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Startup group to host weekend event

Accelerator program announces approval for 54 hours to share ideas,build products and create startup

Posted: July 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 26, 2012 6:48 p.m.

Craig Duswalt, owner of RockStar System for Success, pumps up attendees with a T-shirt giveaway.

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SCV Startup introduced its members to out-of-the box marketing techniques Wednesday and announced the group has been approved to hold a Startup Weekend event in Santa Clarita on Oct. 5.

Uniting startup enthusiasts, developers, coders, designers, marketers and product managers, the 54-hour weekend events hosts creative, hands-on teams that share ideas, build products and literally create startups.

“We are aiming for 40 to 45 participants in Santa Clarita,” said Brian Tippy, co-founder and CEO at ArtzBridge Inc. “There are many (people) from L.A. interested in coming up here for it.”

Organized by SCV Startup, a local mentorship-driven accelerator program to launch high-tech startups, the weekend event will be facilitated by Seattle-based Startup Weekend. The nonprofit, with support from the Kauffman Foundation, assists with formation of Startup Weekends in some 130 cities.

Erick Arndt, founder of SCV Startup, and Tippy recently attended a startup weekend in Los Angeles to get a feel for how the event unfolds. The two are organizing the upcoming local event.

To their surprise, in the hours between Friday and Sunday night, startup companies went live and had paying customers by Sunday night, Arndt said.

“It’s like a geek Woodstock,” he said.

Also speaking at the Wednesday night gathering, Craig Duswalt, owner of RockStar System for Success, said the most successful entrepreneurs he’s met are the ones who have lost a job, or are about to lose their house or job, because they’re motivated to succeed.

“If they don’t make it work, they don’t make money and they won’t eat,” Duswalt said.

Describing his technique of “funneling,” or linking all marketing efforts together, Duswalt shared numerous tips for success in marketing.

Drawing on his background touring with rock bands Air Supply and Guns N’ Roses for years, Duswalt told the entrepreneurs that finding the right branding and differentiating yourself from the competition in creative ways are key to a startup’s success.

“Incorporate who you are into the brand,” he said.

Duswalt’s success in marketing and teaching others how to do so effectively wasn’t nearly as successful for him until he connected his expertise with how he was identified as a person, he said.

Wearing a suit and looking like a conventional business person just didn’t fit him — the former personal manager to lead singer Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses. Once Duswalt incorporated his “rock star” identity into what he did best, business took off.

He also told startup founders to think way outside the box when marketing and to differentiate themselves in ways apart from their brand, product or service. Leverage the smallest and most creative opportunities and link them to your company, Duswalt said describing how he has used photos and videos – some not even tied directly to his company – to draw attention.

“Guns N’ Roses wasn’t just another rock group,” he said. “Their mission statement was to be the ‘baddest boys’ in rock ‘n’ roll.”

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