Top 20 Twenty Things You Need To Know From Day 2 of YPO Innovation Week

Top 20 Twenty Things You Need To Know From Day 2 of YPO Innovation Week

By Kevin Fallon and Dean Lindal

Kevin Fallon / Wednesday, May 11, 2016 / YPO Innovation Week

The morning started with an incredible Global Conference call with Jim Hornthall (WPO Northern California). Hornthall, who built the world’s first online travel agency, has invested in over 50 startups and been involved with Steve Blank (Lean Startup) in working with the National Science Foundation on accelerating the commercialization of technology to viable products.  Jim shared a number of very important items around the myths of innovation in terms of “Faith Based” innovation versus “Evidenced Based” innovation. Jim cited a process that he takes companies through using a business model Canvas created by Alex Osterwalder (

5 key insights from Jim Hornthall's presentation:

  1. If you have a new idea for a business startup or business idea, do not write a business plan or a business case. Get out of the office and go talk to 100 customers to gather validation and data first.

  2. Be agile and recognize you need to have thick skin when entering new startups or new products and be willing to have multiple pivots.

  3. When forming teams to innovate, have highly diverse teams that will come with a different set of pattern recognition.

  4. Study your partners’ Business Model Canvas so you know their customer segments and goals. From the studying of a partners’ Business Model Canvas you might find new customer segments you could attack together.

  5. When innovating and using an evidence based approach you are using different muscles from the ninja execution. Evidenced based innovation involves multiple pivots, being agile, getting outside the office and walking around.


Brett Wilson was next up today. Brett is an amazing WPOer who has built multiple companies and is regarded as one of the most successful Dragon’s Den Investors with capital deployed into more than 350 startups.  He is also one of the world’s leading philanthropists.  Brett shared his personal journey in business and from the show Dragon’s Den and then got into a very interesting interview style session with his personal coach. 

Top 5 insights from Brett Wilson's presentation:

  1. Philanthropy empowers him. Linking it to innovation is what he gets excited about.

  2. Contribution mind-set opens the mind up for new opportunities and new possibilities.

  3. Brett talked about the need for role models, mentors and coaches. 
  4. Putting your team into a pressure situation where they are challenged to come together is one of the best things to do.  It forces the team to figure out how to come together and unite.

  5. Gut check where you are at emotionally as the leader. How you are feeling is what will get translated to the team in the office.


We also saw the YPO Barbary Coast Chapter host one of the most incredible chapter events at the offices of YPO member Mariam Naficy of Minted. Naficy invented Minted’s unique, crowdsourced and curated marketplace model with the mission of building an e-commerce platform that continuously offers fresh goods across limitless categories.

Minted enables independent artists around the world to design original work, then provides them with an operations platform that handles fulfillment and customer service. Minted has raised $90M since launching in 2007 and is funded by Benchmark, IDG Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures as well as angel investors. 

Other speakers included Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired Magazine and author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. We were treated to demonstrations of 3D printing and various unique Maker movement products.  


Rocky Mountain WPO member, David Silverstein, and his team led six YPO owned companies through an intense innovation exploration session all day. Each Member company discovered phenomenal innovation opportunities. They ranged from a complete pivot into a new industry to a new methodology to transform sales.

The evening panel session was kicked off with a presentation on innovation in education by Colorado’s own Governor Hickenlooper. Colorado is working educational institutions and businesses to connect education certifications with job qualifications.

Top 5 insights from Denver:

  1. Think totally outside your core industry for potential business.

  2. When a third party innovation company asks you to think about something totally unrelated to your business, do it, don’t dismiss it - it could lead to something big.

  3. Instead of focusing on the HOW, spend more time thinking about the WHY.

  4. Focus on how the customer sees EVERYTHING.

  5. A shift in how to look at sales by focusing on innovation EVERYWHERE in the business can lead to potentially huge sales opportunities.


Here are the top 5 take-aways from Rich Riley, CEO of Shazam:

  1. Take the next step. Just identifying a problem and solution isn't enough.

  2. Focus more. Pick a handful of things that your company can be a leader in rather than have a 100 different properties. Don't be a mile wide and an inch deep.

  3. Spend a meaningful amount of time on the customer experience while still taking to time to make big swings. Just focusing on the big swings can be costly.

  4. Bots and wearables are trending because they remove friction from the user experience. The top companies in tech are obsessed with the user experience.

  5. Put yourself in an environment where age doesn't matter. The best ideas win.
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