I am not sure what I expected from my first day at Big Omaha. What I thought I wanted … and what I got … were two very different things.
And that was good.
Defy Ventures was one of the most interesting stories I have heard in a longtime. The dedication and transparency of the founder, Catherine Rohr, is amazing. The stories of the positive impact on lives brought tears to many in the audience. Words here can not do it justice here. Read up on it on twitter (@DefyVenturesInc) and put Defy & Catherine on your radar.
The presentation I most looked forward to was a pleasant surprise. I thought I would be able to gather insights on the coming disruption of the payment transaction industry by Dwolla founder Ben Milne (@bpmilne). What he delivered was straight talk to his peers. $20 million in venture capital has clearly not changed him. If anything, it has given him a bigger megaphone to tell it like it is. Here are some of my favorite lines from Ben.
“Connect to your assets here (ie Midwest) and create something special with a unique heartbeat.”
“Get your team excited to make things and let it rip. People build great things when they have autonomy.”
“Your team at work and at home pay for your bad decisions.”
“Appreciate your bandwidth limitations. Multitasking is a fallacy”
“Be religious about being an agent of change. It doesn’t matter how many people agree with you. Your tribe will gather”
And finale: “life is totally abnormal – so f#ck normal”.
The final panel discussion had a couple of questions around fundraising, how to approach investors, etc. giving me a pleasant reminder that INVESTyR is on the right path as we serve a real need in the world. There were several comments that will make our next book.
Someone asked the panel for entrepreneurial advice and here are the four answers:
– Everything is bullshit that is not in writing… Get everything in writing.
– Know when you are right and stick to it.
– Design your own life.
– Only work with people you are super jazzed about.
So as I sit at Aromas coffee house in Omaha, Nebraska typing this up, I am thinking that tomorrow will be another day enjoying the unexpected. As it should be.
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