Conferences (Like DCWeek) Need More Fail

So I’ve been leisurely attending a conference in DC this week called Digital Capital Week. It’s an interesting collection of all sorts of people. I’m not sure I totally fit in, but I’ve felt that way before and never let it stop me.

There are 2 questions I keep hearing. The first (directed to me) is “So what is your start up?”

The second I hear (usually directed at the main speaker or me) “What is the secret to running a start up?” or “Do you have any advice?

This is a great question, and if you look at every single panel / discussion at DCWeek, it includes successful people telling you some of the things it took to get it right. But what about the fail?

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce


For another group I belong to I gave a presentation entitled “How to unsuccessfully start a retail e-commerce business”.  What was supposed to be a quick 15 minute talk ended up being a 60 minute group discussion about what mistakes were made, solutions, and how to avoid them in the first place.  The only thing that ended the conversation was the arrival of dinner!

Hearing about how people are failing would be worlds more useful to DCWeek attendees entering entrepreneurship for the first time than hearing the same advice about how social media is important (It is, but how many times can this be said!).  This certainly isn’t a talk of dispair and gloom.  It is more about misplaced priorities, misunderstood necessities and learning about things I had NO knowledge of in the first place.

Not that I’m some sort of celebrity, but if DCWeek finds themselves with an open slot on Thursday, I’d be happy to present my “How to unsuccessfully run ….” presentation.  I know I’ve learned a TON of lessons by jumping in and doing it wrong, and I’m happy to share my failures for others to learn from.

Oh, the answer to the first question is, “I’m currently starting a Voice Over business called Sir Voice A Lot.”  You can find more about it (and contact me) at which is just one of my ongoing projects of Cranial Thunder.  If you are still reading and want to click on even more links, here is a special page I made just for DCWeek.

(Oh, and thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!)

–Brett Thorson

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