On October 29 my partner and I, along with 25 amazing and experienced people will devote a half day to a conference called Boot Camp for Digital Start-Ups. Assuming we sell every imaginable seat (there are only 165), we will be compensated, given the amount of time we have devoted to this, at something like minimum wage. And our speakers are coming for free. Why, in God's name, would any of us do this?
I think it has to do with giving back. I didn't get to this point in my career without a lot of help, guidance and encouragement from an enormous number of people I've met along the way. Neither did my partner Shelly or any of our speakers. What goes around comes around or something like that. As we approach the period of reflection associated with the Jewish High Holidays, I often think about how I can give back even a fraction of what I have received. This event is one way. We are targeting young start ups. We, collectively, have wisdom and experience to share. And maybe, just maybe, we will help even one person or company be more successful more quickly. That would be justification enough for the work and the time.
Running this kind of event is something I know how to do. I learned over my 9 years at Yahoo! There we did them as part of our marketing program. We wanted our guests to like us, think we're smart and hopefully call us when they inevitably needed help of any kind. Most of the companies we hope will attend this event can't afford to hire us, at least not for a while. But the simple joy of assembling so much smartness in one place for the benefit of so many young and inspiring companies overrides any financial considerations.
So that's why we are doing this. And I would bet, if you asked each of our speakers and panelists for their reason it would sound pretty similar. Good things to think about as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
From all of us to all of you, we wish you a sweet and peaceful year and the opportunity to help even one person.
Jerry has been at the leading edge for his entire 40+ year career. He may be the only executive in the digital arena to have created a new brand of soda pop (Mello Yello for The Coca-Cola Company) and he was the first person to conceptualize (and execute) a coffee-by-mail business (Gevalia Kaffe for Kraft Foods), and he helped transform a nascent online entertainment company into a powerful digital marketing services company that became so attractive that Yahoo! purchased it (Yoyodyne). Jerry can be reached at email@example.com
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