Episode 27: Monetery Recap and Workplace Culture with Ben Milne
Ben Milne, Founder and CEO of Dwolla, recently spoke with Greater Des Moines Partnership Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Mike Colwell, on the success of Monetery and workplace culture at Dwolla.
This past May, Dwolla hosted Monetery, the premier tech summit in the Midwest, that played host to keynote speakers and more than 100 one-on-one meetings between venture capitalist and innovative startups. The conversations took place at Dwolla’s headquarters in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) where every meeting room was full for days. These investor one-on-one meetings were based in a structured format where there was an expectation to discuss raising capital and investing capital.
Feedback from Monetery has been powerful and positive. Milne commends his team for their great work and for pushing through the challenges they faced when planning and organizing the event. With such a great response from the tech community, all signs will likely lead to Dwolla making the community investment to host Monetery again next year.
In addition to recapping Monetery, Milne also discusses the importance of being inclusive and how the effects of exclusivity can negatively impact a work environment. Milne thinks about the Internet as a whole and serving everyone in the world. He believes if you bring that opinion into the workplace, you are going to build a better product. Thinking globally allows for an inclusive work environment that allows an organization to truly evolve and thrive.
In speaking of culture, Milne also talks about the importance of making mistakes. He mentions that there is a societal pressure that if you make a mistake, you are a failure. If you are going to invest in the future, you are going to fail so concentrate on the experience and the experiment. Focus on your customers and mentors and talk to people who care about you and what you want to accomplish.
When asked, Milne will tell you he has hundreds of mentors including the team at Dwolla, coaches and customers who guide him every day. He does have about 10 people who are close, trusted advisors, the most important being his wife, Jamie. Milne's mentee advice to others: be coachable and have an openness to listen and trust others.