#Launch2013 – Thoughts Post-Festival

Mustache pic with Liz H. at the Try it Local booth.
Mustache pic with Liz H. at the Try it Local booth.

Whew. It’s already a week after the Launch Festival in San Francisco. I’m sitting here, sipping on green juice and wondering how the week just flew by. When I first decided to go to Launch, my intent was to go spread the word about TAOpivot to others in the Bay Area; you know, do some networking like I usually do.

What I didn’t expect was for the conference to be MORE than just that! I was so excited to go to Launch that I started following the #Launch2013 topic and pinging people to see if we could meet up. Once I got to the event, I was doing part live-tweeting of main stage sessions and also continuing to message other attendees to try to meet up.

Yup, I out-tweeted the @Launch account.
Yup, I out-tweeted the @Launch account. Stats from Epilogger.

So, after the first day, I unintentionally out-tweeted the official @Launch account. I was stunned and … well, didn’t expect for so much to happen out of that.

Oh, the horror!
Oh, the horror!

Days 2 and 3 consisted of me maxing out my tweet limit (I was locked out of Twitter for an hour…oh the pain!), lots of requests to meet up from other attendees and Demo Pit startups, and … just AMAZING connections. By the end of Day 3, I felt like I had a whole new family to go home to. It was sad to see the Concourse getting cleaned up…I felt lost afterwards. *cue the violin*

Got recognized at The Creamery! New friends Crystal & Terri & me
Got recognized at The Creamery! New friends Crystal & Terri & me

Ok, the actual Launch festival: Jason really hit it out of the ballpark. Fireside Chat with Chamath was so awesome (and so many quotable things….”Jason is a fungus”). Inspiring Accelerator and Angel Investor panels. Fun demos from companies launching at the festival! There were plenty of startups to visit in the Demo Pit that I couldn’t hit up all the booths. I felt the buzz of hope, change, life! in the air. It was nice to meet other likeminded people and chat about our similar yet different struggles in our startup lives.

My badge
My badge

And: the Digital Detox booth. Oh my gracious. This was probably the most brilliant booth there was: leave your mobile devices/laptops/etc. at the entrance and go inside to be blissfully unaware of the buzz around you. I loved trying the different tea and getting into lively discussions with other attendees without having anyone pull out their phone. There was also massage in the back area: complete with didgeridoo sound healing from my new friend, Brandon Waloff. (See Vine vid here:IMG_7330)

Pigeon.ly's mission is so unique: helping divided communities come together!
Pigeon.ly’s mission is so unique: helping divided communities come together!

What could have been improved? The timing. Every day we started later than expected; I missed a lot of the Skills Stage and Office Hours sessions because the Main Stage ran behind. Poo. The Diversity in Tech panel could have been more than just a whine-fest–it only touched the service of the topic. I know many other female founders felt that there could have been more female representation via launch demos, panels, and judges. I’d like to see a bit of balance there, too.

Overall, I really enjoyed myself at Launch. I loved meeting people from all over the world and just .. knowing we’re all in this together. Three days is all it takes to make some lasting, meaningful connections. Three days can change your life, as it did for me!