Entrepreneurs Rock at EU2013

Steve Singh of Concur and Liz Pearce, LiquidPlanner

Steve Singh of Concur and Liz Pearce, LiquidPlanner this morning at Entrepreneur University 2013

In a classic “tech-rustic” space in Pioneer Square today, entrepreneurs and the aspiring are gathered to pick up tips from each other and share inspiration. The morning kicked off with an interview of Concur CEO Steve Singh by Liz Pearce, a CEO herself of project-management software company LiquidPlanner. Singh is bullish on that notoriously unquantifiable corporate something: culture. “Success is driven by culture,” he told Pearce.

Adroit use of social media doesn’t hurt either, according to Sharelle Klaus, Dry Soda CEO.  “All social media platforms are ways for me to reach so many different people,” she said during the first panel of the day. With Dani Cone (High 5 Pie), Rusty Federman (Rusty’s Famous Cheesecakes), and Ryan Hilliard (Hilliard’s Beer), she shared insights about “Winning in the wide world of retail”.  It wasn’t surprising that these CEOs of high-end, unique brands apply artistry not only to product design but to nuts-and-bolts basics of running their businesses as well. Distribution, for example, is carefully restricted to the “right” venues.

The morning concluded with Robin Wolaner of Vittana and Monty Montoya of SightLife delving into the world of non-profits. All the things that factor into success in the for-profit world are equally important in the world of social entrepreneurship, they agreed. Great leaders create great culture, which drives success for the enterprise, Montoya said. Wolaner drew parallels between startups in both spheres.  “Who you get your money from and the terms under which you get it are so important,” she said.

Jenni Hogan, CEO of newly-minted TVInteract.com chatted with Dave McLauchlan, CEO of Buddy.com about what makes a startup sing, what doesn’t, and how to get past those rough patches. McLauchlan talked about the challenges of hiring at the right time and how its a different mindset in the start up world – in the corporate worlds you end with the salary negotiations – with startups – they’re the starting point.

The Flip the Media worked with social media maven Jenni Hogan to produce Primetime Pitches, a series of five-minute pitches delivered by fledgling entrepreneurs whose companies run the gamut from yoga wear to ethically-sourced farm food. Check back with us next week for some of those videos and an interview with NWEN executive director, Rebecca Lovell.

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