If you haven't heard of 1 Million Cups, they are an organization that is "caffeinating an entrepreneurial nation." 1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.
1 Million Cups is not only platform for startups to exchange ideas, network, motivate, educate and inspire. It's also great if you're personally interested in connecting to your local tech scene, or you simply just want to learn something new.
1 Million Cups can be found all over the nation, and has now entered the Boise market thanks to entrepreneurship mogul, Norris Krueger. Our team attended 1 Million Cups Boise this week at our beloved Trailhead, literally at the same time that our Portland team presented at 1 Million Cups PDX!
In this post, I'll be going over takeaways from 1 Million Cups Boise, where we were very impressed with Ryan Vasso, CEO of Reply Pro. Ryan was a part of the Boise State Venture College, which is essentially an incubator for students and alumni. He brought up a few topics that resonated with us.
First of all, find your why. We've all heard that one before, but what he said next was impactful – be okay with changing your why to adapt to people's needs. Don't try to change human behavior. Create something that simplifies an existing process or behavior.
The second was the importance of talking to customers, but not taking their word as the end all, be all. A lot of people love an idea when it's pitched to them, but when push comes to shove, it turns out they don't love your idea enough to either use or buy your product. People lie. (They don't mean to, but it happens.)
Lastly, he talked about the importance of mentors. You need three types: one that is the long-term mentor; the shoulder you can cry on. The other is the no-BS mentor – the one that's going to give it to you straight and whip you into shape when the going gets rough. The final is the networking mentor, who will go out of their way to introduce you to their network because they want nothing more than to see you succeed. Best rule of thumb is to always follow up with your mentors after you take a meeting with someone they've introduced you to. Keep them involved; they care about outcomes.
We love hearing from other entrepreneurs, and appreciate Trailhead hosting yet another great event. Looking forward to speaking at 1 Million Cups Boise soon!