Inc. 500|5000 Conference by Nancy Heen

October 10, 2012 · By · Consulting, General, Puget Sound Business, Technology · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Fall with all it has to offer, including shorter days, colder nights, beautiful colors and the harvest of fresh and locally grown stuff!

As many of you know, Axelerate was one of this year’s recipients of the Inc.500|5000 Fastest Growing Companies. Their conference was last week (in Phoenix) and Farayi and I took the time to attend and receive our award in person. Overall, it was a good conference, filled with inspirational speakers, networking with other winning companies (including several Washington companies!) and opportunities to learn from others.

Some of the speakers I connected with the most were:

Chip and Dan Heath (brothers) – bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch. Their new book coming out in the Spring is called Decisive. They talked about how our brains are flawed instruments and sometimes our gut is not to be trusted. A lot of examples (some monumental!) were given and they talked about their 4-step process coming out in the book. We pre-ordered a copy of the book and it will be in the Axelerate library this Spring.

One of the best examples of a company that has a great blend of fun, hard work, and charitable work was Bert Jacobs, owner/founder of Life is good®. With just $78 bucks in the bank, brothers Bert and John Jacobs took their stick-figure mascot, Jake, and a slogan centered on positive-thinking (Life is good), and built a $100 million-dollar brand and for-profit and non-profit business. Bert reminded me of the Scooby Doo character, Shaggy (from a looks perspective) which also reminded me how important it is to not judge a book by it’s cover!

Guy Kawasaki is considered one of the top 50 most popular bloggers worldwide. His initial claim to fame is working at Apple for Steve Jobs in the 80’s. His new book is The Art of Enchantment. When artfully mastered, the power of enchantment enables you to maneuver through difficult decisions, break entrenched habits, defy the wisdom of crowds, and get those in your team to work for long-term, mutually beneficial goals. Much of his talk (and book) is about how to achieve likability and trustworthiness with clients and/or customers as well as those who work for you in order to overcome resistance and build a business that thrives successfully ever after. Again, we purchased the book and will have it available in our Axelerate Library.

The most memorable speaker for me was American astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, commander of the final flight of the NASA Space Shuttle program. He is also husband of the former Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords. Though Kelly is unlike anyone else at the conference, everything he’s gone through is entirely relatable. Like all of us, he dealt with stressful work environments, working to achieve major goals, and balancing home- and work-life. Kelly talked a lot about how to anticipate and accept change while reminding us that risk-taking teamwork, focused leadership, open communication, and family in an unwavering commitment are necessary to accomplish any mission.

Those were just a few highlights for me and I’m sure Farayi had others that inspired him. I think the most important thing I came away with is that we have a lot in common with other Fastest Growing Companies
. It takes dedication, hard work, and most important: a desire to do better for not just those involved in our everyday work but for our community.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with all of you.

Warm regards,

Nancy

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