Vancouver Enterprise Forum Event Review
By Guest Blogger: Lisa Dalla Vecchia
With its mission to advance technology entrepreneurship through networking forums that educate and motivate, the Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) is known as the premier networking forum for technology entrepreneurs
On Tuesday June 28th, the VEF hosted a sold out and much anticipated, yet casual networking event, which included guest speaker, Jonathan Ehrlich, Vancouver resident and former Head of Marketing at Facebook. Guests were promised that they would receive an insider view of technology entrepreneurship, Facebook, the trials and successes of a Canadian in Silicon Valley, and Jonathan Ehrlich’s eventual decision to leave Facebook to launch a new tech company—and the VEF delivered on that promise.
Jonathan Ehrlich took the floor and began with the statement, “Timing is everything in life”, to explain his career progression, a path which includes Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing for MobShop Inc., a pioneer in online ecommerce; Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Albright Ventures (now the Blackberry Partners Fund); Executive Vice President, Online, at Indigo Books & Music Inc.; Head of Marketing at Facebook; to current founder of Copious, a social commerce company.
He explained that in preparing for his presentation, he had tried to source a definition of social media, but discovered that the ones he found were all limited. He went on to define social media, and Facebook in particular, as the connective tissue for the planet, claiming, “We are all being rewired into everyone’s conversations”. Facebook has rewired the planet around the notion of connection and authentic identity. “Authentic identity changes everything” and Facebook is based on real people and real identities.
Jonathan Ehrlich then shared the top five things to know about Facebook:
- Focus on (big) impact. Instrumental to the operation of the company is the focus on results, not on how long or how hard you work.
- Move fast. From idea to output (and yes, the pressure is intense).
- Design social products. People first, products second.
- Experiment. Test, test, test until perfect…and then test some more.
- Be authentic (most important). If you do not have a unique sense of who you are, if you try to stand for everyone and everything, you stand for no one.
He also shared how posters are hung throughout the offices of Facebook with the message, “Done is Better than Perfect”. They strongly believe that the longer it takes to do something, the less you are learning, and that the focus should be on getting it done. All start-ups launch and while launches are imperfect, the important thing is to get it out and learn from your mistakes–but learn fast.
He went on to talk about Copious, which launched the Wednesday before the VEF event. He claimed that Copious would rewrite every consumer-facing industry (travel, music etc.) with its focus on “people first, product second” and authenticity impacting commerce as we currently know it. By making the buyer-seller experience more truthful (versus the current model of anonymity), the experience will become more enjoyable. He closed the talk by answering the many questions posed by audience members.
About the VEF:
The VEF holds eight events each year – usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. These events provide attendees with an opportunity to network and learn. The evening involves a feature presenter covering a topic especially relevant to technology entrepreneurs such as financing and CEO war stories. Networking sessions are included before and after the presentation for speakers and attendees to connect with each other.
Regular VEF events will re-commence on September 20th with what promises to be a very exciting seasons. The 2011/12 event calendar will feature topics such as: Angel Investments, Venture Capital, M&A Trends, New Media, Cleantech, Machine to Machine Communication, C100 and Incubator/Accelerator in the VEF and DigiBC for a look at the Video Game Industry in British Columbia.