Seeing the Peak and Navigating the Path: An Inside Look at ICONIQ Ascent 2023
October 24, 2023
Earlier this month in Healdsburg, California, ICONIQ Growth’s extraordinary community of CEOs, founders, and luminaries gathered for ICONIQ Ascent, our first portfolio company conference where we explored how to navigate the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship, celebrated where we are and where we’re going, and found inspiration and ideas to fuel our continuing journeys. Over three days we connected with one another to exchange insights that drive action and fostered new relationships in ways that only come from spending meaningful time together. We were inspired by global visionaries on topics like the next era of AI, the science and wisdom of world-class leaders, how to create customer loyalty through uncommon care, and so much more:
In an “Ask Me Anything” session with Bret Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Sierra and former co-CEO of Salesforce, participants were eager to hear his views on topics as diverse as the pluses and minuses of proprietary AI models, the trials and tribulations of leadership, the complexities of pricing, product-led growth, and the most effective way to sell through listening.
Will Guidara, restaurateur and author of Unreasonable Hospitality, reminded us that thoughtfulness and human connection are more valuable to customers than anything else.
Olivier Pomel, co-founder and CEO of Datadog, revealed some of the unconventional ways he built his company, including growing fast by experimenting in small increments; building teams from the bottom-up; and bringing together groups of people who typically did not work together, such as developers and individuals from operations.
Alex Gorsky, former Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and Jennifer Aaker, author and behavioral scientist at Stanford Graduate School of Business, discussed the physicality of leadership, vulnerability, levity, public pressure, and why storytelling is a superpower.
The promise and pitfalls of AI were laid out before us in an interview with Mustafa Suleyman, CEO and co-founder, Inflection AI, and co-founder, DeepMind, conducted by esteemed technology chronicler John Markoff, formerly of the New York Times.
May Habib, CEO and co-founder of Writer, and Alex Pall, co-founder of the Chainsmokers, discussed the ways in which we are all learning to partner with technology, including AI, to amplify human creativity.
And finally, Will Griffith, Partner at ICONIQ, shared our current perspectives on the market.
As we all know, the entrepreneurial path is not an easy one. There are many things that leaders can control, many we cannot, and an unending series of trials and tests. It is not a smooth path up but it is so gratifying when you can see the peak in sight. We are grateful to the ICONIQ Growth community for partnering with us in ascending that mountain.
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