Big Omaha 2011: Day 2 live blog (afternoon edition)

We've reached the homestretch of Big Omaha 2011, and we have a terrific trio to take us home. This afternoon, we'll be treated to talks from Marc Ecko of Artists & Instigators, Travis Kalanick of Uber and Bo Fishback of Zaarly. For more on those three, see our post on what they've been up to

Marc Ecko helped close out Thursday’s afternoon session as part of a panel Q&A, and he’ll kick off the afternoon session today with a talk of his own. Photo by Malone & Company from Silicon Prairie News on Flickr 

We’ve reached the homestretch of Big Omaha 2011, and we have a terrific trio to take us home. This afternoon, we’ll be treated to talks from Marc Ecko of Artists & Instigators, Travis Kalanick of Uber and Bo Fishback of Zaarly. For more on those three, see our post on what they’ve been up to recently: “Big Omaha 2011: Friday speakers in the spotlight.”

We hope you enjoy the blow-by-blow account from the final speaker session of Big Omaha. Refresh this page to get the latest updates. And if this blog alone doesn’t do the trick, get in on the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag #bigomaha.

Marc Ecko

2:07 – Mark Ecko favors himself as a designer, artist, and a instigator. In 1972, HBO arrived on the map and Mark started his t-shirt clothing line Ecko. 

2:10 – In 1992, Mark Ecko was a pharmacy major in college and on the side, created t-shirts that started his clothing line Ecko Unlimited. Complex, a paper magazine and media network, has stemmed from his success with Ecko Unlimited. Today, 18 million unique viewers a month visit Complex. Ecko also launched Artists & Instigaters. 

2:16 –  Mark Ecko started painting shirts at the time when hip-hop was gaining popularity and as a young teenager, his interests in t-shirts catered to those in the hip-hop popular culture. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Ecko created over 200 paintings trying to “seek authencitiy” while trying to identify “who is Marc Ecko?”

2:23 – “If not in words, can we define authencitiy by a mathematical model?” Ecko asked. Trying to search for an answer to branding his clothing line, Ecko measured imagination by the difference of action and fear divided by self. He describes extreme cases of self and selfless to describe where he fit as an artist and in defining Ecko unlimited.

2:35 – Ecko talked philosophically describing how “emotionally touch and feel” are key variables that help define your market, brand, and authenticity. 

2:40 – Fight the paddle, an organization created by Marc Ecko aimed to take action against corporal punishment in classrooms across the United States, is fighting to make punishment in schools illegal. Twenty states still allow punishment in classrooms by teachers and principals. 

2:46 – “I’m trying to build the AARP of pop culture,” Ecko described his new Arist and Instigators (A&I) organization that acts as an entrepreneurial engine for talented artists. “If Nike is just do it, A & I is get it done.”

Travis Kalanick

3:05 – Travis Kalanick swaps places with Marc Ecko, appearing on stage to talk about his background and Uber. In 6th grade, Kalanick started programming. After diving into a few ventures some of which included creating one of the first search engines with UCLA colleagues, teaching students, and making a product similiar to Akamai.

3:12 – “Entrepreneurs are artists and artists need together and jam every once in awhile,” Kalanick said. 

3:19 – “Preemption is Bad. For example, when VC’s try to sign the dottled line before you talking to other VCs”

3:20 – “VC’s tend to kill Founding CEO’s. ” VC’s sometimes try ti kill the founding CEO or replace them with a seasoned CEO.

3:21 – ” ‘Fake it til you make it’ is BS.” Don’t BS your way into faking what you do. Solve a problem and you will do well.

3:22 – “Fear is the disease, Hustle is the antidote” 

3:23 – “Funding does not solve all problems.” You stil have to do work, and Kalanick mentioned that you shouldn’t “think for a second that funding is going to solve you problem.” 

3:24 – “CEOs that survive are CEOs.” Kalanick pointed out that even Steve Jobs was booted out as CEO and had to come back, suggesting that you have to earn being CEO and that role is gained by surviving. 

3:25 – “So many people build products but don’t know how to communicate the value,” Kalanick said. Taking his quote in context, he suggested that entrepreneurs should “find the magic unicorn” in their product. In other words, identify what makes your product useful. 

3:30 – “Double rainbow magics” or metrics that are trending positive are useful to understand your customer and also visualizing the value of Uber to investors. 

3:38 – When asked by Dan Martell what it takes to be a hustler, Kalanick answered, “something in someone’s past that makes them a fighter.” He continued to suggest that a person who has been at a “disadvantage” and wants to break free from a past disadvantage is fighting and, in turn, makes them a hustler. 

Bo Fishback

4:18 – Bo Fishback worked at Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City as Director of Entrepreneurship and Kauffman Labs. He enjoyed the job and found it to be a great place to learn more about startups. It was nine and half weeks when a friend asked him to come out, as a birthday gift, to Startup Weekend LA. At Startup Weekend, Zaarly was born and within one week Fishback and team had quit their jobs, raised capital, and hired employees. 

4:26 – Found with people you really really really really really know. Like really. Fishback says, “I have two co-founders and one of them I met on a Friday in a city that I rarely visited.” Although this is controversary to one of his tips to starting a company, he suggests that sometimes things don’t happen like you want them too and sometimes that’s okay.

4:30 Bo Fishback Tips

1. Be an expert

2. Build it, test it, customer dev it….then decide if it’s an all-in move. 

3. Bootstrap as long as possible. 

4. Hype can wait. Press can wait. Ship and learn.  

4:40 – “How do we want to feel when people work with us?,” Fishbask asked, a question Zaarly is asking themselves as they prepare to deploy their product. He described answering this question as defining your ambition, authenticity, and honesty. 

4:50 – On gratitude, Fishback explains how fortunate the Zaarly team has been the past nine and half weeks. “When you get on a hype train, it is really easy to drink you own kool-aid. In the last nine weeks, I think we’ve been offered millions in venture capital but we didn’t take it.” 

4:55 – Bo Fishback requested milk from a Nebraska cow a few minutes ago and an actual cow showed up with a milkman. Apparently, Zaarly service works even without the Zaarly mobile app. 



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