Yesterday I attended the Forward Technology Conference here in Madison. It’s focused on tips and networking for startups. I’m not in a startup, but I attend each year just to meet interesting people and keep up on what’s new in town.
The most interesting session was one I almost skipped because it looked lame on paper. The conference had earlier sought out Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup” to speak, but his speaking fee is higher than the cost of the whole conference. So, instead they asked him to join us for a video Skype Q&A at the end of the conference. He agreed, and it was excellent. I haven’t read his book, but seemingly everyone else in the room had. He’s a passionate and talented speaker, and was persuasive even from what looked like his basement in California. He advocated for lean practices in many areas, including maybe stock market reform. 🙂
Other interesting sessions:
* How to choose a co-founder – the panel had some very amusing war stories and advice that was not intuitive to me
* Keynote by CEO of Third Wave and Exact Sciences (two local high-profile biotech success stories)
* Advice about retaining talent up to and through an acquisition from founder of 42six
* Plenty of free time to just chat. People are very approachable and eager to talk about their work in settings like this, which I find fun