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I did another Beers with Brad event tonight in Vancouver. Danny Robinson and Boris Mann of Bootup Labs pulled it together with some help from their friends and a few sponsors. 150 people showed up to talk about early stage entrepreneurship.
For these events, I have a few themes to riff on around entrepreneurship (e.g. entrepreneurial communities, the role of venture capital, and leadership) that are set in my head. Rather than do a presentation, I just get up and talk for 15 to 30 minutes and then do Q&A until everyone is done. I deliberately don’t have a prepared stump speech and what I say varies with each event, but the themes are consistent. I like to just talk off the top of my head because – in addition to requiring zero preparation time – I’ve always felt that overly prepared talks around entrepreneurship are missing the point. Entrepreneurship is messy; if the talk is too tidy, then it’s incongruent with what is being talked about.
The 15 – 30 minute talk simply sets the stage for the Q&A. Tonight’s Q&A went on for about 90 minutes and was fascinating. We covered a wide range of topics, including a handful that hadn’t come up before and wouldn’t have occurred to me in a vacuum. Part of the reason I do these types of things is very selfish – I’m always trying to learn and understand what is top of mind for entrepreneurs – and the questions bring that out. It’s particularly interesting to me to listen for the nuances in the questions from people in different parts of the country.
I picked up a cold a few days ago and started feeling crummy around mid-day today. The energy in the room tonight was a huge lift; even though my voice deteriorated rapidly and was basically gone by the end of the evening, I had a dynamite time with my new Vancouver friends. Boris promised to put up links to the video along with a summary in a few days; in the mean time you’ll have to make do with the Bootlabs tweets and the event hashtag which, after some debate, settled on #blesfeld.
Time for bed. At least I won’t be talking in my sleep tonight.