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7 Ways to Lever Annual Events for Entrepreneurs

by Larry Chiang on December 14, 2014

Larry Chiang’s 5th book, WTDTYASBS, launched at a Harvard Law School keynote, so he knows about grand openings (He even attends and promotes the ones he isn’t invited to also). As CEO of Duck9, he leads an army to help college student consumers get a FICO over 770. Post H.L.S. keynote, Harvard Business wrote: “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School” (his latest post: “Setting an intention for SXSWi“.

I go where the hawt girls text me to go. Here, I am sitting front row at NY Fashion Week. Tory Burch’s launch is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

By Larry Chiang

By Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
Ways to Lever Annual Events for Entrepreneurs

VCs want to see what you can execute with no money before we give you millions. Take advantage of a pattern I recognize: tech conferences, conventions and even holiday parties are “annuals”.

They all pattern iterate and pattern replicate the exact. For example…,
-1- VC holiday parties.
Same first or second Wednesday in December. Same venue. Same catering company. Kleiner has never not hosted at Menlo Circus. Draper has never not hosted in HMB. DCM has it at the Asian Art Museum.
I’m not telling you CS majors to impress you. I’m revealing a hole in the algorithm! It leads me to point number two
#2: Most event planners are lazy and take zero risk en route to a mediocre event.
This is just true-true.
#3 Impress hard-to-impress executives BY SOLVING A CLEAR PROBLEM
Look at the agenda or schedule or timetable. There are holes. There are improvement areas. A 3 day tech conference. Or 4 day Software Expo is a buffet of mediocrity. They can be improved. Solve a clear problem leads to entrepreneurial point number four (which doubles as “Pop Up Internship #2 that is Steve Blank inspired)
#4 Augment the Annual event with value added content
Read the Steve Blank post “attend trade shows like they matter”. Execute a subfranchise to the annual confab/conference.  By subfranchise, I mean augmented content.
For example, at Toronto International film festival doing a midnight fireside chat at the Westin hotel at the Harbor. For example a midnight keynote at the Four Seasons in Austin during SXSW. For example, doing circus mashimous at sxsw for Mashery (sold to Cisco)
#5 Hosting a tap water and cardboard pizza, pizza party #AfterParty
Hands down, the best of the best way to make a splash for no money is to do an afterparty. Tap water and pizza was fine for world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative. Pizza and tap water was fine for my TED afterparty. Pizza and tap water work
Points number 6/ and #7 are whoppers. You will have to email me for them

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