Last Wednesday through Friday myself along with 1000 other entrepreneurs attended EntreFEST in Iowa City, Iowa. This was my first year attending as well as half of the crowd as attendance went from 500 to 1000 just from last year (and it will surely rise again next year!).
I have had my ticket since they began selling them last year as my ticket was a Christmas present I asked for. I have spent the past year listening to buddies of mine tell me about how amazing the event is and how I need to go. I made it a big priority to attend this year.
"I am too busy to attend...", "Right now is not the best time for me..."
These are always excuses that come up when it comes to scheduling time to attend a conference or some other event. My excuse this time was, "right now is not the best time for me..." as I have been heads down into developing the MVP product for my startup me2. However, I knew this was a stupid excuse as they always are. No matter what you are working on, however busy you are that week, you will always have that excuse so just get over it and do it.
The best thing that I did was buy my ticket way ahead of time. It prevented from me taking any action and cancelling my ticket or simply not attending. It kept me in there for the long-run making the arrangements to make it happen.
I have been to conferences in the past and they were just ok
I have attended a couple other conferences including entrepreneurial conferences. After the event I felt they were pretty good but I did not have very many action items to take away from them. Sure, I felt it was cool as I got to meet and hear from entrepreneurs who have big successful businesses but the content however could not relate to me at all. EntreFEST was much different.
The talks that I attended were from entrepreneurs who are at my level. Living in Iowa with the same resources I have. The startups are young being 5 years or younger. I did hear from Ben Milne, Wade Arnold and others who are at a much different level then I am at, but I was still able to have key take away items from listening to them. All of the content was simply full of great information I am already starting to implement into my work and personal life.
Now, on with my notes!
Keynote. Things I believe to be unarguably true -- Ben Milne of Dwolla.
Getting team culture right from the beginning. -- Michael Eynon-Lynch of Pear Deck
Built in Iowa with Wade Arnold, Founder of Banno. -- Wade Arnold of Banno, a Jack Henry and Associates company.
Life Lessons in Entrepreneurship -- John Pappajohn.
Sales Strategies for Startups -- Trey Bowles of Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
How to win at crowdfunding. -- Alex Lavidge of GIGTANK.
Closing keynote with Seth Godin -- Seth Godin.