My meeting with one of the smartest startup actor in the world: Mark Suster

In Startup Learnings by Sébastien FluryLeave a Comment

End of October, I had the chance to participate to the Dublin Web Summit. The event has grown up to reach around 10’000 attendees, and yes, it was extremely crowded and it was tough to get a seat at least to see the talks of the prominent speakers. And being online was just impossible for most people, and that’s really a pity (a Web Summit without… web connexion! But that’s common to almost every big conference!).

Before my trip, I was a bit doubtful about the possibility to talk to the speakers right after their presence on stage, as so many people attended the event. But my doubt disappeared quickly. It’s just a matter of tactic!

I made the trip to Dublin especially to have the chance of seeing Mark Suster live. And hopefully meet and greet him! Mark is a 2x entrepreneur (second startup sold to Salesforce), Partner of Upfront Ventures and blogging on famous Both Sides of the Table.

After his talk (I really encourage you to watch it above!), I was on the alert to catch him leaving the stage (well, I’ve chosen my seat strategically (…)). After waiting in line for a few minutes, I seized the opportunity to talk to Mark. It can seem strange as it was a one-to-one meeting, but I had the same feeling (“butterflies in my stomach”) as before going on stage. You know, I consider Mark as one of my mentor for years (I told him just that) even though I had never met him before. I’m an absolute fan of his blog (go visit it now and start learning!) and I have the impression that I know him as an old friend. I’ve learnt so many things from him, and you really feel on his blog that he’s a passionate (a startup(ah)olic?). He really knows what he’s talking about and you live the entrepreneurial mind behind every post. He also modestly shares tips and tricks to make you improve yourself.

My first goal was to thank him for sharing his experience on his blog. Check!

And secondly, I’ve seized the opportunity to pitch him my startup, Coteries. It came quite naturally as he asked me what I was doing. It was quite a magical moment as he understood extremely quickly what we are doing (developing the future of the CD: mobile apps to empower artists better engaging their fans). And he liked it! And did something that I’ve never seen until now (in more than 5 years in the European startup ecosystem): he made me an email introduction live to someone (let’s keep a bit of mystery here!) he’s working with! Have you ever experienced this in Switzerland, for instance? As an entrepreneur, you meet a lot of guys telling you they will introduce you… but who never do it. Impressive. Even more impressed that the contact followed up a dozen minutes after. It’s probably Californian way of doing business (hey, Swiss and European people: take it as an inspiration!) and that’s just… GREAT!

Mark also has the honesty of telling me that “as often in life, probably nothing will come out of it. I can’t promise you anything”. He did the job. Quickly. Was honest. To coin it: smart. That’s really helpful for entrepreneurs!

I’ve spent almost 10 minutes with Mark and… that made my day and my trip to Dublin! I thanked him for the introduction and for the time he gave me… and placed that this meeting was the first dot (go read this post to understand)!