HustleCon 2014: Non-techies Dominate the Bay

Similar to all of you in the Women Who Code community, I’m constantly searching for opportunities to grow and learn within the technology field. Through our close community, I had heard about an eccentric kind of tech conference taking place this summer. HustleCon, which claims itself as the place to learn “start-up tactics for non-techies.” It is an all day event, littered with the most scrappy and ambitious entrepreneurs and hustlers.

As a “non-techie” myself, that is- someone without any formal education in the tech field, this conference sounded like the ultimate opportunity for insight into this community. After all, it’s not uncommon for us non-techies to feel slightly out of element when in attendance of the usual tech conferences in the Bay Area typically accompanied by the most well educated programmers and developers in the game.

With a big thanks to WWCode, I showed up, journal in hand, with over 300 other attendees on August 1st. The most impressive aspect of HustleCon was the atmosphere and energy shared by every attendee. Everyone was united with the commonality of growth despite a formal technology education, sharing stories of unorthodox journeys that led them to this conference.

This theme made HustleCon unlike any other tech networking event. If there was a HustleCon manifesto, it would be along the lines of, “We did not take the direct or quick route but we worked damn hard to get here.”

The event was packed with meaningful networking and numerous high-energy speakers (not to mention free flowing food & drinks). The impressive line-up included Jess Lee from Polyvore, Neville Medhora from AppSumo, Rick Marini from Tickle, and my personal favorite, Chip Forsythe from Rebel Coast Winery, just to name drop a few…

I could write a weirdly sized non-fiction work of art with all of these notes, but to save everyone time, here are the top 5 takeaways I distilled from this year’s conference. Let me share with y’all:

The 5 Fundamental Rules of HustleCon:

1. Learn fast. — Hiten Shah, KISSmetrics

2. Show your community how much you care, about them and about your mission. — Jess Lee, Polyvore

3. Don’t wait for the right time to create your idea. — Matt Fiedler, Vinyl Me Please

4. Just make it great. — Rohin Dhar, Priceonomics

5. The best way to gain approval is to not need it. — Chip Forsythe, Rebel Coast Winery

In short, HustleCon was a seriously thought-provoking conference with a community of down-to-earth entrepreneurs. It really is a testament to the power of an entrepreneurial spirit- if you prove that you have the ambition, shamelessly dream, and can endlessly hustle, you can make anything happen.

Hustlers, catch you guys there next summer.

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