Keynote Speaker Highlights of Sage Summit 2016
After a whirlwind week in Chicago, I would have to say that Sage managed to host their best Sage Summit event to date! The week started out on Monday, July 25th with a day of events dedicated to Sage Partners and then followed with conference attendees joining in on Tuesday, July 26 – Thursday, July 28th at McCormick Place Chicago. The week was packed with some pretty amazing Keynote speakers from the start of the event up until the very end. Overall, I found the Keynotes to be very inspiring and the speakers to be very engaging. Here are the top 5 Keynote Speaker Highlights of Sage Summit 2016.
1. Sir Richard Branson
There could not be a better way to start off the first day of a conference than by getting to hear from Sir Richard Branson. As you’d expect, Branson managed to be very inspirational. He definitely had a sense of comfort being on a stage in front of a large audience and managed to speak with eloquence. I loved hearing Branson’s story of how his flight got canceled while at the airport, so he decided to hire an airplane and charge passengers to get them to their initial destination. This was the very beginning of the creation of Virgin Airlines. A favorite quote of mine Branson said during his keynote when referring to starting Virgin Airlines out of a simple idea was, “You can take on these goliaths if you have a quality product & differentiate yourselves,” said Branson. As he began to speak about working with employees over the years, Branson also mentioned an important concept for engaging with employees, “If you praise people, they will blossom”.
2. Gwyneth Paltrow & Zooey Deschanel
On the second morning of Sage Summit, we had the pleasure of hearing from Gwyneth Paltrow & Zooey Deschanel. Both actors spoke of transitioning from the acting world into creating their own online businesses. Paltrow is famously known for her website Goop, while Deschanel created a website called Hello Giggles. The two spoke of how they started their businesses and discussed the brand images they look to have the companies portray. It was quite inspirational to see two women on the stage that succeeded in their business endeavors.
3. Ashton Kutcher
One of my highlights from the event was having the chance to listen to the Keynote with Ashton Kutcher & Yancey Strickler. Those who were only familiar with Ashton Kutcher’s work as an actor on shows such as “That ‘70s Show” or “Two and a Half Men,” mentioned they were quite impressed in hearing about his experiences in venture funding. Kutcher has previously invested in companies such as Airbnb, Spotify, Flipboard, and Uber. Kutcher co-created two venture funds, A-Grade Investments and Sound Ventures. The man came across as a visionary, yet added just the right amount of humor to the keynote.
4. Yancey Strickler
Yancey Strickler spoke on the keynote panel with Ashton Kutcher. Strickler is cofounder and CEO of Kickstarter. Having previously worked as a music journalist, it was interesting to hear about Strickler’s path to founding Kickstarter. He emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with smart people to get advice from and making sure to listen and learn from others. Strickler himself has supported over 2,000 campaigns on the Kickstarter website. Kickstarter, has now been able to create over 300,000 jobs to date from its website.
5. Robert Herjavec & Daymond John
Robert Herjavec and Daymond John, stars of the hit show “Shark Tank,” had so much value and insight to share on what it is like to start a business. These two businessmen each shared their stories on how they came to be successful, what it was like start from humble beginnings, and how they built their empires from the ground up. They reminded us how important it is to have the right people on your team and the right technology backing up your business. Roberts key advice, “When the pain of your current situation is unbearable you’ll change,” in reference to his guidance on always moving your business forward with a vision in mind. Both influencers left the crowd rich with new knowledge and motivation.
Written by Leah Weston, Marketing Manager at DSD Business Systems