10 Tips to Make the Most of Denver Startup Week
Next Monday marks the start of the 4th annual Denver Startup Week, running September 28- October 2nd. This free and open to the public conference will demand a lot from all your senses, especially your capacity to remember names, faces and key learnings from every event. From Opening Breakfast to the Closing Party, here are 10 tips to help you make the most of the week:
1. Gear up
First, don’t forget to register and pick up your wristband (it’s required for entry to ALL events). Another essential companion of Startup Week will be the gear you bring. You will need to bring your phone AND watch charger (in case you don’t already carry it around). You’ll be walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes. Bring your shades for that predictable mile high sun and always be drinking water. Last thing, bring a bag for all the awesome swag you’ll be collecting.
2. Ditch your Ride - the 16th Street Bus is your Friend (this week)
Don’t try to drive from event to event during Startup Week. The last thing you want to worry about is finding a spot or feeding those pesky 2-hour only parking meters.
So, try the 16th Street Bus. It will save you when you’re tired of walking AND it’s free! It runs the length of 16th street from Civic Center to Union Station with a bus arriving at each stop (which is every block) in 4 to 6 minute increments. Use this opportunity to rest your feet or easily get to the Startup Week Basecamp at the Corner of Arapahoe and 16th Street. If the bus just isn’t your thing, you can always opt to pay for a Lyft, Uber or Car2Go.
3. 2, 1...Contact
You can’t underestimate the amount of business cards you’ll be handing out. Have those freshly printed cards ready to give out and don’t be stingy. If you find a stack of business cards daunting to sort through, try using an app like CamCard or ScanBizCards for automatic digital storage. Since they use optical character recognition, you won’t have to manually input everyone’s info. You can also do things like make notes and see the time and date where you stored the info.
4. Stay Caffeinated
Yes, we’re all adults here and know when it’s time to grab a jolt of caffeine to keep us going. You don’t need us to tell you that. While there is a Starbucks on every corner (our office corner actually has two!), our favorite spots to grab an exceptional caffeinated beverage around downtown Denver are Crema, Little Owl and Novo.
5. Slow and Steady Learns the Most
Pace yourself. It’s only a week, but it’s a long week. Don’t expend too much “energy” at the opening party on Monday night at Union Station. There are many great events scheduled each day and some of them start pretty early*. Pick some goals for the week, devise a plan, and again, pace yourself. You’re going to learn a lot in a short amount of time. So, take notes from each talk so you can remember the key points and light bulb moments for later.
* * Full Disclosure: One of the authors of this post is speaking at 8 a.m Friday and “might” have some bias in citing this tip.*
6. Collaboration is key
So you’ve registered for all your events. Now what? Your schedule from the Denver Startup Week site can easily be exported to Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook. Click the “Schedule” link on the site. In the “View All Events” drop down menu, select “View My Schedule”. Once you do that, you’ll see links for options to export your events to Google, iCal or Outlook. Checking out your schedule in a calendar view is a great opportunity to identify any overlapping events or times you need to hustle from one event to another.
We’re collaborating as a team by sharing exported calendar agendas, communicating in a dedicated Slack channel for Startup Week and leveraging location sharing from our phones when (those of us from Charlotte) are really lost.
7. Take Time to Check out Cool Work Spaces - Startup Crawl
There’s a ton of cool office spaces in Denver. The Startup Week Crawl (#DSWCRAWL) is a great opportunity to check them out, see what makes them so cool and experience their feng shui. Here’s the official list. You can also be a more casual voyeur when you visit all the great offices that have volunteered to host events.
8. The Happiest Hours
Pace yourself (see #5) and drink some water. Every night of the week there is an excellent opportunity to network, mingle, have some drinks and go home early. Drink some water. Then, check out these social events we’re really looking forward to attending:
- Monday - Denver Startup Week Opening Party.
- Tuesday - Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs And Leaders Reception and Happy Hour with Ombud.
- Wednesday - Startup Crawl and Built in Brews.
- Thursday - St. Jude Hero Party and the always epic Spire Digital Annual Startup Soiree.
- Friday - And if you’ve had enough water this week, The Closing Party at Sculpture Park.
In case we didn’t mention for you out-of-towners, drink some water.
9. Learn All the (Internet of) Things
Keep hearing about the Internet of Things but don’t know much about it? Yes, the Internet of Things (IoT) is how that Jeep was hacked and why you might have an issue with your fridge, but baseline, IoT means connections of physical objects–like smartphones, cars and appliances–that use the Internet to communicate.
Here at Skookum, we’ve been working on IoT projects in conjunction with our partnership with Colorado-natives Arrow and are always looking to hone our craft. If you’re looking to dig in as well, here are a few IoT talks we’re looking forward to seeing:
- The Future of IoT - Getting Connected: IoT and Wearables on Major Cellular Networks - IoT Startup Rockstars - The Language of the Internet of Things
10. Have Fun
Above all else, have fun! Denver Startup Week is a great (free!) opportunity to celebrate all that Denver has to offer in the world of entrepreneurship and technology.