You made it--you are a celebrated Inc. entrepreneur. I hope to meet each and every one of you in Phoenix. The Inc. 5000 conference continues to be my favorite environment for learning, networking, and having a blast with like-minded founders.
Having shared the goings-on for Inc. last year, and in full disclosure, as an Inc. board member, I consider myself a bit of an expert on how to make it through the wonderful maze of the Marketplace, navigate which panels to make sure not to miss, and figure out when I can fit in a nap. The last one is a trick question: I'll sleep when I collapse into a pile after a few celebratory beers before bed.
So, here are my top five tips for today:
1. How to Disrupt the World - Plenary panel
Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method Products is one of my all time favorite founders. Back in 2000, Ryan redefined the soap industry with Method. Ryan famously touts that when the he and his co-founders started the company he was "looking for a category that was really big but had failed." So the answer to disrupting the world may be as simple/not at all simple as finding a problem and fixing it. Easier said than done, right? I'm hoping that the Method story provide some inspiration on new problems yet to be solved.
2. How do you leverage your time in Inc. Founders Project - Plenary
Oh, love me some Jen Rubio, co-founder, president, and chief brand officer of Away. I bet half the room flew here with an Away suitcase! If she's speaking, I'll always be there with baited breath. The direct-to-consumer space is where it's at and the minds behind it are sure to provide some compelling tips. This will be a can't miss episode of Inc.'s podcast, live and in-person.
3. From Baseball to Business: One-on-One with Alex Rodriguez & Eric Schurenberg
Need I say more? It has been fascinating to watch Alex Rodriguez as he has retired from a life as a major league all-star and pivoted toward becoming an entrepreneur and investor. Even if this panel didn't have its obvious star power, I wouldn't miss the chance to hear thoughts from Schurenberg, the former Money magazine editor-in-chief whose Mansueto Ventures is the media holding company for brands like Inc. You would think it's an unlikely pairing, but I'm aware that both are baseball fanatics as well as entrepreneurs' biggest fans.
4. The Future of HR: How to Drive Performance, Growth, and Profit
Here you will hear little old me talk about how I used to dread anything HR and now I think it is one of the most critical parts of your company. I will be joined by Kathy Johnson, SVP of mid-market operations at Insperity, and Bret Starr, founder and CEO of Starr Conspiracy. I am also going to give a sneak peek of a major legal breakthrough we are working on to prevent gender and racial harassment in VC-backed companies.
The Breakout Sessions that take place in the afternoon present the toughest quandary of the day. Do I hop from topic-to-topic hoping to glean gems from as many panels as possible, or just settle in and focus on one? For example: the amazing Alexa Von Tobel will be talking about her new VC!
5. Marketplace for Money, Mentors, and Magic
The Marketplace is an important stop in your journey to learning about new business services like Insperity and Capital One. You will find mentors and great organizations like Entrepreneurs' Organization, or "EO." Finally, visit our Alice lounge to recharge your phones and apply for a $10,000 grant. Inc. provides all of this to help you to grow and scale.
Finally, you will see me at the bar meeting new folks and taking a minute away from this laptop. Get everything you can out of the week--starting now!