Let’s get one thing straight: Hustle Con is not for wimps. The tagline for Hustle Con: The Startup Conference For Non-Techies, only scratches the surface of what this conference is all about. A more appropriate introduction to the conference can be found on HustleCon.comHustle Con is a badass conference where the best non-technical founders (aka hustlers) teach how they got started and give practical advice on growing your startup. If you’ve heard of a hacker, well a hustler is its counterpart. Basically, it’s like a rock n’ roll version of TED, except not as hoity-toity. The catch? None of our speakers know how to code.

As you can tell from the description above, the Hustle Con team takes pride in challenging the status quo for conferences. They like to shake things up a bit, and so do the Hustle Con speakers.

While Hustle Con has a rock n’ roll attitude, this conference also has a serious mission, as described here by Sam Parr, who is a Hustle Con co-founder and also incidentally a hater of khaki pants:

We wanted to put on an event that taught real actionable stuff from people who actually founded a company, not some MBA professor who hasn’t ever started or run a business, or a VP at a company–we want real founders doing the talking.

The Forbes article, Hustle Con: The Startup Conference For Non-Techies, expounds upon Parr’s quote by explaining that Parr was drawn to the TED event format, but wanted it to be less uptight and more fast and loose, like a startup. He describes the feel of Hustle Con as “if TED and Coachella had a baby.”

The irreverent spirit that shapes this event is refreshing for a business conference, however the dynamic presentations are what make Hustle Con a truly thrilling conference.

My love affair with Hustle Con began a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a video recording of a Hustle Con presentation by Jack Smith, co-founder of Vungle. After watching Smith’s talk, I was hooked. I have now watched every Hustle Con video I can find.

If you enjoy talks by presenters who are so outside the box that they actually shredded the box and are now thinking outside of a megagon (a million-sided polygon) that they created for $5 and then sold to thousands of raving fans, then I think you should also check out some of the Hustle Con presentations.

Are you intrigued? Check out these Hustle Con videos, and prepare to be hooked:

#1. How to Contact Anyone on LinkedIn with the Co-Founder of Vungle

Summary: Jack Smith co-founded two $100m+ startups before he was 25 years old. Yeah – holy s*** is right. Shyp is an on-demand shipping company with $62m in funding and Vungle is a 100+ person mobile advertising startup with $25m in funding. In this Hustle Con talk, Jack shows exactly how he used LinkedIn advertising to land massive deals and get in touch with practically anyone.


#2. How Tim Westergren Went From $400k in Debt to the Founder of a Public Company

Summary: At Hustle Con, Tim explained how he went from $400k in debt to starting Pandora (even though he can’t code). Make sure to check out the part where Tim gives the pitch he used to convince 50 employees to work for free for two years. Tim Westergren is the founder of Pandora. I’m not gonna tell you what Pandora is because you already know. But did you know they have 81m monthly users, $900m a year in revenue, and 1,500 employees? Or that Tim was so broke the first two years that he couldn’t pay his staff? Talk about hustle…


#3. How To Get PR For Your Startup With Heidi Zak, the founder of ThirdLove

Summary: How do you get the best press at the right price for your startup? Heidi Zak, the founder of ThirdLove answers these questions in her Hustle Con talk. Heidi Zak is the co-founder of ThirdLove, a fast-growing brand that designs perfect-fitting lingerie, and has developed mobile sizing technology that empowers a woman to measure herself from home. Need to find perfect fitting bra? That’s what ThirdLove does. ThirdLove has $5.6m in funding. One of their investors is Nas. Yeah, the rapper.


#4. How a Solo, Non-technical Founder Started an 80+ Person Startup


Summary: At Hustle Con Arram Sabeti explained how to make decisions when you have too many choices and how he founded ZeroCater without a technical co-founder. Arram is the founder and CEO of ZeroCater. A true hustler, Arram took a low-level job at Justin.tv to gain experience. He created a spreadsheet to streamline the lunch-ordering process, quit his job, and started pitching with zero lines of code. ZeroCater graduated from YC in 2011, raised $1.5m (their only funding), and bootstrapped their way to profitability and 100 employees.


#5. How to Create an App Without a Technical Co-Founder

Summary: In this Hustle Con talk, Arum Kang, the founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, explains how to build your first tech company without a technical co-founder. Arum, along with her two sisters, is the founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, an immensely popular dating app. Prior to CMB, she worked at Avon Products and Amazon, leading efforts to understand consumer needs and behavior. She is a proud graduate of Harvard Business School. CMB has $11m in funding and recently denied a $30m acquisition offer from Mark Cuban while on Shark Tank (kind of).


For those of you who are like me and hope to one day attend Hustle Con, here’s the scoop:

When: May 13, 2016

Where: The Paramount Theater, Oakland, CA

How much: Hmmm…your guess is as good as mine. You can sign up here to be alerted when early bird sales start. Tickets are guaranteed to be less than $50,000 as mentioned in the What section below:

What: Hustle Con works like business school: you show up and are taught strategies for starting and growing your company. Except at Hustle Con you’re not paying $50,000 a year to attend. And you’ll actually use what you learn. And your professors have actually accomplished what they’re teaching. And you won’t wanna skip it. When you leave, you’ll be able to implement what you learned. But you might be hungover on Saturday, the day after Hustle Con. That’s your fault though. We’ve gathered the founders of the fastest growing startups to give 30 minute keynotes on actionable tactics for launching and growing your startup. You’ll learn how they got started, how they grew, and what they learned along the way.

And since the Hustle Con team encourages you to pretend they’re your ex and stalk them like crazy, here’s where you can find them:

Twitter@HustleCon

Facebook: Hustle Con

YouTube: Hustle Con


Conclusion: If you liked these videos, and share the wild spirit of the delightfully different Hustle Con conference, here are a few final lessons for you that come straight from the Hustle Con team in the form of the Hustle Con Code:

Do whatever it takes, be scrappy. Whole-ass a few things and focus. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Cause a lil’ ruckus. Go against the crowd. When in doubt, blast the Black Keys. Be authentic. 

You should also check out the Hustle Con content hub, The Hustle, where you can find articles such as:

Watch our startup recklessly blow through $500,000

Fancy Job Perks Won’t Make You Happy

How Much Money Do Startup Founders Have In Their Bank Accounts?

Additional Resources: Hustle Con is not everyone’s style, and that is okay. For those of you who prefer traditional conferences, check out these great events for business leaders:

Upcoming Conferences for Innovators and Leaders

Business Conferences (With Impressive ROI Potential)

Get Ready – Upcoming Technology Conferences

News and Updates from the 2015 TED Conference





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