a conference for entrepreneurs and corporate innovators

Tuesday May 23, 2017

San Carlos, CA




In aviation, there are four forces that affect things that fly:


Thrust - the force that propels a flying machine in the direction of motion.

Drag - the force that acts opposite to the direction of motion.

Weight - the force of gravity.

Lift - the force that acts at a right angle to the direction of motion through the air.

In a start-up, thrust is provided by capital (monetary such as revenue/cashflow and investment capital and human/intellectual capital). The opposing horizontal force, or “drag”, is created by limited resources and the competitive forces targeting your customers and employees as well as alternatives/substitutes and new market entrants.

Weight, a fact of life, conspires against conventional flight much the same way that the Normal Distribution illustrates the likelihood of the success of a start-up. Entrepreneurs start companies despite knowing that 9 in 10 start-ups will fail. Lift, the opposing force, is created by a company’s differentiation and the team’s execution and commitment (along with a little hubris and perhaps ignorance).

If these opposing forces are not equal, then you will certainly crash. And if you are flying in the clouds, without a visual reference to the natural horizon (which is what it’s like in a start-up most days) then attention to detail is even more critical because if you aren’t careful, your nose will drop below the horizon and put you into an inverted dive.  Flying upside down is not intrinsically hard, but sooner or later it must come to an end.

Entrepreneurs have an immense capacity to be optimistic and to ignore obstacles, risks and doubt. A good entrepreneur, like a good pilot, learns how to fly straight and recognize which way is up. And, once you can maintain straight and level flight, then you can soar higher and faster.

To help entrepreneurs and corporate innovators maintain "level flight" and to soar "higher and faster" we have brought together, in one place, for one day, some of the leading thinkers, dreamers and artists to inspire, demonstrate and share their practical, authentic and actionable advice and life lessons.


Why Attend?


Flying Upside Down is a full-day event designed from the ground-up to deliver real startup stories and guidance from leaders that have been there. The highly curated lineup of speakers will tackle every stage of the journey, from high-level strategy to tactical execution. Discover new mental models for navigating in the clouds and real insights to put in motion tomorrow.




AL RAMADAN, Co-author, Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets

How to be a category king - the science behind the strategies that innovators use to create and dominate product markets.


LT. COL. ROB 'WALDO' WALDMAN, Author, Never Fly Solo  

Waldo is a decorated combat fighter pilot and an expert in helping leaders and organizations accelerate performance in changing environments.

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GREG McKEOWN, Author, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.


AMY WILKINSON, Author, The Creators Code 

The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs


MATT MUNSON, Co-Founder, Twenty20

How I Burned 10 Million Dollars So You Don’t Have To


ACACIA LEROY, Asia Pacific Trend Strategist, TrendWatching

Asia: Disruption 101                                            


Talla is an A.I.-powered Service Desk platform for use in Slack and Microsoft Teams. Rob also writes Technically Sentient, the most popular A.I. newsletter online. 



Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist and Executive Director of Sir Richard Branson's Extreme Tech Challenge


SPIROS MICHALAKIS, Quantum Physicist, CalTech 

Moving science forward, often against seemingly insurmountable obstacles

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JEN HOLMSTROM, Head of Talent, GGV Capital, previously Facebook 

How to create high-performing management teams and winning cultures


NORMAN WINARSKY, Author, If You Really Want to Change the World

Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures

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GEOFFREY CLAPP, Healthcare Entrepreneur 

He talks about his time at Apple and writing code and all that, but the only thing he's really been successful at is healthcare.



Technology leader with decades of experience building and growing products, brands and teams.


ANGUS DAVIS, Founder, Upserve (co-founder TellMe)

Flying Lessons - the most important and relevant lessons from flying


JACCO VANDERKOOIJ, Author, Blueprints of a SaaS Sales Organization

Winning By Design - Make How You Sell as Important as What You Sell

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KEVIN TALBOT, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Relay Ventures

Pilot, entrepreneur, venture capitalist

More speakers to be announced in the coming weeks! 

*Speaker lineup is subject to change


Hiller Aviation Museum

601 Skyway Rd,

San Carlos, California 94070




Previous Speakers