Shut up and listen when smart people are talking

When we first got accepted into TechStars, we planned on building an event registration system. Thankfully we had some awesome mentors who encouraged us to focus solely on social networking. They pointed out that there are plenty of other companies already in event registration and it would be really tough for us to compete with them. On the other hand, we had a decent chance of becoming the best in the world at providing online communities for conferences. We were a little hard-headed at first, but after Brad, David, Noah, Eric and Todd all gave us the same advice, we finally sat up and paid attention. We are really grateful to these guys because they saved us from wasting a lot of time this summer.

Later this summer, Eric Norlin began pushing us to start thinking more like conference organizers. He kept asking “How are you going to decrease my cost or increase my revenue?” This time we listened. In fact, we decided to address his question head on. Now our entire revenue model is an answer to that question: We only get paid when we are successful in driving more registrations to a conference.

I’m going to share a secret: Very little of EventVue was our idea. Instead we borrowed from the insight of dozens of conference organizers and mentors. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about. It’s learning to listen to the right people. One of the most important skills for any entrepreneur to learn to listen.