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From Idea to Exit

Natalie Downe
September 10, 2013

From Idea to Exit

Natalie launched the first version of Lanyrd.com with a co-founder and her husband Simon, while on honeymoon in Casablanca. As the site took off, they realised their side project was destined to become something much bigger.

This talk will tell the story of Lanyrd from a two-week proof of concept to a fully-fledged startup, the lessons learned along the way about building and launching a product, running a company, raising investment and the entrepreneurship journey. This is the talk she wished she heard before getting started! In September 2013, just a week before the SmashingConf 2013, Lanyrd was acquired by Eventbrite.

Natalie Downe

September 10, 2013
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  1. FROM IDEA TO EXIT.
    Natalie Downe, 10th September 2013

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  2. Brighton, June 2010

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  3. Casablanca, Morocco, August 2010

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  4. If you are not embarrassed
    by the first version of
    your product, you’ve
    launched too late.
    Reid Hoffman

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  5. OH "if we fix all the bugs before launch, we
    won't have any fun left"
    @nataliedowne, 11:36 PM, 30th August 2010

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  6. "We launched lanyrd.com ! Go easy on it, the
    log files are going a bit nuts, who knew Twitter
    was viral?"
    @simonw, 10:52 AM, 31st August 2010

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  7. "Why are there ants on the wall?"
    @nataliedowne, 6:24 PM, 2nd September 2010

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  8. "and we have internet again! at a nearby hotel
    bar now, our internet here in Casablanca
    reboots every day but normally comes back in
    an hour"
    @natbat, 6:54 PM, 31st August 2010

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  9. "Had no idea how much work there would be
    _after_ launch, naively thought would be able
    to relax a bit, this thing has gone through the
    roof!"
    @nataliedowne, 7:54 PM, 1st September 2010

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  10. "Internet at the 'Business Man Hotel' died, hot
    footed it in a taxi to Rick's Cafe again, waiters
    amused by us!"
    @nataliedowne, 3:43 PM, 4th September 2010

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  11. "Being kicked out of Ricks, have to take a taxi
    to our hotel down the coast in time to finish
    scaling before the USA east coast wakes up"
    @nataliedowne, 4:21 PM, 4th September 2010

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  12. "So there is no Internet in the room and they
    have turned all the restaurant lights off around
    us #sysadminingInTheDark"
    @nataliedowne, 12:01 AM, 5th September 2010

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  13. Make your own luck.

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  14. Train from Cairo to Aswan, Egypt, October 2010

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  15. Egypt, November 2010

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  16. http://ycombinator.com/atyc.html

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  17. Luxor, Egypt, November 2010

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  18. What's new about what you're doing? What
    substitutes do people resort to because what
    you plan to make doesn't exist yet?
    What do you understand about your business
    that other companies in it just don't get?
    How will you make money?
    How will you get users?
    How do you know people need what you're
    making?
    https://news.ycombinator.com/apply

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  19. Learn how to take
    advice.

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  20. Always be pitching.

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  21. Rehearsal day.

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  22. Lanyrd.com
    Definitive database
    of Professional Events
    and Speakers
    Personalised, Social,
    Event Recommendation
    Engine

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  23. Don't worry about people
    stealing your ideas.
    If your ideas are any good,
    you'll have to ram them down
    people's throats.
    Howard H. Aiken

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  24. Surround yourself with
    a circle of trust.

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  25. Surround yourself with
    a circle of trust.

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  26. Raising money

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  27. Raise money to last for
    18 months.

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  28. Raise money to last for
    18 months.

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  29. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  30. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  31. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  32. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  33. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  34. Investor checklist
    Elevator pitch
    Executive summary
    Pitch deck
    Answers to common questions
    Introductions
    The phone number of a really good lawyer!

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  35. Get a good corporate
    lawyer.

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  36. The way to seem
    most formidable as an
    inexperienced founder is to
    stick to the truth.
    Paul Graham

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  37. Building a team,
    designing a company.

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  38. Hire from your
    network.

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  39. Build tools that help
    you punch above your
    weight.

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  40. Pattern Portfolio.

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  41. One-click deploys.

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  42. Feature flags.

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  43. lanyrd.com/mobile

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  44. Always take press
    screenshots yourself.

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  45. Always take press
    screenshots yourself.

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  46. Press packs.
    Embargo time and timezone.
    Story summary and context.
    Numbers.
    Quotes.
    Contact details.
    Selection of screenshots.
    Link to your primary press pack.
    Background product info.
    Logos
    Links and spelling of links.

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  47. Press packs.
    Embargo time and timezone.
    Story summary and context.
    Numbers.
    Quotes.
    Contact details.
    Selection of screenshots.
    Link to your primary press pack.
    Background product info.
    Logos
    Links and spelling of links.

    View full-size slide

  48. Press packs.
    Embargo time and timezone.
    Story summary and context.
    Numbers.
    Quotes.
    Contact details.
    Selection of screenshots.
    Link to your primary press pack.
    Background product info.
    Logos
    Links and spelling of links.

