StartCon 2016. It has been sold out seven years in a row, and this year was bigger than ever before in the first-class racing, business and entertainment venue and landmark that is the Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Interestingly, StartCon 2016 was supposed to be held in Melbourne, but the story of the Victorian ministerial stuff-up over the simple $200,000 per year sponsorship for five years is must-read, eye-opening stuff when it comes to government ineptitude.
So, it was held in Sydney instead, with this year’s theme the "Bonfire of the Unicorns", with the event’s description being "for high-growth startups and marketing teams looking to grow bigger, faster and stronger than ever before. Move past the 'start-up' mentality and develop your empire through growth and marketing."
At the end of this article you’ll find three video interviews.
The first is with the talented Cheryl Mack, head of StartCon and tech rockstar, who also MC'd the event’s main stage with aplomb, running a digital media and content savvy organisation able to deliver world class conferences.
The second is with the aforementioned chief executive of Freelancer and tech world superstar and business disruptor, Matt Barrie, with Freelancer having purchased the SydStart (and now StartCon) tech conference back in late 2014.
The third is with Patrick Malatack, vice-president of product management at Twilio, one of the many excellent speakers at StartCon 2016, with Twilio also one of StartCon’s impressive list of sponsors.
Malatack's presentation is entitled: “Humans against Hold: How tp use messaging to improve your customer experience.”
The physical event is now over, but you can see the list of exhibitors here to learn what they offer and looking them up further online in the case that you want to know more about their products and/or services.
You can also purchase a ‘Digital Pass’ for US$97 to watch every session from the jam-packed two day schedule featuring multiple stages and a stack of must-see content across the entire startup spectrum and a cross-section of all its participants.
Although obviously aimed at the start-up community on a local and global basis, with some huge local and international speakers in the start-up, tech, space sectors or more, there’s a great deal of incredible information being shared, as you can see from the two-day schedule.
To me, whether you’re a start-up or already an established business that wants to learn how start-ups are growing and prospering in 2016, learning from the start-up community via this event through the digital pass is still an excellent — and much time friendlier way — to get the most from this ultra-fresh and utterly current content and information.
After all, if start-ups are prospering and are turning great ideas into profitable businesses, there’s no reason why those running existing businesses can’t affordably take a look at the content to see what they can learn from start-ups to newly re-energise their own businesses for the better.
There were several sessions I wanted to see that I missed out on as I wasn’t able to make day two, so I’m certainly going to be looking forward to watching videos of the entire event when they become available.
So, here are the three video interviews, with a summary of the questions asked below each video, respectively.
The first is Cheryl Mack of StartCon:
I start by introducing Mack and then asking to tell us about herself and a bit of StartCon’s history.
We then moved on to the theme of this year’s conference, challenges faced this year and how the conference had evolved over the last few years.
We moved on to just a slice of the great speakers and presentations on offer before moving onto the top messages the conference was delivering to startups attending and watching.
The availability of the digital pass was discussed next, after which I asked where the conference would be held in 2017 and then on how the event might look like in five or even ten years time.
I then asked Mack to share some great advice she had received in helping her get where she is today, and then for her final messages to readers, viewers and current and future StartCon attendees.
The second is Matt Barrie of Freelancer:
I introduced Barrie and asked him to tell us about himself, what Freelancer offers today, and its involvement with StartCon.
I asked about the challenges and learning from running Freelancer, and what memorable jobs posted onto Freelancer he could remember and share.
I then asked what's next for Freelancer, and what Barrie thinks the industry will look like over the next few years.
Given Barrie's famed smackdown of the governance of NSW and its "nanny state" lockout laws killing Sydney nightlife in a LinkedIn posting, which the AFR wrote up about nicely here, I had to ask for his thoughts "on whether Sydney will ever regain its nightlife or will there have to be a change of government first".
I asked Barrie to share some great advice he’d received in life, and his final messages to viewers and readers, and to Freelancer’s current and future customers.
The third is with Patrick Malatack of Twilio:
I introduced Malatack and asked him to tell us a bit about himself and about Twilio.
I also asked about the story behind the name, which was different to what I thought it might be and which will probably be for you, too!
I then asked Malatack to tell us about his presentation at Stratton that afternoon, and to share his key messages.
We looked at various companies who use Twilio and the instances in which you have probably already used an app or service powered in part by Twilio, and probably already did so today!
I asked about the future, great advice worth sharing, and final messages to the iTWire and Twilio audiences.