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GET BIGGER with @106miles and Vinod Khosla! #getbigger

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Microsoft and 106 Miles welcomed Vinod Khosla to the Microsoft stage on Tuesday, October 25, 2011:

Vinod Khosla held a Q&A session with a few select 106 Miles startups in front of a live audience.

The #getbigger event was sold out.

Watch the video or read the Xconomy summary.

Thank you Vinod!!

Photo credit: O'Reilly

We hope this will help the entire 106 Miles community learn to think bigger!

This is the format of the event:

  1. Joyce introduced the companies in 3 minutes each. This gave us a more consistent experience, and take away the "some founders are better pitchers than others" factor.

  2. The founder of each company talked to Vinod for ~10 min about Vinod's questions and comments.

  3. The founder of each company and Vinod answered audience questions for 5 min.

This event was SOLD OUT.

Our emcee tomorrow is Joyce Park, co-founder of 106 Miles and an engineer in numerous startups.

We begin with a little introduction:

Bubble 1.0: yes it was a bubble, but we genuinely wanted to work on nothing but big ideas. We wanted to change how everyone in the world did everything! Teams were big, rounds were big, risks were big, and failures were big.

Bubble 2.0: lean is awesome, capital efficiency is good... but Silicon Valley doesn't exist to help a onesie-twosie team write a mobile app to find good donuts.

How to get bigger? I've found that when you talk to big thinkers, they help you think bigger. If you talk to small thinkers, they make you think smaller.

Vinod is among the biggest thinkers in the Valley. When I first came here, the very first thing I heard about him is that if he thinks your idea is big, he will gleefully tell you to run FULL SPEED up the mountain -- even if you have no idea what's up there. Could be a cliff, could be the greatest view in the world.

Format of the event: Joyce will introduce each of the six 106 Miles companies in 3 minutes or less... OK 5 minutes or less. Her goal is to try to show you the awesome, and also to come up with one question that Vinod can start with. Then Vinod and the founder will chat, and finally they'll take questions that you tweet up there during their chat. Due to the number of startups who wanted to be presented, we have to keep things moving along... so I'll have to cut off at 20 min total for each.

The companies being introduced tomorrow are:

Not only will we have fun, but we just might learn something, too.

I'm following this convo and I can answer questions about @CodeLesson either before or after tonight's Q&A.

I will also have some discount codes on courses to give away tonight. I have a few for our Python course, as well as some for PostgreSQL and our Ruby programming course as well.

How could a talk about get bigger possibly be sold out? Somebody sneak me in.

Tim, if you show up, we'll let you in.

Lol, thanks! A subtle reference to a previous 106miles post I thinks?

You got it, buddy. Go big!

Great event! Thanks Adam and Joyce.

Thanks for coming, Tim! I tweeted bunches and should import the best tweets here...

My favorite takeaways from Lisa Winter's notes:

  1. Lots of products fail because people fail to engineer emotion into the product.

  2. Become a part of somebody's daily habit. The best companies create a new experience or new habit.

  3. Every problem is an opportunity. You don't get paid to solve non-problems.

Best lines from 106 Miles tweets:

  1. One way to #getbigger: give your product away for free?

  2. Get one senior person in the company who ONLY represents the user.

  3. Startups have to do what big companies with distribution cannot. #getbigger

My favorite takeaways from Lara Druyan's notes:

  1. “@ifindkarma: "What have you done to test it?" #getbigger” question of the night!

  2. “@ifindkarma: "You have to be very clear on what YOU do." #getbigger” and what you don't do!!!!

My favorite #getbigger quotes from myself tweeting Vinod:

  1. "How many people in the room have started or want to start a company?" ~ @VKhosla (Whole room raises hand.) #getbigger

  2. "In first half of this year there were 26,000 Startups in the US. Change is accelerating. Opportunity is increasing."

  3. "Passion is the single biggest correlator to success."

  4. "Become a part of somebody's daily habit."

  5. "Data reduction is an interesting area for startups."

  6. "Facebook is about friends. Twitter is about what's happening. There's nowhere to go deeper."

  7. "The medium is the message. Facebook does encourage fly-by behavior. Trolling is fun!"

  8. "Every problem is an opportunity. You don't get paid to solve non problems."

  9. "The hardest part about a marketplace is kick starting it with the right branding."

  10. "Helping someone find a new job is an extremely crisp and clear value proposition."

  11. "The way to #getbigger is to not be one thing for everybody. Customize."

  12. "How about employing one student to teach another student? Get specific about the benefits of social."

  13. "Have a less rigid view. In early stages of a startup you're in a roundabout. Go around a few times before picking a road."

