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RIT Entrepreneurs Conference 2011: Web of Opportunities

My report of Rochester Institute of Technology’s 8th Annual Entrepreneurs Conference which was attended by over 600 RIT students, professors, alumni, and outside businesses looking to better themselves for the digital future. Written by Juliet Rocco

Friday, October 21, 7:20am: My day began very early. I was volunteering at the conference by assisting local high school groups in making sure they got to their desired workshops throughout the day. I was also able to attend a few workshops that catered to my own interests. David Kidder, CEO of Clickable.com and RIT alum was the keynote speaker for the event.

8:30am Session 1 – Entrepreneurship and Social Media: I arrived a little late to the first workshop because I was running around like a mad woman trying to make sure 63 high schoolers where in the right place at the right time. Eventually, I was able to take my seat and listen in on RIT’s Saunders College of Business Associate Marketing Professor, Raj Murthy and Assistant Professor, Neil Hair. This was my favorite and most entertaining workshop of the day by far!

Crowdsourcing was one of the topics I was less familiar with and excited to learn more about. Essentially, its definition is very similar to that of outsourcing. The example given during the presentation was about a company looking to hire new, excited, young people to fill a few open positions. They reached out to their current young employees and had them ask their own friends via Facebook. This was a great way to get people interested in applying for the job and much easier for the company in the pre-selection screening process. Also discussed were branding yourself, setting up personal Google Alerts, and demystifying the Quick Response (QR) codes for the less tech savvy in the room.

9:45am Session 2 – Making Money from the Web-Digital Entrepreneurship

I really enjoyed listening in on this session and taking notes on David Kidder. Associate Professor, Vic Perotti served as moderator and Kidder was able to take some of our questions throughout the workshop pertaining to his past ventures.

Kidder also gave some helpful advice: In this world you “make your own luck” and in the future “designers are going to rule the world.” —I had a brief personal moment here where my evil inner laugh began to surface because I thought to myself, “That’s me! I’m a designer and a marketer. I’m going to take over the world!” Umm OK, snapping back to reality…

Kidder explained that ideas should be perfected, and more brilliance on a single idea means more accuracy. Think about perfecting the idea as a continuum to keep it running smooth and efficiently. Also keep into perspective that the commercial web is only about 16 years old; still young and full of so many opportunities for growth! True genius, as covered in my post about Steve Jobs, revolves around multiple disciplines. Jobs was successful because he did so many different things to help better himself and his business.

11:15am Keynote Speaker – David Kidder, CEO of Clickable.com

“It’s not what you say ‘no’ to, it’s what you say ‘yes’ to.” – David Kidder

Key takeaways from his presentation:

  • You can’t be average anymore.
  • Be objective. Be rebellious. Be an outsider.
  • See the future when no one else can.
  • Get on revenue streams.
  • Listen & watch what the market is doing.
  • Take the risk on that ONE big idea.

Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, both attending and volunteering. I was able to get some great advice and whether I want to do a startup or not, it’s still inspiring to see so many unique people who have been successful and willing to share their experiences with us. Hopefully, this will leave you with some inspiration as well! And who knows, I could be the next keynote speaker…keeping my options open for now.

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