On February 9-10, hundreds of entrepreneurs and marketers braved a blizzard to make their way to Ontario’s Niagara region for the first annual Haste & Hustle conference. An impressive and eclectic speaker line-up shared their expertise and the stories of their success including Gary Vaynerchuk, Casey Neistat and MetaVRse’s own Alan Smithson.
A last minute relocation of the event to the Bethany Community Church ended up being a fitting venue for the inspirational presenters who shared wisdom that could only be accumulated through true entrepreneurial sacrifice. New communication technologies such Virtual and Augmented Reality and Chatbots were also a consistent theme throughout the show with many speakers highlighting how tech can help aspiring entrepreneurs reach their business goals – but how there is no substitute for good old fashioned hustle.
Outside of the “chapel”, attendees were invited to try the latest in Virtual and Augmented technology in MetaVRse’s Mixed Reality Experience Zone (generously sponsored by HTC Vive) and try the latest consumer gadgets in a Tech Hub curated by gadget guru Marc Saltzman. Haste & Hustle was host to activities that highlighted the Niagara Region, featuring a marketing crawl of local businesses and an evening gala at the world famous Jackson Triggs winery.
The real highlight was the collected wisdom being shared from the stage. Here are a few of our favourite moments:
Alan Smithson’s Presentation on how VR & AR Will Be Used by Businesses
MetaVRse CEO Alan Smithson opened his talk with a personal story about the toll his previous business took on him and his family and the lessons he learned from the experiences that have carried over into the success of MetaVRse. The talk turned to his current passion for Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies and the way they’re already being used by innovative businesses. Among the most amazing predictions for the technology, Smithson predicted that in five years from now we’ll be viewing the world through a pair of glasses rather than looking at our phones!
Gary Vaynerchuk – Vayner Media
The main event for many of Haste & Hustle’s attendees, Gary Vaynerchuk almost didn’t make it to the event because of a severe snowstorm. His DailyVee Youtube video for that day actually focused on the story of getting to the event and how the journey is the most important part of any accomplishment.
Vaynerchuk has built his brand around entrepreneurial hustle and his talk didn’t sugar coat the amount of personal sacrifice needed in order to achieve the kind of success that he aspires to. Gary will join Gwyneth Paltrow and will.i.am on Apple TV’s new reality show “Planet of the Apps” about app developers.
Casey Neistat – YouTube Star
Casey Neistat is one of the most popular creators on Youtube and it seemed like as many Haste & Hustle attendees were there to see him. Casey shared his hustle story of what made him strive for more: He was scrubbing a clam chowder pot 50 hours a week to support his family when he started making his popular videos. Neistat mused that the path to success is undefined and you get the tools you need from different places. On being an influencer he shared the memorable analogy: “I hate the word influencer. It talks about the effect, not the cause; like calling a musician an ear-pleaser.”
Erin Bury – Eighty Eight Creative
Erin Bury is the managing partner of Eighty Eight Creative, a leading Toronto based communications agency. Bury blew minds with her talk about Chat Bots and how these simulated conversations get smarter and more human the more we use them. The talk included surprising insights like how chatbots live inside the platforms customers already use like Facebook messenger and Whatsapp and will automate things that we’re currently paying humans to do: analysts predict that 85% of customer service interactions will be handled by chatbots by 2020!
Greg Murray – Pfizer
Greg Murray is a product manager at Pfizer and an advocate for creativity within the biggest corporate settings. His talk focused on how creativity shouldn’t be reserved for artists or a so-called “creative class” and how it can be incorporated into all roles. Keeping with the technology theme that ran throughout the event, Murray reminded us that as AI replaces more routine functions we’ll be entering a more creative economy as the remaining jobs require human creativity.
Giovanni Marsico – Archangel Academy
Giovanni Marsico, the founder of Archangel Academy shared an inspirational talk about his own entrepreneurial challenges to found his organization and used an effective superhero metaphor to share his approach to how entrepreneurs reach their full potential and make an exponential impact on the world.
Marsico shared a memorable analogy of how we use four currencies over the course of our careers: Our Time, Our Gift, Our Relationships and Our Reputation. When we start out, Time is our only asset. We then trade our time to develop our Gift which we use to form relationships with other people when we use it to add value for them. Finally we exchange our social capital for Brand capital to develop our reputation as the most valuable asset of all.
Manjit Minhas – Minhas Breweries and Dragon’s Den
Best known as one of the new generation of Dragons on Dragon’s Den, Manjit shared her story of the tenacity required to secure her first big deal for her company Minhas Breweries. The story involved Minhas getting her client to sign an agreement on a napkin after negotiating terms in a restaurant! She offered the audience the advice: “Do not have a “Plan B”, it will only distract you from “Plan A”.
Paul Copcutt – You, Inc.
Paul Copcutt is a master of personal branding on LinkedIn and offered some pro-tips for the Haste & Hustle audience to help them use the professional network to better market themselves. One of his most effective pieces of advice was to identify the the one word you’d use to describe your personal essence and build your profile around it.