What is a hustler?

“Birthdays was the worst days, now I sip champagne when I’m thirstay…”

“Birthdays was the worst days, now I sip champagne when I’m thirstay…”

Hustler can mean a lot of things. For many people, it’s a pejorative term.

In the 1993 rap hit, “Juicy”, Biggie Smalls talks about how he was forced to hustle on the streets in order to support his baby daughter. So for some, a hustler is a criminal.

When I was in third grade playing soccer, my coach used to scream at me to show more hustle during practice because I was so lazy. This is my personal negative association with the term, of being forced to hustle at soccer practice when I could have been at home playing video games on Saturdays (I had different problems than Biggie).

But today I love the word hustler. In fact, it is one of the greatest compliments I can give to someone. In the startup world, a hustler is someone who doesn’t let fear get in her way. Even when she’s in over her head, lacking a certain skill or network, she puts her head down, learns what she needs to learn, and succeeds no matter what. This is a resourceful character trait that I look for in all people I want to do business with.

Last year, Elizabeth Yin approached me with the idea of putting on a conference called Hustle Con. We designed an event to target non-techies who wanted to start tech startups and attracted several amazing speakers to share tactical skills on starting and scaling businesses.

We seemed to have struck a chord with our event last year. It sold out, and we discovered that indeed there are many non-techies out there who have ambitions to build great tech startups, even when tech skills or a tech co-founder is not present from the get go.

Liz and I thought that Hustle Con would be a one-time event, but earlier this year we met a remarkable hustler named Sam Parr, who sold us on the idea that he should become the executive producer for a second event. Sam, who is a non-techie with one acquisition under his belt already, totally convinced us that he could do it bigger and better; I’m pleased to announce that he is leading the next Hustle Con for August 1, 2014.

Sam has lined up an incredible set of non-techies founders who will teach detailed tactics on sales, marketing, growth, prototyping, and more. Again, the focus is on tactics—this is not a TED conference where some industry luminaries scratch their beards about the future of technology. No, there are going to be practical talks on how to actually build great companies. If you want to get a taste of what Hustle Con will be like this year, check out last year’s videos, which are now available for free with over 2,000 students as of this writing.

Here are some of the speakers that will be showcased at this year’s Hustle Con:

  • Rick Marini, Founder of Branch Out and Tickle
  • Jess Lee, Founder of Polyvore
  • Hiten Shah, Founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg
  • Aarthi Ramamurth, Founder of True & Co. and Lumoid
  • …and many other great speakers

For more info, check out the Hustle Con website. Tickets are on sale now and the event is happening soon, on August 1, 2014.

You probably have a great idea for a startup right now. No more excuses. It’s time to start hustling to make it happen.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: If you sign up for the event, be sure to use the discount code: eric. I’ve been told that my readers will get a surprise discount!]

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