How should an innovative startup (one with a great idea, but little moolah for a big booth or a wine and cheese party in a suite) make the most of RSA Conference? RSAC 2017 will be a lot more startup friendly than it has ever been. If you are an innovator, here is a checklist to navigate RSAC 2017:
Insights into New Trends:
Launching the experience early Monday morning, RSAC introduces the “How-to Series: Year One Innovators and Entrepreneurs” seminar, hosted by Ted Schlein, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and featuring talks on the VC outlook, what a CISO wants, and an Entrepreneur’s journey. This seminar sets the stage for Innovation Sandbox, an excellent forum where the brightest entrepreneurial minds present their solutions. Ten companies present and only one will win.
The challenge of picking the one that matters lies with judges: Asheem Chandra, Patrick Heim, Niloofar Razi Howe, Gerhard Eschelbeck, and Paul Kocher. While the judges have deep industry expertise and have made a number of security investments, it’s a tough task to pick one amongst ten, especially when all ten have the potential to make an impact on the cybersecurity world. I wrote about the 2016 RSAC Innovation Sandbox, and firmly believe incumbents and entrepreneurs alike can gain powerful insights by hanging out in this sandbox. Or gain some competitive intelligence. And a lot of VCs are easily accessible during this time. You’ll find most of them in the vicinity, talking to the disrupters.
Innovators + Incumbents = Progress:
When you have the best minds in the industry all in one location, it’s fertile ground. Every seasoned RSAC attendee knows that this annual gathering is about staying sane in a shouting, jostling fish market. So, stop thinking about ROI for your booth/badge, and think partnerships. The security market has a lot of innovative point solutions and very few, large vendors.
At RSAC 2017, there will be more than 550 exhibitors in the main halls and 40 startups in the Early Stage Expo located at the Marriott Marquis. All the “C” level decision makers will be there. Innovative startupscan explore partnerships with the likes of:
- Larger security companies seeking complementary offerings
- Cloud Service Providers
- System Integrators
- Consulting firms
- Defense Contractors
Think about how combined forces could accelerate growth, increase revenue, but most of all, improve the life of a customer. And some such partnerships could even lead to acquisitions at the right time.
We need innovation in selling!
Gone are the days of fear-driven sales. It's intellectually weak. We are all human beings and we dislike being sold to. We are not ATM machines where you push in your product brochure and expect money to pop out. If someone asks about your product offerings, just state the facts. Tell, don’t sell. Avoid jargon and most of all, avoid BS of all kind. RSAC is not about selling. The best security companies sell without fear-driven tactics, and offer insurance liability and red team tested guarantees for their product.
Remember the Purpose. Celebrate:
As a startup, if RSAC 2017 seems daunting, remind yourself that you are on the good side of the security business. A soldier in the digital battleground. And think of RSAC as one big reunion of security buddies. Seek out the stars, those accomplished people. They are all there! You protect our crown jewels and make us safe, and even more so, proud. Pause for a moment and celebrate the fact that you are a force for good in the digital universe. Drink. Laugh a while. Make more friendships. Try to help one another cross that chasm to a more secure digital world.