Key Takeaways from Collision Conference

Collision was the first startup conference I volunteered for and attended. It was an amazing experience! It was held at Las Vegas on 4th and 5th May 2015. Over 7500 people, 200 prominent speakers (Steward Butterfield — Co-founder & CEO of Slack, Tony Hsieh — CEO of Zappos, Max Levchin — CEO of Affirm &Paypal Co-founder … to name a few), and hundreds (perhaps over thousand) of startups attended the event.

The energy at the conference was brilliant. The talks and events were systematically organized, and there were “stages” for different types audiences — “Marketing Stage”, “Builders Stage”, “Enterprise Stage”, “Breakthrough Stage”, “Startup University Stage” and a generic “Center Stage”. Different workshops were also conducted for different audiences. Students had a special “Student Night” event where we heard different founders and entrepreneurs share their stories.

I really loved two things about the way the conference was organized:

  • Collision called out for student volunteers who were given free passes to the conference. This was a great way to market the conference amongst the student community and recruit volunteers for the event!
  • Most talks I attended at the event were succinct and short (~20 minutes). I was able to concentrate completely at each talk and move from one stage to the other based on my interests, topics and speakers, at regular intervals. I was able to absorb information and meet new people at the different diverse stages of the event.

I learned a lot of things from Collision, but here are my three top takeaways from the conference:

  • #1: If you have an amazing idea for a startup/business, VALIDATE IT IMMEDIATELY AND START WORKING ON IT! There are millions of people out there working on ideas. There’s most probably someone else out there working on the same idea as yours. It’s all about who comes out with a better solution to the problem, but also who validates and executes first.
  • #2: I saw some amazing startup pitches at Collision. The best ones were evidently rehearsed over and over again, probably hundreds of times. However, they were delivered naturally. Even expected questions were prepared for so thoroughly! These pitches followed a clear format, and emphasized on the strength of the team and its advisors.
  • #3: If you want to be an entrepreneur — network, network, network! Whether you already have a startup idea or not, attend conferences such as Collision. Talk to people when you are waiting at the airport, or at a restaurant line. Blogging may help you connect with some amazing people (now you know why I’ve started blogging :P). You never know who might be interested in working/collaborating with you!

Thanks to Paddy Cosgrave and the entire Collision team for putting together such an amazing conference!