Upicnic | Five things we learned at TechCrunch Disrupt NY

Five things we learned at TechCrunch Disrupt NY

BY THE UPICNIC TEAM
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5/20/2016

First things first, TechCrunch Disrupt is an amazing experience whether you go there as a student, an exhibitor, an investor, or if you want to just walk around.

The reason why it’s so amazing is, mainly, because they have taken a few hundreds of the most driven entrepreneurs the world-around and stuffed them in a cruise terminal for 3 days. They will network and mingle and pitch. They all feel super smart, they are all over excited, and they all want to be the best.

Obviously, this year Upicnic was also part of the overly excited crowd. We got to meet some extremely cool people, like Anthony Ha (TechCrunch senior editor and Battlefield moderator - for those of you who’ve been living under a rock), the guys from Doorbell, our friends at Croissant, and so many more.

So what did we learn after 3 days of pitching, exchanging cards, and listening to people on stage? Well, mainly five things:

  1. People Can Be Real Jerks: we started out our TC Disrupt experience with IAB CEO refusing to shake hands with AdBlock Plus CEO. Why? I mean, business is business – we all have competitors, we all have rivals, we all have people we’d rather send to work the rice fields in China. But that’s no reason to be rude. Honestly, what type of evil would have befallen him if he did shake his hand? You have got to be a total jerk to do something like that.

  2. Fuel Is Important: unlimited coffee is king. If you need RedBull make sure to befriend the baristas early on because they can get you any flavor you want throughout the day. They will also hook you up with any extra food they have, if you happened to miss lunch (which you will at some point, trust us). If you are exhibiting we recommend you get good and drugged up with b-12 and Emergen-C… you may spontaneously sprout wings in the first couple of hours, but at least you won’t lose the ability to stand on your own feet.

  3. Everybody Around You Is Smart: the people you see and hear are geeky smart, or money smart, or connection smart, or press smart – but the point is, you might have a great product, wonderful backers, and kickass co-founders, but you need to dial down the ego and start listening. There is so much to learn. Listen to how other people pitch, observe how they behave, see whom they gravitate towards. For as experienced as you can be, ideas are not the main attraction factor of TechCrunch – people are.

  4. The Crowd Can Be Weird, and That’s OK: we have watched the Queen of dry sarcasm, Jordan Crook (also known as TechCrunch Senior Writer) eloquently and seamlessly introduce every single speaker for 3 days… and even dabble with improv when time tables didn’t go as planned. Even freaking Jessica Alba got, like, 6 claps from the audience. Why? Well, you gave them all laptops, free wifi, and millions of charging stations, were you really expecting the audience to be reactive? Then someone like Beam comes on stage (winner of TC Disrupt 2016 Battlefield btw, congrats guys!) and because everybody in tech is (or has been) a gamer, they all clap and cheer and actually pay attention.

  5. Attire Is Relative: because corporate investors will show up in a suit, people on stage will look casually elegant, students and hackaton survivors will be in jeans, and some exhibitors will spice up their logo’d t-shirt with a random blazer. We participated in TechDay before Disrupt NY, and we stayed true to our initial choice of t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. Next time we might allow our food fairy to push the good weather excuse and go flip-flopping around.

At the end of the day, TechCrunch Disrupt is an amazing experience that we would recommend to every every entrepreneur (or aspiring ones), whether they want to network, or connect with investors, or simply catch up on new ideas and hear cool speakers. 

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