Boston TechJam: It’s All About Making Connections

“It is all about making connections,” is what almost anyone involved with a business will tell you. On Thursday June 12, this repetitive phrase seemed to be a common theme at the second annual Boston TechJam. Although it was not the only advice given to the audience members.

TechJam started off in the historical Faneuil Hall Meeting Building with a pitch competition between six local startups, Bitcoin NationEnergy HarvestersIncrementMoodsnapSharalikeand Skara/Time Out. The winner of the competition, Sharalike, designed a way to better sort, keep the best pictures, create a slideshow, and share with friends and family. Ultimately sticking to the concept about the importance in making connections with others.

Five successful entrepreneurs made their way to the stage in between pitches presented by the local startups. Among the entrepreneurs were Suzie Kim Riley, Aquto; Richard Doyle; Harpoon Brewery; Donna Levin; Care.com; Andy Miller, Constant Contact; and Brian Kalma, Blade. Their inspirational speeches enforced the importance that comes along with making connections with others. With their advice, they also shared stories and experiences they have had with being a part of starting a company (or several). Whether you are an employee or the boss, these suggestions should definitely be taken into consideration when working for a business.

1. Have “Amnesia”

Being a part of three different start-up companies, Suzie Kim Riley (Aquto) brought up the concept of having “amnesia”.  Having amnesia means that you are often forgetful. Many people may see this as a bad thing, but it’s not. What Suzie meant by this was that sometimes you have to forget about the hardest struggles and challenges you face. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days, but if you want to be successful you have to sometimes forget about the bad days in order to move forward. Each time Suzie started a new company, she found herself realizing that she had forgotten about all of the challenges that came along with it.  She joked that starting a business is a lot like having a child, you forget about the pain that comes along with it because it is overlooked by the joy. The same thing happens when you start a business. Whether you own a business or work for one, it is a good thing to have “amnesia” so you can forget about the most difficult times and challenges. Most importantly though, you should take the time to remember the reasons why you find joy in what you do and what makes you happy.

2. Accept the Challenges

Richard Doyle, co-founder of Harpoon Brewery, has successfully been running his company for almost 30 years. When he first started out, there was one brewery that covered about six states. He saw this as an opportunity and took it. At first, many people didn’t think he would succeed and questioned what he was doing. He never gave up on his idea of running a brewery, and decided to accept the challenge of doing what others did not think was possible. Even when other people doubt you, you should keep pushing and fighting for your dreams.  Always accept the challenges of others and do your best to accomplish what you want in life.

3. Let Go

It is okay to let go. A lot of times, people want to take on as many responsibilities as they possibly can because they either enjoy doing it or because they are ambitious. When a company grows, there comes a point where you have to let go of control and let someone take over certain aspects of a business. If someone is a specialist in a particular area, allow them to take over. They are considered a specialist for a reason and it will most likely benefit the company in the long run.

There are many things to take into consideration when building or being a part of a business. So, continue to make connections but do not be afraid to have “amnesia” every once in awhile, let someone take over their specialty, and always accept challenges you face.