Photo by Justin Torner Photography and courtesy of EntreFEST.
Last week, six of us from Far Reach headed to Iowa City for the two-day EntreFEST conference.
The organizers promised three days of game-changing training and inspiration. They didn’t disappoint.
I’ve supported the organizers since its start and have attended 6 out of 8 EntreFESTs.
What keeps me coming back?
- Learning – There’s so much to learn from the more than 100 speakers.
- People – Connecting and networking with other attendees is my favorite part.
- Perspective – It’s good to get away from the details of the day-to-day grind. I get to step back and look at the big picture. Where have we been? Where are we now? Most importantly, where are we going?
Here’s what I learned.
I attended a session on work-life balance as an entrepreneur. It confirmed what I thought—there is no work-life balance for entrepreneurs. Well, there is, but it’s different than most people's balance.
My takeaway was each person needs to determine the work-life balance that works for themself and their family. I have a super supportive wife, so my balance shifts more toward business at times.
Ben Milne discussed his truths, which were a collection of insights. I enjoyed his talk. Two of his truths really resonated with me:
- Ideas are worthless—unless you do something about them.
- Learning to be happy is scary.
I listened to legendary business leader John Pappajohn take part in a Q&A session.
Some key takeaways:
- The key to success is learning how to solve problems.
- Success is feeling good about what you did and knowing you did your best work.
- Happiness is positive cash flow.
- Help people to help themselves.
The Lean Startup Machine
Trevor Owens, author of "The Lean Enterprise," talked about lean startup methodologies.
His tips included:
- Create a minimum viable product (MVP). This minimum version of your product vision lets you quickly and effectively validate your idea.
- Pinpoint their pain. Early adopters are your first customers. They have a pain you are solving.
- Make a hypothesis and test. Adjust your hypothesis based on the results. Repeat.
- Pivot if necessary. Change your strategy, not your vision.
Iowa Coaches Roundtable
The roundtable featured:
- Mark Farley – University of Northern Iowa head football coach
- Tom Brands – University of Iowa wrestling coach
- Lisa Bluder – University of Iowa women's head basketball coach
- Sandy Hatfield Clubb – Drake University athletic director
My takeaways, which apply to both sports and business, included:
- Have values and a vision. Execute on them.
- Values and vision will attract the right type of players.
- If you get complacent, you will lose. You need to keep tweaking to get better.
- Treat people as they could be. For example, one panelist told a story about an athlete who began playing with the first-teamers and his game and intensity rose.
The conference ended with keynote speaker Seth Godin.
His key points were:
- Marketing/building for the masses = building average stuff.
- All of us are smarter than any of us.
- The industrial age is over. Start thinking about the connection economy.
- Treat different people differently.
- Art is something that makes a difference and might not work.
Next Year’s Event
EntreFEST 2016 will be May 18-20 in Iowa City. You can register now. I’ll be there. I hope you will be, too.