Takeaways From Entrepreneurship Summit 2014, “Beyond the Horizon”

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This is the second year I’ve attended Cornell’s Entrepreneurship Summit, and I have yet to leave the conference without golden tidbits. As a student aspiring to be an entrepreneur one day, I look forward to the Summit and Celebration throughout the school year, in addition to a relatively new event called Dyson Symposium on Women in Leadership! Through these events, I’m inspired again and again as I have the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of those I look up to. How did they get to where they are today? What was their thought process during XYZ? What can I learn from their story? The Entrepreneurship Summit is a reminder of how much I have yet to learn and experience, while giving me a chance to do so from those around me.

In addition to Scott Belsky’s closing remarks this year, here are the major takeaways from CUSummit 2014:

  • If you’re too immersed in the context, you can’t see beyond the horizon.
  • Sway with the whims.
  • Your constraints can produce a source for inspiration.
  • Understand the data but don’t yield.
  • Don’t create solutions looking for problems.
  • Leverage your network.
  • Start as early as you can. It’s okay to fail. Just fail fast.
  • You don’t need to know it all. Create a multi-disciplinary team with each member contributing their expertise.
  • Code is craft.
  • With the help of 3D printing, the maker will soon be the manufacturer.
  • Share everything (strategy, financials) with your organization, even when it hurts.
  • Overpay people rather than make bad promotions.
  • Be human. Talk to people in your company, learn their names.
  • Hire slow, fire fast.
  • Brick-and-mortar is not dead. Technology will transform, not replace brick-and-mortar.
  • Have intense empathy about your end-user.
  • Vision without execution is hallucination.
  • Surround yourself with patient, believing board and investors.
  • Your product needs to be technically sound, and your business financially viable.
  • It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. An opportunity is what you make of it.
  • Separate truths and beliefs.
  • Create an iterative process of killing your ideas: “What thing, if it were not true or non-existent, would kill your company?”
  • Find the intersection between innovation, market opportunities, and protection.
  • Be objective. Don’t be blinded by passion.
  • Organizations with women in top management achieve 34% higher returns. The next revolution will be run by women.
  • Be the person who can see the details and the person who can dream. That in-between is the best mindset you can have.
  • Find a place you can always recharge.
  • Trust yourself. Be confident. Be calm. You’re an entrepreneur before you even begin.
  • You’re not a drop in an ocean. You’re an ocean in a drop. Encompass the characteristics of the ocean.

Missed Summit 2013? Check out Scott’s closing comments from last year to see what you missed!

It takes daring vision and fearless determination to build an exceptional company that breaks the boundaries of what is thought possible. How far beyond the horizon will you go?

Special thanks to: