure looks like not closing that funding round 6 months after you graduate from the accelerator, despite following every step they outlined.

Failure looks like going 6 months, a year, 2 years without a paycheck and seeing your bank account so drained you need to get a “job.” Except the only thing on your resume is a failed business, so…

Failure looks like pulling together the best team you could, selling them on your vision, and then not making payroll.

Failure looks like looking friends and family in the eye and telling them you–you, personally–lost every dime of the money they invested.

Failure looks like no longer speaking to the person you once trusted enough to call a business partner.

Failure looks like wrapping yourself so much into your business that it becomes your identity. And when it fails, you don’t know who are anymore.

Failure sucks. There’s no easy way around that.

Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.

–Jon Bon Jovi

One More Round

You know what else failure looks like?

It looks like getting up and going one more round.

Because even though I just told you (and myself, again) what failure looks like, if you’re an entrepreneur you don’t really care. You (like me) are thinking, “Yeah, yeah, but this time I won’t fail.”

Personally, I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is like life on steroids. Life is hard, with ups and downs and lots of chances to make mistakes. Entrepreneurship is the same, at a speed and intensity that will take your breath away.

Entrepreneurs will do well to be honest with themselves about the harsh reality and extreme pain of failure. We can’t glamourize or make it seem like anything but the soul crushing defeat it is.

But, you know you’re a born entrepreneur when you can’t help but go for it anyway.

 

Serious Founders Manage Their Own Psyche

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“By far the most difficult skill for me to learn as CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared to keeping my mind in check. It’s like the fight club of management: The first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown is don’t talk about the psychological meltdown.

–Ben Horowitz, The Hard Things About Hard Things

Last week in our podcast announcing the acquisition of Nibletz Media, Nibletz CEO Nick Tippmann said the most important thing he’d learned in building the company was that as a founder, you have to manage your own psyche.

When you’re the founder, there’s no one else to take responsibility. You’re the first and the last stop for everything in your company, which includes your own salary if not that of a team. You’re responsible for product-market fit, raising investment or funding it yourself, company culture, company reputation…

Talk about pressure. No wonder founders are all a little crazy.

But, at the risk of breaking the first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown, let’s talk about it for a minute.

It’s totally normal.

Well, as normal as anything else we entrepreneurs do. If you’re a startup founder, you will have at least one psychological breakdown, and anyone who tells you they haven’t is a liar. Or a bad entrepreneur.

Ben Horowitz, successful entrepreneur and VC, wrote an entire book about how hard it is to start a company. Trust me when I say you’re not alone.

Now that you know you’re not the only one, what do you do when the psyche threatens to manage you instead?

Acknowledge Your Thoughts

First, don’t run from your negative thoughts. Acknowledge them. If you pretend you aren’t having them, you’re just fooling yourself and not really addressing the issue.

Take a deep breath and take note of the thought that’s trying to control  you.

Now, is there something you can do about it?

Maybe you’re thinking your idea is too crazy and there’s no way it could work. Remind yourself of why you started in the first place. Talk to the people you’ve recruited, listen to the customers you already have.

Is there a particular issue that’s come up that you worry you’ll never solve? Block out some time, either by yourself or with the appropriate team members, and figure out some action steps you can take. Maybe you won’t see the complete solution, but getting started will make you feel better than worrying.

Do Something Else–Like Sleep

We entrepreneurs are infamous for our insomnia.

But, really, everything looks worse when you’re exhausted.

The best thing you can do for yourself is have one thing you do to relax. Read fiction. Watch science fiction. Exercise. Hang out with loved ones. Some kind of hobby or distraction will not only get you out of your own head, it might very well help you relax enough to solve whatever problem you’re facing.

Making a point to relax will also help you sleep. Worst comes to worse, I’m not above some melatonin or Nyquil to get the brain to stop moving.

Have a Great Cofounder

There’s a certain pressure as a founder to always be upbeat and positive. Your employees need it, your investors want it, and you better never let the press see you sweat.

