Last month the largest free event of its kind, Denver Startup Week, kicked off in Denver and the Highwing team was excited to participate. We are innovation nerds at our core and two of our team members, Erik Mitisek and Jay Zeschin, have actually been contributing to DSW from its inception.
Being entirely virtual, this year was a little different than years past. With the unique challenges posed by this, Jay, our VP of technology, ran online scheduling and streaming for a week's worth of events to over 10,000 attendees while Erik moderated a series of panels and interviews.
Here are some of the notable events our team was involved in.
How do you build an innovative ecosystem? Brad Feld, co-founder of Foundry Group & Techstars discusses the complex nature of startup communities, the difference between startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and how we can cultivate them.
- Value creation occurs in startup communities primarily through the interaction of the parts—the people, organizations, resources, and conditions involved—not the parts themselves. This is harder to measure- but it's a function of the size of a network and the value of the information and work that travels through that network.
- There are other types of capital besides financial capital, and to build a strong startup community, you should focus on the capitals that you have, putting energy into those in order to attract the capitals that you do not have.
Jerry Colonna is CEO and cofounder of Reboot.io, and author of ‘REBOOT: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up’ (HarperBusiness, June 18). For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an executive, venture capitalist (VC), journalist and a board member for 100+ organizations to help people lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity.
- Jerry discusses “Radical Self Inquiry”- a phrase he coined for the process by which the delusions we carry are compassionately stripped away so we don't have anywhere to hide, making us more accountable and empathetic.
- How do founders and execs incorporate empathy in leadership? Jerry first points out that empathy and listening are deeply associated. He also argues that empathetic leadership shouldnt be looked at as an executive or non executive thing. Teach people how to listen deeply and the empathy will follow. It's not about teaching executives to do this, it's about teaching each other to do this.
'IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME: HOW TO TURN BEING UNDERESTIMATED INTO YOUR GREATEST ADVANTAGE' WITH ARLAN HAMILTON
Arlan Hamilton is an investor and the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital. In May 2020, Hamilton released her first book from Penguin Random House entitled It's About Damn Time, which is based on her personal journey into entrepreneurship and venture capital. Arlan wanted to be involved in tech and building the future, but with the majority of venture capital going to white men, she wondered where she fit into this picture as a gay black woman.
- Arlan points out that on her innovation journey, there are a lot of moments where she and her team felt extremely high, just to have it crash down shortly after. With the north star she had set; to invest in 100 companies by 2018, she began using these highs and lows to refine her process and improve.
- She set three clear pillars for building her firm- vision, execution, and amplification. Amplification meaning she wanted visibility into her work so it can be analyzed and replicated.
Energize Colorado was founded at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis with a mission of “Coloradans Helping Coloradans”. On this panel, members of the Energize Colorado team discuss preparing small business for the next economy. Panelists feature Brad Feld, Marc Nager, Erik Mitisek, and Danielle Shoots, moderated by Wendy Lea.
Energize Colorado started as a recommendation board to give governor polis ideas for what could be implemented through laws and executive orders- but they wanted more action. The organization offers financial support, PPE distribution, business guidance, free professional services, mental health resources, and reopening support.
On this panel, Erik interviews Eliot Peper, the bestselling author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and most recently, Veil. His books explore the intersection of technology and culture and have earned praise from the New York Times Book Review, Popular Science, io9, Businessweek, Axios, the Verge, and Ars Technica. He co-created the award-winning True Blue multimedia project and the critically acclaimed game, Machine Learning President, helps build technology businesses as an independent adviser, pursued graduate studies in international affairs, survived dengue fever, translated Virgil’s Aeneid from the original Latin, worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence at a venture capital firm, and explored the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Mustang. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, VICE, OneZero, TechCrunch, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and he has given talks at Google, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Comic Con, Niantic, Future in Review, and SXSW.
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