Big Omaha & Cats

Already two weeks ago (damn, time flies when you’re having fun), I attended the Big Omaha conference in, surprisingly, Omaha. This conference has named itself ‘The nation’s most ambitious conference on  innovation and entrepreneurship’, so the expectations where pretty high. And, without spoiling everything, I think they did a very good job at meeting those expectations. Oh and off course I wasn’t there all by myself, I was supported by Leila, Eric, Michael and my man Dilip.

First of all, it is not a simple straightforward conference; all the stuff around the conference was organized into detail, beginning with the opening party on Wednesday night. The idea was not go give everyone a hangover so we would miss the following day, but it was a really nice change to meet all the people that where attending, and to pick up your badges, saving you costly coffee time next morning.


Anyway, the first presentation on Thursday morning (including hangover…), was given by Ben Hu, better known as the man behind the Cheezburger network, which is known from ‘I can haz cheezburger‘ and failblog. I expected him to talk about ‘lolcats’ and misspelled captions, which he did, but he also talked about his vision on the creation of content and media. Nowadays, we create more data in a single day, than that was created from the beginning of times until 2001 combined. Also, the ‘official’ media produces much less then 1% of the content every day, so we have to reinterpret our use and vision on media and content in general. Interesting view!

One of the best talks this weekend was done by Sarah Lacy, Techcrunch, about her new book. Well, actually it wasn’t really about the book, it was more about innovation outside the US, and how surprisingly clever and smart these can be (which is also what the book is about btw). She showed several innovations, such as a mobile mobile-phone signal station invented and used in India. This reduces the price per connection from tens of dollars to under 2 dollar per connection. She showed very clearly that it is stupid for the US to be so inward looking for innovation, there is so much going on around them. Highly recommend reading her new book: ‘Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the top 1% of Entrepreneurs profit from Global Chaos‘.

That evening we had a party @ the Slowdown, where The Hood Internet was spinning the records. Very nice combination of different tracks and very danceable. Together with our newfound friends Carlos Arellano (@carlosarellano) and Michael Roling (@michaelroling), and 3 stoned and drunk almost graduating college girls we showed the crowd how to party!


You thought cats couldn't get more awesome? You where wrong!

The morning talk was a real wake-up call, brought to us by Gary Vaynerchuck, talking about social media and its importance in your marketing strategies. Unbelievable how much energy this guy has and how he is able to transfer that to the audience, incredible.

Later that afternoon, Marc Ecko took the stage and gave a very interesting presentation about his vision on your companies message and how to convey that message to your customers. He managed to write a formula which describes these relationships and which can tell you if you are on the right way or not. Sometimes difficult to follow but he showed a very good understanding and almost philosophical view on running a business (Hate that I can’t precisely remember the formula right now, I’ll see if I can find it somewhere).

The last talk of the day was done by Bo Fishback, my former mentor at the Kauffman Foundation, who left the foundation to take the role of CEO of Zaarly, a hyper local, buyer driven marketplace. After Bo pitched this idea at StartupWeekend in California, he got 1 million investment from several high profile VC’s, including Ashton Kutcher, which made him decide to pursue this startup challenge. Over the past 2 months they have been working hard to be able to launch Zaarly last Tuesday, and over that period received offers for in total over 400 million in venture capital. I’m very curious about how Zaarly will be doing in the comming years, they did have a good start is the least I can say about it.

The party this night was @Nomad Lounge, where we enjoyed free beers, good conversation and a great photo session.


Dome of the larges indoor desert in the USA

Since we where in Omaha, we had to take the opportunity to see that famous zoo everyone was talking about. So on Saturday morning we headed out to see the largest indoor desert and the largest indoor jungle. The picture here on the right gives you an idea of the size of this desert. Inside they have a tour all the way through it, where almost every 10 feet you see another ‘desert’ animal. Very nicely done.
Same thing holds for the indoor jungle and the aquarium, very very nice facilities with a lot of different animals. I’ll post a load of pictures on facebook, it is a bit too much to put it in here right now. What I do want to show though is a movie of the aquarium.

And then cats! I like them, a lot. So here a load of pictures of the cats I have seen in Omaha’s zoo!

Keeping an eye on the public

Posing nicely

Hiding, but not quite

Proud kitty

Peacefully asleep