Thankfully, if you have healthy cofounder relationships, you also have built in support.

Building a business is often compared to marriage. You and your cofounders have sacrificed everything to get your baby out into the world. No one knows what it’s like in the trenches than the people in there with you.

While building Nibletz, this is one area Nick and I did really well with. Almost always when one of us was doubting or stressing, the other was able to give encouragement. Managing your own psyche may be primary, but it’s great to have partners help out with that every now and then.

Whether you have great cofounders or not, building a community of peers and mentors will also help manage the daily strains and stresses of entrepreneurship. Go to founder meetups and conferences, get coffee with fellow entrepreneurs, and join communities like our Serious Founders group to get that extra support.

Managing your own thoughts and psychology is–by far–the most difficult part of entrepreneurship. There may be tips and tricks, but ultimately it will always fall to you.

And if you can learn that skill, you’ll find that you win more often than you lose.

 

Serious Startups Acquires Nibletz Media

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You know that feeling you get when you have a secret. And you’re DYING to tell everyone, but you.just.can’t.yet.

Well, welcome to the last 6 weeks of my life.

After a year of building Nibletz Media with my awesome cofounder Nick Tippmann, I’m thrilled to (finally!) announce that the company has been acquired by Nashville-based Serious Startups.

I’m also pumped to say that as part of the acquisition, I will be joining the Serious Startups team as the COO.

You can listen to the podcast for more details on next steps and to hear from Nick on what it’s like building a media company. Here are some things you can expect from the new Serious Startups:

  • A weekly talk show produced in conjunction with Talkapolis. David, John, and I will join our friend Kane Harrison to argue discuss all things entrepreneurial
  • Bi-monthly podcasts with startup experts from around the country
  • Kick ass live events
  • And–best for last–our Serious Founders master mind group. Find out more here. I promise, you don’t want to be left out

Why Go Big or Go Home is Terrible Advice

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You know what’s really sexy?

Big.

Big user numbers. Big engagement numbers. Big markets. Big press stories.

In theory, if you line these all up, you’ll soon be looking at big profits. And, we all know that when it comes to profits, size definitely matters.

The problem is that going big or going home is terrible advice. Here’s why:

Size is Relative

What is “big” exactly? It’s a relative term that relies on comparison.

  • Should you shoot to be the biggest company in the city? Your state?
  • Are you only successful if you’re the market leader?
  • Do you need to be the biggest company in the world??

The truth is that small and medium-sized companies are successful every day. They make a lot of money, provide employment, and make their founders wealthy, even if you never hear about them on Twitter.

Jason Lemkin recently advised founders to shoot for an order of magnitude bigger. Success is really about the math, and for the majority of entrepreneurs going big isn’t necessary to make the numbers add up.

Motivation (And Personality) Matter

Newsflash: entrepreneurship is hard enough. Building something from nothing is hard, no matter what your goal is.

Trying to be the next Facebook/Google/Uber, etc? That’s a level of sacrifice most founders just aren’t made to handle.

A lot of articles would now chastise you and make you feel like you’ll never be worthy or “part of it” if you aren’t cut out to be the CEO of a $20 billion company.

But, imagine a world in which we’re all Mark Zuckerberg or Travis Kalanick.

The truth is we all have different personalities, motivations, and responsibilities. And that’s okay! As the saying goes, “It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round.” The same applies to business and entrepreneurship. It takes all kinds of companies to create a full economic ecosystem.

“Know thyself” is indispensable wisdom. When you understand your own true personality, motivations, and desires, it’s a lot easier to know what kind of business you should build–and it’s totally acceptable if it’s not change-the-world big.

Heroes Are Outliers

Along those lines, it’s imperative to remember that those mega companies we all admire are outliers.

Depending on who you ask, something like 75-99% of startups fail.  Of the small percentage that “succeed,” almost all of them are acquired.

