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October 21, 2010 / TechFemme

Just One Reason I’m Jealous of You in the Bay Area

While I’m a firm believer that San Francisco is one of the most incredible cities in the country and I love it more every time I visit, I flew from Miami to San Francisco for no other reason than to attend the Women 2.0 partner event with LaunchBit and hosted by Sandbox Suites iLaunch: Build & Test Your Idea Without Programming. The super-smart, genuinely helpful speakers were Jennifer Hsieh and Elizabeth Yin (Co-Founders, LaunchBit, DressMob, ShinyOrb).

In Summary:  I was unexpectedly blown away.

The presentation was based on the Lean Startup philosophy and execution developed by Eric Ries and the focus of the talk was that ever-so-critical Find Your Product / Market Fit stage (as the name of the event implies).

Key Takeaways:

  • Find and get feedback from potential customers outside your friends, family, co-workers
  • Build a landing page and minimum viable product to determine if people will want your product and if they do, who they are
  • Use online ads, communities and forums for early stage marketing and interpreting analytics and feedback
  • Measure your results by making sure your landing page is doing what it’s supposed to be doing and finding out what users are doing on your site.

And then the ladies clued the group of approximately 40 attendees in to various free or inexpensive tools to accomplish each of those tasks.  You can grab some  of the info from the slides from last night’s presentation  here.

Because I’m already very familiar with the Lean Startup method, none of the actionable insights were new to me last night, but I did learn about some resources that I plan to look into using:

By far, the most valuable and incredible part of the night for me was seeing and interacting with a group of intelligent, ambitious, motivated, highly-capable and creative women interested in launching their ideas.  I know this type of thinking and community is ingrained in Bay Area culture, but coming from a city that lags about 5 years behind the rest of the major US cities (in terms of technology), it’s encouraging, refreshing and heartwarming to experience.  You guys have something very special here and I am more than happy to travel from the other corner of the country to get involved in it.

During the cocktail hour – mingling session before the presentation, I met a few of the other attendees – each with interesting project ideas of their own, including Jane (thanks for the ride!), a very knowledgeable and friendly Solar Energy Consultant with SolarCity and Annie, whose company is working on launching an interesting online music licensing startup.   This type of people with a common interest in technology, business and entrepreneurship is one of the main things that will always keep me coming back to the Bay Area.

PS – Props to Jennifer and Elizabeth for the repeated poker (one of my minor obsessions interests) analogy and references.

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