This time last week, I was in Sydney attending Launch Festival, hosted by Jason Calacanis (pictured above with yours truly). I can honestly say that I got more out of the two days then the cost of flights, hotel and meals! The ticket itself was free for me as a founder of Abide.
The free founder pass was a great motivation to go because even though I had to go to a different city, I could take the plunge because for me, at worst, I could have a bit of a mid-year break in Sydney. I didn’t attend Myriad or Qode because the tickets were so expansive. I did attend Startcon but only because I scored free tickets. Would I pay to go to Startcon? No, because the talks at Startcon weren’t anything special. But the majority of the talks at Launch Festival provided enormous value.
One the first day, the best talks were Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra’s talk on “The Product-Market Fit Engine”. The talk was about creating a leading indicator by asking users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percentage who answer “very disappointed.”, “somewhat disappointed” and “not disappointed”. The way to build a product-market fit then is to focus on the “very disappointed”, figuring out how to keep them. Also, figure out how to convert the “somewhat disappointed” into “very disappointed”. It also means forgetting about the “not disappointed” because there is a good chance that you cannot get to that group without compromising your vision.
I also loved the talk from Shaun Abrahamson on “Reimagining Cities: a Guide to the Future for Startups & Investors”. He used the words catastrophic climate failure in the context that there are already people building businesses under the assumption that we will have a catastrophic climate failure. Whether you believe that we are doomed or not, I am all for cities feeding cities and being more self-contained.
I also enjoyed the panel discussions on both day one and two. I enjoyed the in-depth look at how Masterclass became a successful startup during the fireside chat with David Rogier.
From day two, I learnt a lot from the presentation of Allen Chen of Fitbod who spoke about Growth Metrics that Matter. The talk was about the limits of taking user acquisition and other numbers at face value. Because if someone downloads your app, Fitbod is an app, but never uses it, do you really have a user? This is a simplification. I haven’t been able to track down secondary material on the talk. But I want to!
I also loved the talk from Charles Hudson of Precursor VC on “How Not to Mess Up Seed Round in 2019”. I am not in a position at the moment to raise a seed round with Abide, but it’s always good to be pre-prepared.
Speaking of which, following the festival, I listened to Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups by Jason Calacanis. It was an incredible look at the other side of the startup world. I am not about to become, but hopefully, Abide will soon be in a position where we will need Angel investors. So it’s always great to research ahead and be a bit better prepared.
Back to the festival. Launch also had a demo pit and a competition to get into Jason Calacanis’s accelerator. I enjoyed the pitches and the demo pit. I was able to make a small connection between the Bee App and my cohort mate from Elevate+, Bee One Third. Maybe something fruitful will come from that!
Overall, it was fun. I had a good time, learnt a lot and also got to have a little mini holiday in Sydney and spend some time with my cousin. So all in all, a week well spent!