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Whew! I just got back from Hustlecon 2017 and I wanted to share some of the key lessons I learned from some of the world's best founders and hustlers with all of you!
Hustlecon 2017 was my first time attending the conference. I booked my ticket right after Casey Neistat was confirmed as a speaker (I'm a huge fan). I hate to admit this but I did not actually know that many of the other speakers at the conference but I had heard of some of their brands. Here's a quick list of the speakers and their companies / brands
- Casey Neistat – YouTube Personality, Filmmaker, & Co-Founder of Beme
- Miguel McKelvey – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of WeWork
- Jen Rubio – Co-Founder of Away
- Payal Kadakia – Co-Founder of Classpass
- Tom Bilyeu – Co-Founder of Quest Nutrition
- Shan-Lyn Ma – Co-Founder & CEO of Zola
- Kara Goldin – Founder & CEO of hint
- Manish Chandra – Founder & CEO of Poshmark
- Tucker Max – Co-Founder & Director of Product for Book In A Box
- Max Lytvyn – Founder of Grammarly
- Tim Chang and Rishi Garg – Mayfield
- Derek Flanzraich – Founder & CEO of Greatist
Lessons Learned from Hustlecon 2017
It was intoxicating learning from startup founders but I also enjoyed networking with other hustlers! There were so many interesting people there from employees of big companies (Microsoft, Linkedin etc), startup founders, investors and entrepreneurs.
Lesson #1: Work harder than the rest
Casey gave a great talk and told some stories from his hard past. He dropped out of high school because he got his girlfriend pregnant, went to live in a trailer park and worked in a kitchen as a dishwasher. He saved up some money and went to New York and started making videos in his free time that eventually led him to meet President Bill Clinton while he was making a birthday video for a politician. If you're not the smartest or brightest person then you have to work harder than everyone else.
Lesson #2: You won't bust out being an employee
I was sitting there at Hustlecon and I realized that employees don't get rich! If you work for a publicly traded company then your #1 goal is to build shareholder wealth. Employees build their companies wealth and get a steady paycheck. You don't get rich unless you are the 1% at the top aka the C-Level. Almost all of the hustlers at Hustlecon are not employees – they are founders and CEOs.
Lesson #3: Find your business model and scale the f*ck out of it
Tom Bilyeu from Quest Nutrition said they used to make their protein bars by hand in a kitchen that they rented by the hour. They were only making a few hundred bars per day. Now, they make over 1.2 million bars per day! It's all about scale and finding the right business model and scaling it up. Also Max Lytvyn from Grammarly was inspiring and said that they knew what they wanted to do with Grammarly but they didn't have the resources to make it happen at first. They went after the academic market first with their AI-powered grammar software and found an audience that needed their solution. Now, their market is almost everyone who writes pretty much anything from social media posts, blog posts, research papers and pretty much anything else.
Lesson #4: Connect with your customer and ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THEM
Manish Chandra really inspired me! He said he deals with customers every single day. He knows what his customers want and gives them what they want! Manish has fought many battles for his customers. He has fought the USPS to give them flat rate packages that they can use to mail their products they sell on Poshmark. They worked out deals with merchants so sellers on Poshmark can sign up with a few clicks instead of having register on their own. Make it easy for your customers to use your product or service and you will see results!