2013 saw the largest tech IPO class since 2000 with 188 companies going public. That’s 188 out of the thousands of companies started each year. And let’s be honest, the only one we really remember is Twitter.

On the flip side, there are thousands of entrepreneurs making great money pursuing their own ideas, even though they’ll never be featured on TechCrunch or close a $1.2 billion financing round.

What I’m Not Saying

I’m a big fan of innovative, change the world ideas. I fully believe we haven’t reached the edge of our ability to create new technology that will improve or enhance lives (and, yes, make money). So, if you have that kind of idea and drive, absolutely go big.

If you don’t, though, it’s time to stop drinking the go big Kool-Aid.

Overwatch Brings Video Gaming to Real Life Paintball

Okay, I’ll be honest here. I’m neither a big gamer nor avid paintball fan. I don’t love the graphic violence on video games, and paintball–well, those things hurt!

But, both pastimes are obviously very popular, and players of both are often not just participants but avid fans.

One of those avid fans is Josh Moody, who realized that real life paintball and airsoft could be greatly enhanced by the features of online combat games. So, he created Overwatch, a smartphone app that incorporates GPS, Bluetooth, and other technologies to provide a more digital experience to real life.

Josh gave me a quick education in gaming and what Overwatch can do to enhance real life games. Check out our chat below.

1) What does your company do?

Overwatch brings the futuristic technology of combat video games to real-life games of paintball, airsoft, and laser tag.  See the location of teammates and opponents through an overview of the entire playing field, communicate with teammates via voice chat, and activate perks and unlocks to gain an edge on the opposition during any game—all through your iOS or Android device.

2) Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

The company was founded by Joe Saumweber, Michael Paladino, and me.  Joe and Michael are the owners of RevUnit, an independent software development firm based in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Joe has an extensive background in digital and mobile strategy, large enterprise solutions, and consumer facing applications.  Michael has over ten years of experience in software development and developer management across web, mobile, and social platforms.  As for me, I am a self-taught programmer and web designer, with experience designing and building electronic hardware.  While I am only eighteen and have not had years and years of experience like my co-founders, I pride myself on being able to learn quickly and constantly improve.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

Three years ago, just as most teenage guys are, I was an avid gamer.  Specifically, I played quite a bit of “first-person shooter” games—titles such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.  While I enjoyed gaming on my console, I also enjoyed playing airsoft and paintball with friends.

—Most people are familiar with paintball but not airsoft.  To explain, airsoft is a similar game, but with much smaller, plastic BB projectiles instead of paintballs.  Airsoft guns also provide a much more realistic, tactical feel and experience.—

Interested in both the digital and real-life versions of combat gaming, I realized a substantial gap between the two.  None of the features of combat video games were present in real-life combat gaming, and thus, the Overwatch concept was born.  Using the Overwatch app and hardware, gamers now have real-time GPS radar to track the location of teammates and opponents on the playing field, bluetooth voice chat to communicate with one another at all times, and even perks and unlocks that provide special abilities (such as Radar Jam).  All of this and more is displayed right on the user’s smartphone, mounted directly in front of them, during any airsoft, paintball, or laser tag match.  Overwatch is interactive gaming in its truest sense.

4) How as being part of the ARK Challenge helpful for your startup?

Without the ARK Challenge, Overwatch would not be where it is today.  Not only did the ARK provide the funds our company needed to start up, it also provided invaluable mentorship and advice from experienced entrepreneurs, and the knowledge necessary to continue onward even after the 14-week competition had concluded.  I am incredibly grateful for each person who worked to make the ARK Challenge the great program that it is, and hope to see many more companies emerge from it.

5) What milestones have you reached, and what are you working on next?