  14. "Don't put paywall ahead of value proposition!"

  15. "You have to be very clear on what YOU do."

  16. "The freemium model works because people like to test something before they pay."

  17. "Get your startup a consumer advocate. Someone who ONLY represents the user."

  18. "Solve ghost town problem for big data startups by giving free, personalized data to all new customers."

  19. "If one of your partners sends me the consumer a message, what's in it for me?" "Emotional connection."

  20. "Who are the 2 or 3 most important technical people in your company?"

  21. "How do you bootstrap big data when you're first starting?"

  22. "What is the biggest problem you could be solving?"

  23. "A great product is essential to a great company. But think about emotions. People respond to safety."

  24. "Credibility is an important part of the enterprise sale."

  25. "What can't SAP do that you can do, besides passion and agility?"

  26. "What is it that you can offer that's new?"

  27. "Why not make this an application on Facebook?" "I see a mountain and want to run to the top."

  28. "I've never seen a business plan be accurate. Instead say: here are my assumptions, my tests, my assets, AND my liabilities."

  29. "Lots of products fail because people fail to engineer emotion into the product."

  30. "Fascinate by Sally Hogshead --engineer some of seven emotional triggers into your product so people fall in love with it."

  31. "What is in it for the user? Why are they coming to the site?"

  32. "What have you done to test your assumptions?"

  33. "What is your unfair advantage?"

  34. "Startups are about creating the most options every step of the way."

  35. "The one million most viewed images on the Web generate more page views than Facebook... We want people to shop inside a photo."

  36. "The best companies create a new experience or new habit."

I'm struck by the Michelangelo quote, "If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all."

Wow, that's a lot of notes.

@ifindkarma 11/11/11 is when carnival starts, surprised about #nerdnewyear (note: not just Munich)

Sahil is one smart cookie, and that link is worth reading...

By thinking of a product as the solution to one specific use-case, you can be confident that your product works for at least one thing (that’s infinitely better than working for zero things!). Then you can go back and make sure it works for a bunch of other things too!

This is essentially a variation on the theme Do something better than anyone.

For what it's worth, I don't think that means thinking small. I think it means making sure you do something useful.

The journey to making something huge is to start by making something small and #GETBIGGER through iteration.

Hi Adam,

Here are my notes. If this is the wrong spot feel free to move. = )

When you write/contact Vinod this is the kind of information he is interested in...

Here is what is important.

Here is what I am trying/testing.

Here is what I am learning./Don't know what I will find out.


- know the liabilities of your product

- know the assets

- build these into your product

For example if you are trying to get users for a niche social network: build a facebook app. Test your assumptions about FB. Your liability is recruiting users. How can you make that liability less so.

These are Vinod's comments/statements while speaking with the founders for 6 different startups.

Why are you starting a company?

What is your biggest problem in implementing your vision?

He sees passion as the single biggest determinate of success.

Be clear about your proposition/value.

Create a new experience. Loves the idea of creating a new habit.

Look for credibility in unfair ways

Lock that up for your users

Create the most options for your company at every step. Don't become rigid. Travel around the roundabout a few times, be experimental before you commit to a path. Flailing can be the right choice in the beginning.

Plans and visions are imbedded with assumptions. Make your assumptions explicit. Test your assumptions.

What is in it for the user? Why won't they just use X?

Startups which get the most loyalty are those which evoke the most/deepest emotion.

Read Fascinate by Sally Hogshead. (I have it on my kindle) loan it to you when I am done.

When talking about your startup Emotion needs to be the principle target. Features are secondary.

Big data: need brilliant people. Machine learning, AI analytics, Collaborative filtering. Pre-compute the data then when a users signs up their profile (in this case psychographic/demographic) are ready. Immediate value.

Need a consumer advocate at a high level

How do you introduce network effect? Go beyond buzz word social compliant. Deliver value with it - offload work.

Q&A responses (sorry didn't write the questions!)

Big data analytics. Vast amounts of data provide big opportunity.

Two management styles: Sargent style - straight line, troops march in order. Shepard style: If you don't know you must stay flexible, manage your risk down, lots of pivoting. The Shepared model always finds the greenest pastures.

Emotion as a category. Applications which evoke an emotional response. (hello - they are all image based!). Use emotion as a hook.

Data reduction is an important category. Wish there was a DNS for every person.

When change accelerates opportunity increases.

What you need is the mentorship to build a successful company. Get the help you need. Get someone who will sustain with you.

Refernces this blog post:

looking forward to next time

When/if I can find time to organize another one! :)

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