Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Startup Conference? – Just remember who the stars are!

Yes it is Showtime. These events pull in every facet of the startup ecosystem. But let’s just remember who the stars are.

They are not the guys up on stage giving bite sized tit bits on how they got where they are and you can too.

They were the stars.

They have had their glory and are deservedly living their dream.

They were game changers, rock stars, our inspiration, our motivation. We aspired to be like them – Dorsey, Zuckerberg, Ferriss, Thiel, Vaynerchuk, Musk. We want to invest like them – Buchheit, Graham, Levchin, McClure, Mullenweg.

They made it to the Startup Hall of Fame.

But today, WE ARE THE STARS.


We gave up everything to be here today.

Despite the odds that 90% of us will fail, we gave it our all.

We took a huge risk, some of us changing careers, all of us tapping on our network of friends and family for financial and moral support. We have worked through the night to build our products. We stressed over payroll. We sought validation from everyone, even complete strangers in cafes. We have iterated, and iterated again. We crafted pitches, and edited them again and again. For many of us it has been a steep learning curve. We are virgin entrepreneurs in a new world. We have read their books, followed their blogs, taken their advice. We no longer aspire to be like them. We created a new path. 

We have spent our savings, spent our friends savings, spent our families savings to build our product. This is, for many of us, make or break.

We became great at cooking pasta because we know it's cheaper to eat at home. We have spent, one, maybe two years getting to this point. Our runway is short, but we do not fear failure. Some of us will gladly start over from scratch. Some of us may end up fronting shelves at the local supermarket. A few of us will be on that stage in the coming years. 

But all of us are stars.

Without us, there would be no show.


Whether you are a local Angel, a VC superstar flown in from Silicon Valley, a hotshot serial entrepreneur with 3 exits under your belt, or a media reporter for some startup magazine, hear us out. Give us a shot. We have tweaked our elevator pitches, so it won’t take but a few minutes of your time. Don’t give us the rose tinted feedback we want to hear. We can handle the truth. Trust us, we have grown thick skins this last year from industry establishment telling us it won’t work. We might well have given up if it were not for the few that supported us. Our teams have supported us through thick and thin. They believe in us. They believe we can change the world.

When you meet an entrepreneur on the conference floor, even if their area is not something you would typically look at, give them the courtesy of at least two minutes of your time. Hear our pitch, and by all means, be on your way.

We deserve as much.

Come check out Quimojo at RISE 2016 in Hong Kong.

Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.

Search, Connect, Chat, and Video Interview candidates, all from within a single platform.

Other Articles:

Twelve things you should know as an Entrepreneur

How to Rock the Conference Circuit

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Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

Thank you @Michelle Williams. Hong Kong! Here we come!

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #5

You failed latin also, Dean? 🎓 #4

Dean Owen

5 years ago #4

Thanks Ken Boddie, no i never let illegitimate carburetors get me down!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #3

Never immune Ali Anani, and always listening. Fortunately it is the hugely positive feedback from complete strangers that reaffirm our commitment. Thanks for stopping by.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #2

Inspirational stuff Dean Owen. Reminds me of that little known latin proverb "Nil ilegitimus carborundum" loosely translated as "Don't let the bastards grind you down". Incidentally I failed my second year latin. 🤓

"Trust us, we have grown thick skins this last year from industry establishment telling us it won’t work". So, you are immune to bee stings Dean Owen. Liked the persistence, self-assurance and passion to what you do. Good luck, my friend.

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