From our founding, we’ve built the Overwatch app from the ground up for both iOS and Android, as well as designed the perfect hardware to incorporate a player’s smartphone into gameplay while providing adequate protection for the device.  At the close of the ARK Challenge, Overwatch secured a partnership with the largest airsoft manufacturer in the world to ensure that our products have a strong presence in both online and retail stores worldwide.  The iOS app is complete and will be submitted to the app store in the coming weeks, while the Android version is soon to follow.  As for the hardware, the armband, essentially a running band for your forearm, will be available in the coming months.  The rail mount, similar to the heartbeat sensor in Call of Duty, will be available later this year.

6) Where can folks find out more?

To find out more, we encourage people to visit OverwatchApp.com and sign up for our email updates.  If anyone has any additional questions after checking out the Overwatch website, feel free to email me at: josh@overwatchapp.com

Former VP Speaks at Southland, Comments on Edward Snowden

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This morning the Southland Conference in Nashville, TN kicked off with a bang. Former Vice President Al Gore joined Pando CEO Sarah Lacey on stage, starting the morning right with local Belle Meade bourbon.

Lacey opened the interview with what I assume is Al Gore’s favorite question:

“So, did you invent the Internet?”

It didn’t take too long, though, to start talking politics. When asked about the NSA, the former Vice President got fired up.

“You don’t find a needle in a haystack by bringin’ in more hay!” he said, moving to the end of seat to emphasize his point.

He also pointed out that as scary as government surveillance is, corporate surveillance is even scarier. He called out Google in particular, which is interesting considering his position as a senior adviser to the search giant.

“What about Edward Snowden?” Lacey asked. “Hero or traitor?”

After a little hemming and hawing about it not being that binary, the former politician finally said it:

“On the spectrum of traitor to hero, I would put him more on the hero side.”

He went on to talk about how Snowden broke laws to reveal what he did, but the actions he exposed were so much worse that they justified the civil disobedience.

There’s a ton more to come at Southland. Follow us on Twitter to keep up with all goings on in Nashville.

 

Online Retailers Can Now Access Better Data With MineWhat

ecommerce analytics

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It wasn’t that long ago that people couldn’t conceive of buying anything over the computer. Besides the limited technology, we mostly used cash instead of debit cards and were often gun shy about giving our credit card numbers to strangers.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and it’s tough to find someone who doesn’t shop online. (Even my mother made her first online purchase this past Christmas.) It’s estimated by some that online retail sales will reach $370 billion by 2017.

Obviously, with such a large and growing market, entrepreneurs are rushing to cash in. Online retail is increasingly viable and, even with logistics and inventory, is cheaper than opening a brick and mortar location.

In our data-driven world, the growth of a market also means the need for better and better analytics.

Fayetteville, AR-based MineWhat is poised to provide specialized eCommerce analytics for online retailers..

With a quick install, e-tailers can access a wide array of data that goes far beyond pageviews. MineWhat allows merchants to see what products shoppers look at, what brands sell well together, what products should be showcased, and a ton more data-junkie goodness.

Check out our interview with MineWhat CEO Janakiram Ganesan below.

1) What does your company do?

Think of MineWhat as a platform that enables online retailers to ask questions of their data and get answers to them as well. We help online stores pick the right merchandise whether it’s for marketing campaigns, product strategy, landing pages and more.

2) Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

MineWhat was founded by Pavan Kumar and Janakiram Ganesan.

Pavan spent some time writing code at various huge product firms before starting out as an entrepreneur. MineWhat is is his second startup venture. He likes scalability related problems, data management on the web and is an avid tech enthusiast.

MineWhat is my second startup as well. I’ve worked on machine learning related problems over the years. Of late I’ve been more interested in marketing, building businesses and tech evangelism

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

The initial idea behind MineWhat came out of the Indian eCommerce boom during 2010 – 2011.

eCommerce seemed like a really interesting thing to jump into. Friends of ours had started out building eCommerce stores of their own and we thought we’d rather do something that will help online stores instead of building another one.

4) How as being part of the ARK Challenge helpful for your startup?

The ARK Challenge really helped us refine the product idea. The mentors were awesome, getting to leverage their network and using their product feedback was of great help.

