This was my first year going San Diego's Startup Week and really didn't know what to expect. With 12 tracks and 200 plus sessions and social events happening every evening, this non-tech girl felt very out of place at first but by the end of the week I seemed to grasp the hang of it. Here are my 7 tips to survival:
1. DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT wear shoes that you can't walk around in all day.
Or at least bring a second pair for the evening. I put this one as number one because it drives me crazy; even on day one there was someone at the launch party that couldn't hang and she was left walking around barefoot. Not only was her outfit no longer complete (because shoes always count), you just look like an amateur. If you can't even plan your wardrobe appropriately how can you plan anything else. That may sound a bit extreme, but is it?
2. Find a home base.
After you finish the list you will understand why a home base is essential unless you like feeling like a sherpa or tortoise. This could be a friend's office, house, car, hotel or you can get creative. I drove my scooter down (I will get into that later) and used the storage as well as a locker at 24 Hour Fitness. If you are a gym member this is a great place to leave a change of clothes (if your gym has a locker room, just remember to bring a lock) and get freshened up for the evening social events without having to go all the way back home.
3. If you're not a good walker and don't want to pay for Ubers all day, then plan your transportation.
I'm an avid bike rider and also own a scooter but I ended up opting for the scooter so I could also use it for storage. The scooter was a great way to zip around downtown, park right in front and make it to all the sessions I wanted to. It was also a great way to get recognized; I had several people ask if I was the girl on the bright yellow scooter and how jealous they were. Which also gave me the idea that I need to add some Lynt stickers to the Vespa asap.
4. Make sure you are apparel ready.
I probably put more pressure on myself being the founder of a clothing company that claims to make the perfect product that can take you from your busy day to your social evening while still being comfortable and looking presentable. With that being said I'm very happy to say the Lynt lived up to the challenge. The only mistake I made day one was not bringing enough clothes for the cooler evening. Which brings me to my next tip.
5. Remember your jacket.
I know you're thinking it's June in San Diego, no jacket necessary, but that is a common misconception and growing up in San Diego has not made me the most tolerant person of cold. Since Startup Week takes place in Downtown San Diego which is right on the water, temperatures tend to drop at night. I didn't realize that a lot of the evening social events tended to take place outside.
6. Don't miss the Startup Crawl.
I was told that the Startup Crawl was the event that you didn't want to miss and they were right. Not only was it inspiring to see these other startups beautiful offices but to hear their stories as well. The Startup Crawl was also the easiest time to connect and meet with fellow entrepreneurs. You're divided into groups and spend the whole evening together touring each startup office while given pretty much unlimited alcohol.
7. Remember to eat.
Don't be that person who gets drunk too fast because you failed to refuel during the day. Some of the sessions are pretty much back to back with hardly enough time to get there and possibly use the restroom. The first day I barely survived realizing that at 5pm I had only had coffee and a bite of my friends salmon avocado toast from Halcyon. So the days to follow I made sure I always had an apple an a Kind Bar in my bag. But if you can manage to find a long break in your schedule then I would recommend going to lunch somewhere. Downtown is filled with awesome lunch spots. I still love going to Basic for a salad and a glass of Prosecco.
8. Super cheesy I know, but have some damn fun.
I had to remind myself of this near the end. I think the combo of the early mornings to late nights, alcohol consumption, meeting new people, learning so much and just running around trying to remember everything you wanted to attend can wear you out. I allowed myself to get overwhelmed from time to time but after reminding myself of everyone I met and how much I learned the week really was fun and you'll definitely see me there next year!