This is a repost from a blog I wrote for Techli on our experience at Startup Voodoo.
As a bootstrapped business, we tend to pass on conferences. They take key players off the field, and between the travel, giveaways, and booth fees it’s not easy to prove ROI. Start Up Voodoo in St. Louis made me rethink everything.
To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect going in. The most I knew about St. Louis was from the great poet and philosopher, Nelly and his St. Lunatics. It was a short drive from Chicago, and we were up for a very cool award.
Overall the conference was great! (+9): Baseline 5 +/- impressions. Rather than a boring hotel conference room, Start-Up Voodoo was held at a high-energy sports bar next to the Cardinal’s stadium (+1). The conference was filled with decision makers of Midwest companies (+2). Interesting speakers (+1) and the mic’s actually worked (+1). The food was mediocre and only one coffee bar that needed filling every couple minutes. (-1).
My personal experience: I’ve been trying to write this part without it coming off as a #humblebrag, but it is impossible, so whatever, just breathe deep and power through it… The big draw for Startup Voodoo was a competition for the Mid-West’s Most Promising technology company. Companies pitched and were grilled by judges in front of the whole conference. Imagine Shark Tank, but live. Someone had to win, and that company happened to be my mine, LearnCore. But the real story isn’t that we won some cash, but how we used it.