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  49. Lanyrd integrates with LinkedIn
    For background information on Lanyrd, see our main press pack
    For embargo until Saturday 14th September 2013 at 4:00pm London (11:00am Eastern / 8:00am Pacific)
    Powered by WORLD TIME BUDDY 24
    AM/PM
    STARTS IN
    4 days
    7 hours, 23 minutes
    London
    United Kingdom, England
    4:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    - 4:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    Your Time
    On this Computer / Device
    5:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    - 5:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    +1
    +1
    Lanyrd now helps LinkedIn users discover conferences and professional events based on their LinkedIn connections and
    profile information. This fills a gap left by the shutdown of LinkedIn's events application and allows event organizers to
    continue to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote their events. LinkedIn users can also use Lanyrd to build their own
    speaker profiles, get event information on their mobile phones and network more effectively with others at events.
    Lanyrd is launching the ability to sign in with your LinkedIn account and get event recommendations based on your LinkedIn contacts
    and profile information.
    LinkedIn users can now benefit from Lanyrd's directory of more than 25,000 events entered by our community in 100+ countries around
    the world.
    LinkedIn announced that they will be shutting down their events app on the 26th of November in a help page on their site.
    Speakers and attendees can build a profile of the events they have attended and the talks they have given. Where LinkedIn acts as your
    online resumé, Lanyrd can act as your online speaking portfolio.
    Users can subscribe to weekly emails recommending events based on their LinkedIn profile. As they grow their network on LinkedIn, these
    emails will get increasingly more relevant.
    Event organizers can use Lanyrd to promote their events, publish their event schedule both online and through our mobile apps, and
    gather together slides, notes and videos once the event has ended.
    This also marks the first time Lanyrd have made their service available to people who do not use Twitter. New Lanyrd users can also now
    create an account using an email address and password.
    Lanyrd helps people get more out of conferences and professional events, by discovering the right events to attend, meeting the right people
    while there and catching up on slides, notes and video afterwards.
    We have prepared a preview site for members of the press to try out the new functionality in advance of our public release on Monday at 4pm
    GMT. The preview is available here:
    http://preview.lanyrd.com/
    Use username beta and password hamster to access the preview. You can then sign in with LinkedIn using the Sign Up link on the
    homepage.
    Lanyrd - http://lanyrd.com/
    Lanyrd iPhone app - http://lanyrd.com/iphone/
    Lanyrd's HTML5 Mobile web app (Compatible with Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle etc) - - http://lanyrd.com/mobile/
    Summary
    Key points
    About Lanyrd
    Press preview site
    Useful links
    Screenshots

    View full-size slide

  50. Lanyrd integrates with LinkedIn
    For background information on Lanyrd, see our main press pack
    For embargo until Saturday 14th September 2013 at 4:00pm London (11:00am Eastern / 8:00am Pacific)
    Powered by WORLD TIME BUDDY 24
    AM/PM
    STARTS IN
    4 days
    7 hours, 23 minutes
    London
    United Kingdom, England
    4:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    - 4:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    Your Time
    On this Computer / Device
    5:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    - 5:00 pm
    Sat, Sep 14 2013
    +1
    +1
    Lanyrd now helps LinkedIn users discover conferences and professional events based on their LinkedIn connections and
    profile information. This fills a gap left by the shutdown of LinkedIn's events application and allows event organizers to
    continue to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote their events. LinkedIn users can also use Lanyrd to build their own
    speaker profiles, get event information on their mobile phones and network more effectively with others at events.
    Lanyrd is launching the ability to sign in with your LinkedIn account and get event recommendations based on your LinkedIn contacts
    and profile information.
    LinkedIn users can now benefit from Lanyrd's directory of more than 25,000 events entered by our community in 100+ countries around
    the world.
    LinkedIn announced that they will be shutting down their events app on the 26th of November in a help page on their site.
    Speakers and attendees can build a profile of the events they have attended and the talks they have given. Where LinkedIn acts as your
    online resumé, Lanyrd can act as your online speaking portfolio.
    Users can subscribe to weekly emails recommending events based on their LinkedIn profile. As they grow their network on LinkedIn, these
    emails will get increasingly more relevant.
    Event organizers can use Lanyrd to promote their events, publish their event schedule both online and through our mobile apps, and
    gather together slides, notes and videos once the event has ended.
    This also marks the first time Lanyrd have made their service available to people who do not use Twitter. New Lanyrd users can also now
    create an account using an email address and password.
    Lanyrd helps people get more out of conferences and professional events, by discovering the right events to attend, meeting the right people
    while there and catching up on slides, notes and video afterwards.
    We have prepared a preview site for members of the press to try out the new functionality in advance of our public release on Monday at 4pm
    GMT. The preview is available here:
    http://preview.lanyrd.com/
    Use username beta and password hamster to access the preview. You can then sign in with LinkedIn using the Sign Up link on the
    homepage.
    Lanyrd - http://lanyrd.com/
    Lanyrd iPhone app - http://lanyrd.com/iphone/
    Lanyrd's HTML5 Mobile web app (Compatible with Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle etc) - - http://lanyrd.com/mobile/
    Summary
    Key points
    About Lanyrd
    Press preview site
    Useful links
    Screenshots

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  51. Keep an eye on your
    out-of-money date.

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  52. December 2012

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  53. Choose a theory.
    Prove or disprove the theory.

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  54. Choose a theory.
    Prove or disprove the theory.

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  55. Lanyrd Pro, April 2013

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  56. Learn from people who
    used to be like you.

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  57. San Francisco, USA, March 2013

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  58. Balance your options.

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  59. Companies don't buy
    companies.
    People buy companies.

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  60. Trust your gut instinct.

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  61. Look after yourself.
    Doing a start-up is a life choice not a
    get rich quick scheme

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  62. http://ycombinator.com/apply

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  63. http://lanyrd.com/scprmy
    Thanks for listening.

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