Pioneers Festival in Vienna Austria

This week’s Pioneers Festival in Austria was a great surprise (I wasn’t sure what to expect).  It’s very hard to make time for events, but I’m really glad I did for this one.  Stepping back from day to day execution helps with perspective on my startup – especially when it’s with a bunch of other startups in a 300 year old castle in Vienna Austria!

Forbes compared Startup Pioneers very favorably to Le Web:

Pioneers Festival is what LeWeb used to be and by the talk at the event from investors, start ups and journalists, it’s surpassed LeWeb in terms of quality of speakers, venue, networking and topic matter you can sink your teeth into.

Fortunately for everyone who couldn’t attend, Startup Festival provided professionally produced videos of all the speakers.  I highly recommend checking out this video of Alexander Osterwalder‘s presentation.  Here’s the recording of my presentation. Skip the first minute or two of crowd pumping up exercises…

Finally, if you just want the slides from my presentation, here they are:

Dropbox – The Power of a “Value Based” Startup

Drew Houston, CEO/Founder of Dropbox, gave an amazingly forthcoming presentation at the Startup Lessons Learned Conference chronicling his team’s path from idea to their current position as one of today’s hottest startups.

Because of the importance of protecting user data, they modified the “launch early, launch often” mantra to “learn early, learn often.”  And they aspired to gain the “best understanding of customers as early as possible.”

My favorite quote from Drew’s presentation highlighted the power of focusing on what is really important: “If you make a feature matrix of Dropbox versus all the other products out there, we’ll never come out in front.  We wanted to do a few things [really] well as opposed to a lot of things kind of well, presented in a way that’s confusing.”

Dropbox struggled to find effective paid marketing channels, but Drew states: “The one thing that saved us was that we put all of our effort into something that worked, that was an elegant solution.”  They then empowered extremely gratified users to spread the word about Dropbox.

The result: In 15 months, Dropbox attracted 4 million users.  In the last 30 days users have sent 2.8 million direct referral invites.  Watch the video, you’ll definitely learn something.  During my time with Dropbox, I learned how to build a sustainable startup (and business in general) the right way.

Watch live video from Startup Lessons Learned on

First Startonomics a Big Hit

The first Startonomics conference was held in San Francisco last week and was packed with useful information for startups. The goal of the conference was to highlight simple actionable metrics for each of the core areas of launching a startup

Videos of every presentation are online at .  I’ll personally be watching the presentations a few more times.

I had the opportunity to kick off the marketing section with an overview of a full Web 2.0 startup marketing plan.  There were several marketing presentations that followed covering specific tactical customer acquisition drivers in more detail (including SEO, Viral Marketing, Social Marketing, etc).  Here’s a link to my presentation:

The next Startonomics conference will be held in LA early 2009.