August 20, 2010. Day 2, Inspire: The GROW Conference will provide inspiration for turning today's entrepreneurs into tomorrow's leaders. Speakers include founders of fast-growing companies, leading investors and influencers who will share lessons learned.
First Quarter of Day 2
9:00 AM - Once breakfast and registration ends at 9am, attendees file into the conference room, finding spots in comfortable chairs, many with long white-clothed tables for laptops—and, in my rare case, a good old pen (not stylus) and pad (not iPad) of paper.
Jeremy Toeman, founder of Stage Two, from Toronto, is the day's emcee. He introduces Vancouver City mayor Gregor Robertson, who discusses the impact the 2010 Olympics have had and are having on the city.
Gregor mentions Vancouver's low carbon emissions and promises the city will be the world's greenest region within a decade. He says that Vancouver has the most entrepreneurs per capita than any other city in North America. And while he admits this is partially due to Vancouver's lack of corporation headquarters, he also attributes to to Vancouver's "business edge"—which is a conglomerate of world-class universities and healthcare system, as well as a city-wide web savviness and multicultural acceptance, on top of globally renowned livability.
Following Gregor comes a video created by the Vancouver Film School, a minute-long video creatively showing off Vancouver-tied businesses which have accomplished great things in the tech or entrepreneurial realm.
9:28 AM - Jeremy returns to close Gregor's remarks and introduce the first presentation.
Photography: Knowlton Thomas
9:34 AM - Dave McClure, the man who loves the number 500, begins his presentation, titled "Startup 2.0: The Lean Investor." Amidst f-bomb dropping and a laughing, but engaged, full crowd, Dave discusses "venture capitalism 2.0," which he says will feature fewer and smaller funds. He diffuses peoples' worries over the the future of e-commerce, saying don't fret over concepts "based on people buying shit. Is that going to stop any time soon? Fuck no."
He theorizes a three-stage model for startups: First, reinvent a web 1.0 business. Second, add web 2.0 technology (think social, mobile, e-commerce). Finally, distribute your product or service. The curse-happy Dave ends by confirming the whirlwind that is running a startup: "If you're not feeling out of control, you're not going fast enough."
Dave tries to spill into overtime after being asked off stage and enthusiastically replying:
You're not gonna take me off the stage. No fucking way.
He is kicked off at 10:03.