5) What milestones have you reached, and what are you working on next?

We’ve begun our sales push now, we are averaging over two signups a week. Most of what we will be focusing on from here on will be how to acquire and retain more customers.

6) Where can folks find out more?

They can head over to our website or onto any of our social media pages

https://minewhat.com

https://twitter.com/minewhat

https://www.facebook.com/minewhat?ref=hl

Southland Takes Fireside Chats to A Whole New Level (+ Promo for Nibletz Readers)

Southland Logo (1)The second annual Southland Conference kicks off in less than a month, June 9, in Nashville.

We reported in October that Sarah Lacy and PandoDaily were teaming up with LaunchTN to produce this installment of Southland. After a trip to Nashville for last year’s conference, Lacy was positive Pando needed to be involved with Southland going forward.

“I’ve always known that designing the next three day tech conference would inevitably be a big part of our business,” she said in a post announcing the partnership.

The schedule looks mostly like an interviewing bonanza for Lacy. The “speakers” will all sit down for onstage interviews with the PandoMedia CEO, a format she’s perfected during the PandoMonthly series.

Attendees to Southland will get to hear insights from folks like

  • Al Gore–former Vice President of the US and native Tennessean
  • Christy Turlington Burns–supermodel & founder of Every Mother Counts
  • Aaron Levie–CEO of Box
  • Phil Libin–CEO of Evernote
  • Andy Dunn–CEO of Bonobos
  • Bill Lerer–Managing Director of Lerer Ventures & CEO of Thrillist

As a nod to the South, the CEO of Acumen Brands John James will talk with Lacy about how to build an ecommerce powerhouse in Arkansas (when most of the competition comes from New York and the Bay Area.)

Lacy is well known for not babying executives too much and asking tough questions on stage. Like when she recently asked Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, “How much of a fuck-up was losing Instagram to Facebook?

You can imagine the questions for Al Gore. Perhaps something along the lines of green energy investments and Kleiner Perkins?

Southland isn’t only about Sarah Lacy grilling top tech talent, though. Each day will also include “Salon Sessions,” smaller gatherings that allow attendees to ask questions of the speakers.

And, of course, the Southern flair that made Southland a great event last year: whiskey tastings, Southland Village, a makers’ area, and nightly concerts from artists like J Roddy Walston and the Business.

Nick and I will be in Nashville for the big event, and LaunchTN and PandoMedia are offering Nibletz readers a deep discount on tickets to the conference. You can get your tickets at the Southland website and use the promo code SL-NIBLETZ to knock $1000 off the price.

Are We Seeing The Second Big Tech Bubble?

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There has been a slew of media attention in the last few years  on the question of whether or not we’re seeing the next tech bubble.

In the last 6 months, experts are weighing in with everything from data to personal anecdotes. Here’s what some of them are saying:

Ready to Pop

Data firm CB Insights insists that we are not in a bubble.

And yet, they’ve published 10 charts that prove otherwise.

Last month hedge fund manager David Einhorn stated in a letter to his investors that “there is a clear consensus that we are witnessing our second tech bubble in 15 years.”

Then, last week Fortune editor Adam Lashinsky compared the current atmosphere to 1999–and definitely saw the connection. His evidence doesn’t come from IPO valuations or amount of VC doled out in Q1. Nope, he points to things like social invitations to showcase the potential for a bubble. Maybe not the most scientific, but still an interesting way to look at it.

I can also gauge the tech bubble by the flow of dinner, drinks, and other social invitations in my inbox…

This isn’t new, either. During the last bubble — when I was younger and had fewer responsibilities outside of work — I pretty much stopped going to tech-related dinners because they were all the same. The stories were the same. The people were the same. The restaurants? The same.

After the bubble popped, the invitations slowed down dramatically. It was a relief.

Bubble? What Bubble?

For every pundit that cries “bubble!” at least one other insists we aren’t seeing one–yet anyway.

