Recently I attended the Serendipity Conference in San Francisco, created by Anne Cocquyt and the team behind The Guild. Snippets of my takeaways are here for you to soak up! This photo was taken during the Founders Meet Funders session which was like speed dating, but with investors! We had an opportunity to share our pitch for our organization or business and then we received immensely valuable feedback and advice from each of the investors!
Lisa Wang, SheWorx
Meditation is great but you must also visualize. Until you can see exactly what you want to feel and who you want to be, there will always otherwise be a gap if you are only meditating. -Lisa Wang
My all time favorite thing that Lisa said was in response to a question about how women should dress for a presentation, a pitch or for a meeting. Lisa quickly answered:
Wear what you want and what you feel comfortable and powerful in. You're going to get judged regardless of what you wear, so make it something you love.
Some more of her nuggets and thoughts:
- Not all great ideas will be funded. You need a great idea, a great team AND great metrics.
- If you're early to the market, you have to show that people want your service or idea.
- It is always better to have 100 people adore you than 1,000 people KIND of like you.
Takeaways we can all learn from:
If you are pitching, or presenting, know which trigger words make you feel powerful and which trigger words make you feel lesser than. If you are in an interview scenario, be rock solid on your answers so that you can deliver the answer to the question YOU want to answer - regardless of what question they are asking.
Always do the research to find the human connection in those you are meeting with. What sports teams do they like? Did they recently post about a family trip to Bali? Discover how you can make a connection between your legacies, the impact you both desire, how your values and missions align.
We are currently valuing disruption in our industries and not valuing true impact.
When creating a slide presentation or pitch deck, the most important things to remember (and no more than 12 slides!) are your values, your numbers, your view of service and background of the team.
Patti Sanchez, Duarte
Oh my goodness, how I loved Patti's session! She co-wrote Illuminate which I think is THE Bible for change and leadership inside of organizational and community change. I brought my copy of the book for her to autograph and it is a prized possession and something I reference often. I adore their way of breaking down the concept of innovating the S Curve.
Two key snippets:
- Leaders must create the map for the clan.
- Stories ALIGN two people and cut out the judgment opportunities.
One of the things Patti said that really struck me is when she said that leaders (visionaries) are often so focused on the goals, the what's next and the dreams that they then drop the ball during the final stage. In order to combat that and keep it from happening, she suggests leaders stay focused on the overall mission, and make a point to draw the clan into the big picture goal (or if the recent attempt / mission failed, talk about the WHY with the clan).
Origin stories are critical - leaders and founders MUST tell how it all began, and tell it often!
Takeaway / Action Tip I plan to implement
: If you need buy in and a commitment from your clan, consider launching a challenge or share your story and Origin story in mini-vision versions. Tell your story as a scene, or a thread.
Andy Raskin, AndyRaskin.com
Andy delivered a powerful presentation on storytelling and the importance of the promised land (read on to the bullet points for more on that:
- Story is a protocol for inserting beliefs into other people's heads.
- Create a quiver of stories that relate to adjectives you wish to impart.
- Create a world where people are telling the right story about you and your community or business.
- Don't have your pitch or story start with a problem (causes defensiveness and a reaction/exposure).
- Describe the process - who is impacted, describe them.
- Who can we demonize? What is the old world / past? What is OUR change in the world? What big stakes can we share?
When telling your story:
1) Name the undeniable, relevant change in the world
2) Show what's at stake (define thriving in great detail, what does winning look like, what does losing look like
3) What does the promised land look like? Tease the promise ... aim for the "Yes, that's true" response
4) Position capabilities as "magic" for slaying monsters
5) present evidence so you can make the story come true (showcase success and tell the story of those who reached promised land)
6) Make sure that the promised land gives direction to the team AND provides benefit to the world
The story isn't just about marketing. The story is the strategy. If you make your story better, you make your strategy better. Ben Horowitz
Mark Reistra and Carrie Kibler, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati
Mark and Carrie presented on "popular ways to screw up your business" - great presentation title! Here are the bullet point takeaways:
- poorly written business plan
- ignoring corporate formalities
- forgetting the importance of vesting
- screwing up on the assignment of IP rights
- having a large and disorganized founding team
You need to have a team that is willing to hold hands and jump in the pool. -Mark Reistra
If you are creating an advisory board, make sure you have a good mix of helpers and important people ... but then make sure you load up and then rely on the helpers.
- When in doubt, go with a Delaware Corporation
- TEAM, TEAM, TEAM (and it doesn't have to be an equal pie!)
- Know the regulations
- Be creative with compliance
- Know your terms
- Maintain employee and consultant documentation
- Write down your intentions for each and every person who interacts with your company
- IP is your secret sauce - protect it
- Surround yourself with an amazing set of cheerleaders
- File your paperwork - and on time
When you are asking someone to introduce you, PROVIDE the 1-2 paragraph introduction language / text to make it easy on them.
Expand your network and connections as often as you can and THEN fit the puzzle pieces together.
(Note from Naomi: their session was pretty heavy and deep - if you want to go more in depth on any of their bullet points, I can discuss in the comments ...)
Another photo from the conference I'm spotted in (my back!). What do you think after reading my notes? Are there any pieces of the presentations that stand out to you more than others? Which ones resonate with you?
(If you want to learn more about Serendipity, read their piece on Medium.)