While attending a conference saturated with entrepreneurs, many of the conversations I had and events I attended were about the process and story behind an idea more than they were about the idea itself. I didn’t anticipate this, but it makes sense that when you bring pioneers into unchartered water, they will cling onto any tidbit of knowledge they can get to make progress.
Here are a few words of wisdom I learned while attending SXSW:
[On product managers] Good product managers... are good storytellers about an optimistic future. They have the ability to make sense of competing signals from people and the market, have a passion for listening and learning about people, are curious about other disciplines, and are affable and have the ability to drive consensus. [Learned in “Well-Designed: Creating Empathy Driven Products,” taught by Jon Kolko]
[On behavior change] When dealing with behavior change in health, people are initially motivated by negative things (i.e. “I don’t want to be overweight”) but then there is a shift to being moti vated by positive things (i.e. “I want to be healthy”). [Learned in “Psychological Architecture and Persuasive Tech,” taught by Brian Cugelman]
[On speaking up] When in groups, the group collectively chooses who is worth listening to. Saying “I don’t know” can be just as valuable as saying “yes” or “no,” but you have to express it and you have to back it. [Learned in “She Rules - Female Leadership Panel,” said by Kathryn Minshew]
[On pitching] Bad things will happen. You have three options: fix it, flaunt it, or forget it. [Learned in “21 Tools to Rock Your Next Pitch,” taught by Stan Phelps]
[On failing] The longer you work on something, the less you want to learn what people think. Fail creatively and productively. [Learned in “Moonshots and Reality,” said by Astro Teller]
[On food] There is no such thing as too many tacos [Self-learned at the food trucks in Austin, TX]