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5 Really Inspirational Things we Heard at an Epic Startup Event

Tuomas Rantalainen

01.12.16 3 min. read

Slush is Europe’s leading and the world’s’ coolest startup event. Over 15,000 top tech investors, starry-eyed startups and journalists brave the godawful Finnish November weather (blink and you miss the day’s sunlight) to give talks, pitch their ideas, form partnerships and finally wind down at the mythic Slush afterparty.

But the greatest thing you walk away with is inspiration, and here are five eye-opening things we heard on day one. They are not conventional business tips, but instead give insight into the mindset of successful entrepreneurs and offer some exciting glimpses into what technology can do for us.

Shark Tank billionaire gives advice to young people.

Buy less shit so you won’t be tied down to things and can live the life you want”. Chris Sacca was one of the early investors in companies like Twitter, Instagram and Uber, so this billionaires refreshingly anti-materialistic attitude driven by soft values was a welcome change from attitudes prevalent in the  business world.

Sacca also called Finland’s free education system a huge competitive advantage and praised the value of liberal arts degrees. He was also clearly impressed with the main stage pyrotechnics!

VP of Tinder on the shallowness of networking

When you go to an event, don’t try to make 50 contacts. Instead try making 5 friends”. Young Silicon valley superstar Ankur Jain did not like the concept of networking, and the fact that people’s first question to others is often “what do you do?”

This question makes you feel like you are being assessed for your value to the asker, not for who you are as a person. That’s quite insightful coming from a 26-year old who would definitely impress everyone with HIS answer to “what do you do?”

Tesla Motors and SpaceX board member is the most down-to-earth investor in the world

Us investors should mostly act as cheerleaders to the companies we invest in“. Steve Jurvetson, who sits on the board of  companies like Tesla Motors and SpaceX, came to our Speaker Studio after an impressive keynote, and talked a lot about how investors often exaggerate their contributions to startups.

He even mentioned an unnamed company that prides itself in being the “first VC to invest in Apple”, while conveniently omitting the fact that they pulled all their funding well before Apple went public. He was an incredibly humble guy and we all have tremendous respect for him.

Jamie Siminoff on how not focusing on profit made a company profitable

When we started focusing on our mission instead of profit, profits followed soon after”. Jamie Siminoff is the founder of U.S startup Ring talked about the ups and downs of being a serial hardware entrepreneur.

His struggling startup was about to go under, but when their experiment done with LAPD became a national news story (in summary, installing their doorbells in a neighborhood dropped burglary rates by 50%), things changed. Their mission of making homes safer proved to be their success (Ok, the 28 million investment from Richard Branson probably helped too).

Risto Siilasmaa talks about a technology-driven approach to completely revolutionize healthcare.

It’s about promoting and maintaining health, rather than treating sickness”. Medical startups had a large presence at Slush, and we heard similar sentiments throughout the day . Nokia recently acquired  digital health wearable Withings, and hearing about Risto’s  vision on the future of digital health made us feel a bit less worried about growing old! See our full interview on the subject with the most successful tech entrepreneur in Finnish history below.




Tuomas Rantalainen

01.12.16 3 min. read


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