Over at Quartz there are still more charts, these pointing out why we shouldn’t worry just yet.

Back in January, Marc Andreesen told the Wall Street Journal that people who were calling the current climate a bubble “didn’t know what they were talking about.”

In my opinion, there’s nothing broad-based that’s happening. There’s no bubble, per se. Bubbles are a very specific phenomenon where you’ve got mass psychology and you’ve got every mom and pop investor and every cabdriver and every shoe-shine boy buying stock in whatever it is—going all the way back to the South Sea Bubble all the way through to the dot-com bubble.

There’s nothing like that. We’re talking about a fairly small number of companies. And then, we’re talking almost entirely on the private side. It hasn’t really affected the public market that much.

Just a Little Frothy

And then there are the folks who want to play it safe.

Analytics firm Mattermark recently published a post looking at the IPO trends and comparing them with the 90s. Their take on a bubble?

  • Pubic markets–No
  • Private Equity & Late Stage VC–Possibly
  • Venture Capital–No
  • Angel Investors & Seed Funds–Possibly

Also in January, Bill Gurley cautioned that while we might be in a bubble, we shouldn’t get too concerned just yet.

Even though things were frothy enough that the head of the federal reserve felt the need to talk down the market, the top was in fact many, many years away. And the venture capital firms that pulled back in 1996 missed the best three years of return in the history of venture capital industry. All of which makes predicting market tops a delicately tricky business.

How to Survive Bursting Bubbles

The other big question to ask is, “If there is a bubble, how do I survive it?”

Because companies do survive bubbles. Google and Amazon both pulled through the last one, and whenever the cycle goes down again, there will be companies that emerge strong.

How can yours be one of them?

  1. Secure profits–Companies that survive bubbles are the ones with the most cash reserves. This is good news for startups everywhere else, because companies outside Silicon Valley are used to maximizing for profit.
  2. Solve real problems–In a brilliant piece, Om Malik stated it simply: “Avoid the spectacle of technology and instead focus on technology and science solving real problems.”
  3. Focus–If you’re solving real problems and seeking out revenues, you stand a good chance of surviving a down cycle. The other key ingredient is to focus on your core values, but be willing to adapt to the times and data. Amazon, Ebay, and Netflix all survived crashes by insisting on solving their customers’ core problems.

St. Louis-based PenPath Brings Data Directly to Writers

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“When does an artist or a dancer ever perform with the curtain closed?” Alex Cruz asks.

Never!

So, why–he wants to know–are writers’ analytics and social sharing data controlled by the publications they write for? Or, if you’re a blogger, why is it so hard to keep track of things like Google Analytics?

Cruz and his team in St. Louis are solving that problem with PenPath.

PenPath is a comprehensive dashboard that tracks all the relevant data for a given piece of content, regardless of platform or medium. It works just as well for YouTube as it does for Medium.

Rather than needing passwords and code, writers can just paste the url of their article into PenPath and quickly see all their social shares, traffic, and other important data. The site tracks each article by the hour, but you can adjust the settings to see how your shares track over time. You can also see who is sharing the content and engage with them over social media.

Analytics, of course, is a big market, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to get more metrics. There’s already great tools out there like Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Muckrack, and more. PenPath is entering a crowded field, but they think they’re offering something unique that will be valuable to content creators.

And, as a former freelancer myself, I think they’re right. It’s possible to hack together all the different features PenPath offers, but it’s not easy. You have to span multiple platforms, websites, and spreadsheets. PenPath’s solution is simple, and it provides a way to watch the competition as well as yourself.

This week is a big week for the PenPath team. Yesterday they kicked off their crowdfunding campaign over at new software crowdfunding site Ramen. Only backers through Ramen will have first access to the platform, essentially creating a beta pool for the startup.

Cruz and team will also be exhibiting at the Collision Conference in Las Vegas this week, after having attended Everywhere Else Tennessee just last week. (And we thought we were busy!)

