Ferst Digital was selected by The Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation’s Emerging Entrepreneur program to attend C2 Montreal 2017 🙏. Eytan (our CEO and co-founder) and I had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the 3-day long experience that focused on new ideas 💡 and changing the way business is done 🤔. After attending inspiring talks, experimenting in workshops and meeting with other attendees, we had a chance to reflect on the major themes of the conference – and how they impact today’s entrepreneurs.
What big ideas at C2 resonated with you?
Eytan: There were so many high-speed, unexpected collisions throughout C2 that drove the idea of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. The opportunity to discuss what you’re working on with people that come from different fields and expertises is so important.
Justin: I agree. I think that I took away the ideas of connecting with others and collaboration as drivers for business in an increasingly digital world. The emphasis on systems and underleveraged sources of value to structure your thinking and work was also really interesting.
Which people inspired you most at C2?
Justin: Cal Fussman from Esquire focused on the idea of how a journalist is able to go beyond the surface and understand someone’s core motivations. He talked about key interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev and Muhammad Ali to illustrate how you need to find a common ground with someone to really understand what drives them. I was so inspired by Leonard Brody’s talk about the role of digitally native entrepreneurship during The Great Rewrite. His focus on creating systems to help manage your business was really insightful.
Eytan: I had the chance to meet with Sebastien Leduc who co-founded GSOFT and talked about workplace culture. He explained how after creating GSOFT it was important for him to create a company culture where he would want to work. Sebastien told me that he had an epiphany and realized how critical it was to build support & accessibility into his company’s culture.
How do these ideas impact today’s emerging entrepreneurs?
Eytan: When you found a startup, or are a freelancer, or run a small business, you’re forced into a lot of roles and need to work with people that likely see that world in fundamentally different ways. The ability to demonstrate build bridges with all stakeholders is critical for success. As you do so, you’ll create tremendous value in these connections.
Justin: Entrepreneurs want to do everything. This is a great trait but can be limiting, especially as organizations and workloads scale. Implementing systems and creating standards for our team to use is invaluable. It lets us stay organized, remain mission focused, and not be pulled off-course when emergencies inevitably happen. Personally, tools like Trello and system frameworks like Scrum or Kanban have provided a huge amount of value to me and let me work in a structured way. You never truly realize how powerful these tools can be until you meet people outside of the tech space. You wouldn’t believe how fascinated people were when I showed them how I used these tools and concepts to manage my day to day.
Eytan: Those sound interesting, what would you tell non-technical entrepreneurs to check out if they wanted to use those tools or frameworks in their business?
Justin: I’d recommend reading these guides to Scrum and Kanban which are both frameworks that let you plan out which tasks you need to do and give you visibility into what needs to happen between an idea and a finished project. Scrum is a bit more structured while Kanban is more flexible – they’ll both give you far more focus and remove the sense of panic that can sometimes take hold when you’re trying to move your business forward. I’ve also set up a sample Trello board here that outlines exactly how I organize my work every week.