May 14, 2013
On Friday, downtown Las Vegas saw four great speakers at the Downtown Construction Zone as part of Tech Cocktail Week. This edition of Tech Cocktail Sessions was the highlight of day three of the four days of events put on by Tech Cocktail and the Downtown Project that brought 30+ technology startup founders, investors, press, and luminaries to downtown Las Vegas.
First up was serial entrepreneur, mentor, and investor Ariel Poler, the creator of an early web analytics company. He shared some of the lessons he’d learned in over 20 years of working on the web. Some of my favorites were that speed is overrated, and that it’s more important to have good execution. Additionally, he talked about how success rarely ever happens overnight, and that it really takes years. At the very end, he talked about how he’d evolved as a parent. Every day he teaches his children something new and writes about it on a blog he created.
Second, we had Dashboard founder and 500 Startups venture partner Paul Singh talk about the evolution of private markets. Early in his career, he became fascinated by how you track private companies. He shared how, in the 1950s, the average stock was being held for six years; in the 2000s, it was 6 months; and now it’s six minutes. Trading is becoming electronic and much easier. It’s more accessible to everyone. With easier access to trading, that means there are more investors and more money being traded. Plus with the web, there’s more information about what’s happening in the private markets. Soon, you’ll see more public trading in private markets. Paul calls it the “rise of the angels.”
Next up was Rich Winley. He’s the founder and CEO of the startup No Chains. They develop apps that help promote the patronage of non-chain restaurants. His talk was entitled “Who the F is that?” He talked about the importance of not replacing in-person communication with social media. Winley emphasized how “social media isn’t a replacement. It’s an enhancement.” Later, he mentioned how “serendipity doesn’t happen unless you open your mouth.”
Last up was our keynoter Ali Partovi. He was the cofounder of LinkExchange (with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh) and the cofounder and CEO of iLike. He’s now a prominent startup investor. He talked about the “Silicon Valley Gospel.” This isn’t Silicon Valley, the place; he was talking about Silicon Valley, the idea. It’s the idea of embracing risk. He talked about the importance of hiring and investing in great people. Lastly, he talked about how great investors are like children. They question everything. They question the status quo.
It was a fantastic event. We can’t wait to host Tech Cocktail Sessions in Downtown Las Vegas again next month, where there will be another set of great speakers.
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