J. Kelly Hoey


Eliminate Optional Participation Edition

Waking up from three-days in a beehive of activity and ideas at ATECH Conference, the Caribbean’s first tech and startup conference which took place in Aruba. And before you toss out the sarcastic quip, I’ll tell you that it was hard duty (sort of). Hosted at the stunningly located Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort, the conference featured a global rockstar lineup of speakers (such as Oscar Kneppers, one of Holland’s most successful serial entrepreneurs, a celebrated internet publisher and founder of Rockstart and Melissa O’Young, founder of sharing economy organization, Let’s Collaborate! and Head of NY Community at Airbnb) who kept me on my toes throughout the entire event as I shared conference moderating duties with Angus Nelson, Head of Member Success for Crowd Companies.

I’m indebted to Charles Bonello, co-founder of Grand Central Tech for the theme of this week’s newsletter. In his remarks at ATECH on the subject of accelerators as a service to startup eco-systems, Charles shared the values around which he and his co-founders had build Grand Central Tech. Eliminate optional participation struck a cord. As did Oscar Kneppers “pioneers choose struggle” and Ray Walia’s “f-it, ship it”. Oh, I could provide all sorts of detail and entrepreneurial context for these mantras, but I’d rather you mull these nuggets to see what ideas you ignite.

Life is curly, don’t try to straighten it — Nathalie Lussier

The pioneering Nathalie Lussier opened the conference. Nathalie is an entrepreneur who has been making web sites since she was 12 years old. Armed with a degree in Software Engineering, she turned down a job offer from Wall Street to start her own company — in 2008 (the topsy-turvy stock market of August was a not-so-gentle reminder of the continuing economic upheaval which started back in 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers). In her keynote, Nathalie shared her three tips for those eager to disrupt, innovate and create:

  • Tune In. Pay attention to what your customers are saying. Listen to what your gut is telling you. Answer the nagging question “what do you want”?
  • Team Up. Nothing long-term is build by one person. Find allies versus going it alone.
  • Take Off. Being an entrepreneur is like riding a roller-coaster, accept the path and embrace the adrenaline rush. Do scary stuff that helps you get to profitability. Take steps today to get your ideas off the ground (set a date, send an email, make a call or public announcement).

Ready to Take Off? One place to start is with Nathalie’s 30-Day list building challenge (BTW — Nathalie shared with ATECH that she didn’t succeed in reaching her goal when she started the 30-Day list building challenge).

More to motivate you to f-it, ship it and take-off whether you’re an entrepreneur or simply entrepreneurially-minded or in need of entrepreneur kick-in-the-pants motivation:

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.


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