So, we survived our first SLUSH.
And what an amazing experience it was!
Meeting all these people, talking to potential clients and investors, and attending numerous seminars and talks was a life changer. I’m still overwhelmed, but I’ll try to share some takeaways with you.
Five things learned:
- It’s all about the team
In a panel discussion about failures and mistakes – together with Daniel EK, Spotify, and Ilkka Paananen, Supercell – Niklas Zennström, founder of Skype, let us know that it is ”always” the team that makes it or breaks it. Not the product or the business model. You got to have the right people!
- Be passionate about your mission
The same panel also stressed the importance of passion, dedication, and really living for the mission. If you know – and love – what you set out to achieve, you will make it! Des Traynor, co-founder of Intercom, also praised paranoia – be obsessed about the problem you are solving, not your solution, or product. By doing that you will have a greater chance of keeping your product relevant as you grow – always solve the problem!
- Automation is good, but human connection is more important
Yes, automation is here, and yes, the bots are coming, and yes, VR and AI will change our lives. But we, as humans, want to be part of something more than a machined society. The human context will prevail. Super angel Chris Sacca, was passionate about empathy and human connection as well. His reflection was that it’s really important for startups to connect to the world outside the bubble. To have experience outside the product, outside the digital box. Humans need context and connection!
- Stay on top of your metrics
Make sure that you track your audience and visitors from the start. Also make sure that you use this data to develop and improve your solution. Because when you are asking investors for money to scale and grow, they will look at everything. As Fred Destin, partner of Accel pointed out: ”You will be under so much scrutiny. We will ask for data that you didn’t even knew existed”. So, stay on top of those metrics!
- Be transparent with investors
”This is not our first rodeo”. The quote is from Mattias Ljungman, partner at Atomico. It means that investors will understand that there will be ups and downs, that you will make mistakes, that maybe you will not reach your targets. The important thing is that you can show that you can learn from mistakes or downfalls. And bounce back stronger! So, be transparent when you meet investors. They can help you.
So, all in all, important lessons learned. And we are more prepared for the future. Also, a huge shout out to Business Sweden, Swedish Hotspot, Create Business Incubator, and all the startups and people we met for making this an awesome experience.