I went to an Inc Magazine event in Texas. After applying for the Inc Magazine 30 under 30 awards, I was sent an invite to attend the Inc Founder House. I was told the event was to celebrate Inc Magazine turning 40 years old.
Also, at some point, 40 successful mentors would be paired with 40 start-up entrepreneurs.
Little further information was provided, so I had to trust that the strong brand of Inc would take care of me (I had just watched the Fyre Festival documentary on Netflix so I was suspicious of any event.)
It was also an excuse to travel to Texas for the first time and check out what I expected were farms, trucks, and honest hard-working people.
Florida —> Texas
I booked my flights from Orlando and attended the events March 8-11, 2019. How does one dress for a technology event? Am I meant to wear pyjamas? Shorts and a short-sleeve shirt? I decided to go with khaki pants and a company-branded t-shirt.
Upon landing, I realized that the Inc Founder House was part of a much larger event, SXSW (South by Southwest). Uber’s were backed up 30 minutes, so I decided to take the bus into town from the airport.
I am used to going to lawyer conferences, which almost always take place in conference rooms and involve back-to-back PowerPoint presentations.
The Inc Magazine event took place at La Volpe, a restaurant downtown Austin, Texas. Being unfamiliar with “pop-up” events, I was very confused about how a large event could take place at a restaurant.
Upon arriving downtown Austin, I was greeted by motorized scooters, roads blocked off, and the youngest group of expo attendees I have ever seen. Everyone seemed relaxed and eager to learn.
The Inc Founders House kicked off with a meet and greet. It was cool to meet several entrepreneurs and was also given a pass for Fast Companies event, “the Fast Company Grill.”
I saw that the Inc Founders House and the Fast Company Grill had back-to-back talks, networking events, and lunches/dinners planned so I did what is expected from a legal industry CEO, I went back to the hotel to study and plan.
I was at the Founders House sharp at opening time, but others were not there yet. When they showed up, I learned that some had attended a “Facebook party” or “Linkedin party” until 2 am. I was in bed by 11 pm, but that’s just how I roll.
Inc Magazine Event
We started off the day with mimosas & breakfast tacos. I met a lawyer named Reda Hicks who was starting her own co-share space. I talked to her about the plan of my legal tech company to do an IPO.
Ravi Patel cofounder of “This Bar Saves Lives” talked to us about the importance of giving back to the community. The part of the talk most interesting was that Ravi shared the best way to get celebrities behind your brand (I was again reminded of the Fyre Festival.)
He said that celebrities want to meet other celebrities, so find out ways to connect people within your company. Even celebrities need to network for new opportunities!
The rest of the speakers included many successful CEOs, politicians, Matthew McConaughey, movie directors, a retired CIA officer, and editors for Fast Company and Inc Magazine.
Below is a list of 5 key takeaways:
1. Regardless of the industry you choose to start a business in, there will be many challenges.
2. Try and work through those challenges, and don’t give up too soon.
3. If things are not working, fail quickly. Things may be hard, but you should be moving forward every day and making progress. If things are staying the same for too long, move on.
4. Most of the companies mentioned that raising capital was the most stressful part of the entrepreneur process.
5. Building a team is the second most difficult part of building a great company. Good is the enemy of great. You need to be working at being the best. You can never be satisfied with your company, or someone will take you over.
Inc Magazine Event
The rest of the event involved interesting conversations, activations and strategy sessions, complimentary lunches, and happy hour parties.
I have a stack of business cards and information to go through. It will take me many weeks!!
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a tech company in China. Google him to learn how he got shot in the army.
If you want to learn more about our company visit our YouTube videos. Maybe I will see you at the next Inc Magazine Event.