Readings Week 11

Easy one for this week. Just give me one thing (at least) that you found interesting or relevant from this week’s discussion and/or readings/video

As noted in syllabus, these include:

Read: Finish Briggs book

Give before you get by Brad Feld

Watch: TechStars at least one episode of The Founder’s Group

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11 thoughts on “Readings Week 11

  1. Lori Shull says:

    The most relevant thing I found was in watching one of the episodes of Tech Starters – the demo day episode. One of the mentors said, “Your companies suck, it’s okay. The numbers are anemic. You’re not trying to convince me that you’ve built a monster. You’re trying to convince me that you have a thing that can be a monster.” As we close in on our miniature demo day, the part I’ve struggled with the most was the numbers. What is reasonable? What is acceptable? What is realistic? We’ve all said it a million times – I’m a writer (in part) because I can’t do math. I always knew the financial side of this class was going to be the most difficult for me. It was reassuring to know that it’s something real entrepreneurs struggle with as well.

    I really liked Feld’s message about being a mentor (how can I help?) rather than an adviser (I’ll help in exchange for X). I think that message is so much more than just a message for the start-up community. Without getting too sappy here, I think that’s the best thing that’s happened as a result of social media. It used to be that a community was bound by geography – your block or your church or your school. Now it can be so much bigger, and I think that that culture we’re seeing of people helping each other on social media may be starting to filter back into the physical world. It’s just cool and it’s exciting to see really smart people (like Feld) saying that this is something everyone should do. It’s not a message that resides in kindergarten classrooms anymore. 🙂

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Good, Lori. I know the feeling – sometimes I feel like I’m just being sappy, but at the same time, seeing communities come together and use digital tools to help them do it can be pretty cool. And yeah – I think it’s not just journalists that struggle with the financial side of things…it’s really a process I think, with frankly some trial and error involved. And knowing how to leverage people that know more than we do.

  2. I’ll be honest, when I clicked on the Techstar link I intended on watching one or two videos. But then I just kept watching and watching. The most relevant and apparent thing to me was the passion you can easily see in the mentors. It is obvious that they love mentoring as much as entrepreneurs love being mentored. Brad Bernthal says that being a techstar mentor allows him to work with some of the most innovative minds in the world. “Allows” that word was refreshing. Notice that he doesn’t treat his students as if they are the ones that are lucky. He genuinely feels grateful to work with them. The more videos that I watched, no matter how different the mentors were they all had one thing in common: passion. This is why they are so successful. This is what entrepreneurship is all about. Surrounding yourself with other minds that love to think outside of the box and challenge their lives as much as you do. They don’t do it for the money and they don’t do it for the glory. They mentor because they love witnessing another individual’s success. And that is awesome.

    On a different note, in an Idea Maker video, Carly Gogle, founder of Ubooly compared start ups to a game of poker. I thought this was really neat. “I love to read people and take risks and I can almost relate individual hands to certain scenarios in our business.”

  3. Kimberly Exford says:

    Like Shelby Jo, I started watching the short Techstar videos and couldn’t get enough. I mean, before this class, I honestly never knew there were so many startups out there. Call me blind, but I guess I just never imagined it. And, the amount of work that these people (some of them just 20 years old!) put into them is crazy. The story that really intrigued me were the guys from Everlater. I mean, working Wall Street jobs and then just up and quitting so they could travel the world, then settling on opening a business together. “I mean, both of us had just had it with having 27 bosses above us.” I love that because I know so many people out there probably feel the same way. And I’d be willing to bet that many of them have great startup ideas. It takes a lot of courage to step out on your own like that, and I applaud all of them. I like the guys from Retel Technologies too. When they are giving the tour of their house, it really puts things into perspective for me as a viewer. I mean, one of the guys mentions that they have all gone without salaries for a year, and that they are pretty much just “coasting” trying to get money to eat and “trying to survive.” It really shows you how much work is involved with each of these startups and helps you to see why it would be so amazing for one to actually work out. Not just because of the financial aspect, but also because of the copious amounts of work put in by these guys.

    I think my favorite take-away from watching several of these videos would be when one of the guys compares running a startup to playing poker. He talks about some of it being luck, but that you can minimize that by “understanding the circumstances and giving yourself the best opportunities to be successful, and taking risks and being open-minded.” I absolutely love this!

  4. Nicholas Beshiri says:

    I think that the videos on Techstar were great examples of entrepreneurs who have been able to carve out a career doing what they love for a living. I watched three different episodes on the site, but the video about the company Cloudability was the one that I found the most interesting. You could see from the start of the video that the two running the company had a great relationship and formed a great partnership. It seemed like they would have had been friends for years, but they go on the explain that they met at a local entrepreneurship event. This just reinforced to me how important it is to have these types of meetings in local communities. Had it not been for these two participating in local events they would have never met and most likely Cloudability would have never come into existence.

  5. Andrew Doughty says:

    I enjoyed Brad Feld’s brief discussion about mentors and advisors. I’ve found that individuals, startups, students, companies love tossing around both terms because it almost adds a certain level of credibility…which it does but it’s more important what type of relationship that mentor/advisor has with you than the title.
    I liken it to a résumé . There are a lot of qualified and awesome applicants for jobs that have their résumé loaded with internships, professional experience, volunteering and references. While all that is fantastic, it’s important to distinguish between Experience and Relevant Experience. Companies are selfish during the hiring process, as they should be, therefore it’s important to know they want individuals that not only have those impressive résumés but also what’s deeper than the company names and titles. I think this is where mentors come in. Developing mentor relationships will allow young professionals to gain a different level of experience that can’t be explained on paper. I remember reading this article from Entrepreneur a couple of months ago that address the topic in a similar but more in-depth fashion as Feld:

    In one of the TechStars episodes, Paul Berberian says “Most people think being a mentor is all about giving but you actually receive quite a bit”. He’s not the only one preaching this concept but more mentors need to as well. It creates a refreshing level of confidence for young innovators that successful professionals appreciate where they’ve come from but it also encourages other professionals to be a part of the incredible things that other entrepreneurs are doing. As mentioned by Shelby and Kimberly, these episodes are fantastic. They’re feel-good, quick and motivating reminders of what people can do with the right idea, resources and votes of confidence.

  6. Cheryl Hayes says:

    Brad Feld’s “Give Before You Get” is his brief take on giving through mentoring. I enjoyed reading his post. In his post, he discusses being a mentor and points out that some mentors are actually an advisor. This is a great piece of advice and I think all individuals should make “giving back” a priority in their life each passing day. It is the most rewarding gesture to help someone else through mentoring. I believe we are all mentors in some form no matter the capacity of our position, or status. It should be our duty to share, or pass along some of the knowledge we have learned through life that helped us become who and where we are. Mentoring is a powerful action that has rewarding, long-term and life changing results. Even in my capacity, I know I am a mentor to my daughter as well as many of the faculty, staff and students that frequent my space. In turn, many of them can be seen as a mentor to me as I have learned so much from them as well. It is about gratitude and in my opinion, mentoring is an active means to express gratitude through helping others in some way.

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