To sum up the highlights of the entire past week of Detroit Startup Week would take as long as the American Revolution. But according to Bill Ford, Detroit is currently amidst it’s own. With over 150 free events and 3,000+ attendees, Detroit was one of 25 cities to host a Startup Week along with cities from all over the world. Innovators, entrepreneurs, and members of the community, gathered at The Masonic Temple all in good spirits to learn from and support each other. With panels and workshops focused on a range of fields from entrepreneurship and tech to music, art, food, and more – every single day there was something for everyone.
With so many different kinds of conversations happening, we all had the opportunity to learn something new but with the entrepreneur mindset in common here’s a list of an overall theme of what we all can learn together:
- “Your overall brand is how you make people feel.” – Eric Thomas, Senior Partner and Brand Specialist at Saga, when asked to define the word “brand,” and continued to add “What people say about you when you’re not around. That’s what your brand is.” In a panel focused on partnerships of companies and brands in the music industry, every entrepreneur can learn that the energy between your company and your customer says more about what you’ve accomplished than anything else.
- Business is like dating. “If you’ve ever been on a first date, then treat your business relationships the same,” as told by Jason Mendelson, Founder of Foundry group. When it comes to situations like pitching to a VC, just like on a first date the best thing you could ever do is be yourself. The person on the other end of the table will see right through you. Be transparent, be comfortable, and know that it is more respectable to admit the things that you don’t know.
- Everyone needs a mentor. – Detroit Startup Week encouraged the importance of a mentor as an entrepreneur throughout the whole week, as well as offered an opportunity for entrepreneurs to earn one as well. As one of the most valuable resources for an entrepreneur to tap into, a successful key to launching a business is to not do it alone. #EVERYONEDESERVESAMENTOR
- “You can’t have a plan B or it’ll distract you from plan A.” – Dan Gilbert. “Blind Faith,” added by Josh Luber, co-founder and CEO of StockX. In a panel full of fin tech entrepreneurs, with their success as an example, from them we can learn that when there’s enough passion to fuel the light of an idea, you’ll never have to think about turning that light out.
- If you want opportunity, come to Detroit. “You could go to Silicon Valley…and have a great life…but if you are successful here…people are really going to notice and they are going to love you for it and you are going to be part of something special.” – Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Co. Detroit has become the land of opportunity. As Ford claims that Detroit is amidst it’s “second revolution,” with the birth of the auto-industry being it’s first, there has never been a stronger build of momentum and growth in this city.
Lastly, a big round of applause to Kyle Bazzy, lead organizer of Detroit Startup Week and all of the volunteers as it has been confirmed that the Detroit Startup Week team broke the attendance record for a year one Startup Week city with over 3,300+ attendees. Let this be a reminder that Detroit is and always has been on top because it is no longer Detroit vs. Everybody but is now Detroit vs. Ourselves.