Check out PenPath over on their website, but if you want early access to the Platform, don’t forget to support them on Ramen.

 

Missed Everywhere Else Tennessee? Check Out Some Highlights

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There’s nothing quite as exhausting as a conference. Adrenaline, people, music, advice…everything goes by in a blur and suddenly it’s over. It can kinda leave you wondering what exactly happened.

(Psst: it’s that way for the organizers, times a million.)

Everywhere Else Tennessee is in the books, and it was a great one. Nick and I want to thank all of our sponsors, speakers, startups, volunteers, and attendees. You all made it an awesome show, and the two of us were really just along for the ride.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, you missed an awesome conference. From the opening party through the closing happy hour, the speakers kept dishing great advice on starting up everywhere else.

Little tidbits like:

It turns out size doesn’t matter. (Who knew?!)

Joel Andren’s talk on startup PR had every reporter nodding along. We want to talk to founders, y’all!

Jim McKelvey lied to the audience (repeatedly), and Paul Singh suggested we stop calling ourselves “startups.” And while we’re at it, we’ve got to figure out how to communicate our worth to people, because for every tech job created come 4.6 jobs in other industries. That’s powerful job growth.

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Techstars Patriot Boot Camp hosted a panel consisting of 4 veterans, all who founded companies after they came home.

“Veterans are generally overeducated and underemployed,” Taylor McLemore, founder of the Patriot Boot Camp, told the crowd.

Nicole Glaros popped onstage with a beer, after a long flight in from Boulder.

“It’s 5:00 somewhere, right,” she quipped to the crowd.

Glaros then spent 40 minutes giving 12 practical tips on starting up.

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A common theme throughout the show was handling failure. We all have failures big and small that are paving our way to success, and the #EETN speakers were no different. But, turning your failure into your strategy can help you push through anyway.

Nait Jones and Chris Lyons finished things off with a great fireside chat on the realities of starting up and the trends they’re both seeing in startup world.

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Throughout the conference, our 10 startups in the Startup Avenue competed for votes from the attendees. The top 3 presented onstage to the crowd and a panel of 3 judges.

Wannado, Wedding Worthy, and Overdog all pitched their startups, giving impressive stats, plans, and growth.

In the end, Nashville-based Overdog walked away as the Heavyweight Champion of Everywhere Else.

Oh, but there was so much more! You can catch some of the talks over on Ustream, and Ryan Hoover has an awesome podcast with fellow speakers Josh Miller and Ben Yoskovitz you should definitely check out.

Join Us for The Everywhere Else Tennessee Opening Party!

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We’re Beale Street Bar Hoppin’ tonight, starting at Silky O’Sullivan’s at 8PM. Then we’re hitting a few more Beale Street hot spots before the night’s over. Find out more here.

The Bar Hop is open to the public, no badge required. But, if you still want to join us for the whole conference, we’ve released just a few more tickets. Register now and don’t miss out on our awesome lineup of speakers and 2 more killer parties.

Check out the 3 awesome parties happening at Everywhere Else TN

The Everywhere Else conference series is about inspiration, education, and connection. We especially love getting you connected with each other and with our speakers.

And, with that in mind, we’ve got some awesome parties planned next week.

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Beale Street Pub Crawl with Centresource & Grasshopper–April 30th, 8 PM

A trip to Memphis wouldn’t be complete without spending some time on the historic Beale Street. And great news! You don’t have to have a badge to attend the bar hop.

We’re starting the party at Silky O’Sullivan’s. Join us on the patio for drinks and soak up the Memphis atmosphere. Later, we’ll take over the top floor of Club 152 for a glos stick-lit dance party.

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Dance Party at the Rumba Room, presented by Baker Donelson

The Grizzlies will be battling it out in the playoffs, and royalty will be heading into town, but the best party in town will always be Everywhere Else TN.

Thursday night we’re heading to the Rumba Room on South Main Street. The party is closed to the public, but conference badge holders will dance the night away with an awesome DJ and Baker Donelson.

