Sneaking into Techcrunch Disrupt 2016

I’ve been wondering if this is wise to post, but it’s too good a story of never losing the startup hustle. This is how I snuck into Techcrunch Disrupt 2016.

I was going to be in San Francisco in September attending a conference over 13/14 September. I noticed that Techcrunch Disrupt overlaps this and runs from 12 to 14 September. As a tech nut, multiple startup founder and general Techcrunch fanboy, I’ve been dying to go for many years. I couldn’t believe my luck!

All I needed was a one day pass

How hard could this be? A few weeks out I contacted Techcrunch via their website. Almost impossible to find the contact details but I persisted. I sent off a mail asking for a one day pass and … crickets… Nothing.

I tried again. Nothing.

I then resorted to Twitter and a general call out to everyone I know in SF and Australia.



Now it’s Friday before the Disrupt event. I reach out to friends at Techstars, Optimizely and friends of friends. Nothing. I’m told that security is strict and these tickets are tightly guarded and scarce as hen’s teeth. Now I’m getting worried. What if I’ve travelled all the way here and have this lucky coincidence and I can’t get in? Not Good.

Now it’s Sunday night. I’m tweeting for my life!

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12:04 AM — I surrender

Monday morning I hop out of bed, pop on my Inside Innovation T-shirt and jump in an Uber. I’m off to Pier 48 to get a closer look at this elusive conference.

Keep Moving

I arrive just after 10am. As I hop out the Uber I notice there’s lots of security and access control, but there’s a service door open on the front of the building on the left. Without thinking, I walk towards it and

I’m IN

I’m as surprised as I am delighted, and I remember the first rule of hustle.

Keep moving and stay confident.

I take a quick photo as evidence for myself, expecting a large hand on my shoulder any second. I head down to the back for a free snack and a delicious coffee. On my way down I make a note of where all the interesting stuff is that I must see before I get bust and thrown out on my ass.

Two hours later I’m still walking around and chatting to some amazing startups and great tech founders that I’m still working with. I even get to meet the revolutionary Pepper the Robot!


I thought I’d test my luck, so I approached a security guy and asked him to take a pic of me. He duly gave me the once over to confirm I was legit (I wasn’t — I was the only person in the room without a chest sized badge) and obliged.

After a few more laps, I asked another helpful security guy to point me to the merch to take back to the team at home, and he too obliged.

Silicon valley and the Pied Piper

By 12:30 I was done, and left for one more pic with the Silicon Valley Aviato Van and ugly Pied Piper jacket.

Flawless Victory!

A few lessons in here. Never lose the hustle. Take the opportunity as and when it presents itself. Immerse in the experience. Network like crazy. Every startup is a possible partner.

@Techcrunch Have a one day pass for out of town visitors. Answer your emails. Respond on Twitter.

Go hustle!

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