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Last Call Happy Hour

Nothing closes out a conference like a happy hour.

After the conference, badge holders can mingle at 409 South Main. We’ll provide wine and local craft beer, and you’ll provide the great conversations and connections.

Bonus: Beale Street Music Festival

Everywhere Else TN may wind down, but the annual Beale Street Music Festival will just be kicking off Friday night. Join conference organizers and speakers as we unwind and check out some awesome bands. You can find more details and get tickets here.

Don’t miss out on these great parties and all the other great things happening at Everywhere Else TN. Grab a ticket before they’re gone.

Dallas-Based VentureSpur Launches Spinoff Accelerator in Oklahoma

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Earlier this week Dallas-based VentureSpur accelerator annouced LaunchOklahoma, as a dedicated Oklahoma accelerator. VentureSpur accelerator has launched 11 high-tech startups in the last two years, all of which are continuing to grow and 4 of which have raised more than $1.7M on multi-million dollar valuations.

LaunchOklahoma retains VentureSpur’s Managing Director, Kraettli L. Epperson, who is joined by prior VentureSpur board members Gabe Bass and Mike Whitaker on the LaunchOklahoma board of directors.

The VentureSpur accelerator will continue in Dallas as VentureSpur Texas, and will be operated by VC fund Trailblazer Capital, with a focus on mobility and technology for restaurants, retail and hospitality.

Dallas is a major hub for national restaurant, retail and hospitality headquarters and more than half of Trailblazer Capital’s portfolio is in these areas, creating great opportunity for an industry-focused accelerator. As a spinoff, LaunchOklahoma will be focused on recruiting tech startups in Oklahoma.

“In a very short period of time and on a very lean budget, we have been able to create a national profile and to launch multiple thriving startups that are attracting clients, hiring staff and raising money,” said Epperson, “We will be carrying that effort forward, with a distinctly Oklahoma flavor.”

LaunchOklahoma is currently reviewing all startup applications not related to VentureSpur Texas’ focus area and will be making program admissions on the announced 2014 schedule. The program will include a Pitch Day in October, at which participating startups will have an opportunity to pitch their company to potential investors and clients. The accelerator is targeting 3 to 4 companies for 2014, in line with prior years’ programs in Oklahoma.

“Our mentors, sponsors and investor network are happy to see a new effort dedicated to Oklahoma. There is a smaller local capital market in Oklahoma, but we have great entrepreneurs and startups. A lot of our focus will be on supporting the innovators here with outreach to our national capital networks while also developing crowdfunding strategies. Startup investment is rapidly democratizing and crowdfunding is quickly becoming the most accessible source of early-stage seed funding. Our acceleration strategy will be geared towards those new opportunities,” said Epperson.

LaunchOklahoma Board Member Gabe Bass, managing partner of Bass Law and president of the Entrepreneur’s Organization of Oklahoma, said, “Successful tech startups, especially ones that raise significant early stage capital, rarely emerge from a vacuum. They require an ecosystem of experienced entrepreneurs, advisors, and capital sources willing to engage and mentor them. This was the reason that VentureSpur was launched, to help create that ecosystem in Oklahoma. LaunchOklahoma will build on that effort and momentum.”

LaunchOklahoma will also serve as a testing ground for new technologies including a mobile app dedicated to managing the intensive coordination, networking, scheduling and especially the accountability required for acceleration success.

The accelerator also plans a future presence in other cities in the state.

LaunchOklahoma Board Member Mike Whitaker, a successful Oklahoma entrepreneur and investor, said, “We’re very interested in working more closely with the great startup efforts in Tulsa, Norman and Stillwater. The development of a robust entrepreneurial community must be a state-wide effort. Bringing Oklahoma startups investment capital from outside Oklahoma is what puts us on the entrepreneurial map.”

For more information visit www.LaunchOklahoma.com or follow www.Twitter.com/LaunchOklahoma on Twitter.