I attended a great Jumpstart Foundry event this evening at the gorgeous new Entrepreneur Center (which is amazing, by the way). I want now to take a moment to offer up a bit of advice to the startups in this years cohort – and for that matter, for startups everywhere. I had a big problem tonight speaking with the startups, and it was not until I was at home and cleaning up for the night that I figured it out – they tried to make me go all the way.
Detail — it is not my job to help you, it is something that I want to do and therefor I do it for free. But here is the thing, you have to want it more than I do. You see, I am a sucker for a great startup. I found myself rushing around trying to make sure I spoke to 3-4 of the different companies and made sure that I offered to make introductions, offer advice and to provide tidbits of information that might spark a meaningful thought and/or conversation. And even though they are already more than a month into the program, they did not follow the magical 90/10 rule from the movie hitch (video below).
The 90/10 rule, if you recall, is this: When you are out on a date with a girl, and you get the signal that it’s ok to give her a kiss, you don’t swing in and go 100% of the way to the lips. No. You go 90% of the way and wait, and let her come the last 10%. In my startup meetings tonight, that was not the case unfortunately. I felt like I was the one trying to convince the startup to pick me! I sought them out. I sparked the conversation. I barged in to meetings. I connected the dots between the ideas I was presenting and their business. I knew about them, and even though some had already connected with me on LinkedIn and had setup meetings with me digitally, they knew nothing about me.
Startups are hard, no doubt. They take a lot of effort, time and brain power. But founders – do NOT make your mentors, your customers or anyone else for that matter do 100% of the work. Just like that magical moment when you are green-lighted by the man/woman of your dreams to go in for the kiss the first time – make your mentors (or your customers) want to go the last 10%. Trust me, you want them to want you back.
For those who do not know me well, allow me to start with this: I have a list. This list is full of all the goals, large and small, that I want to achieve. Some are things like learning martial arts, or playing blues harp, or riding my motorcycle on a long road trip. Some are things like raise chickens, live off my own garden and make the world a better place – you just never know what’s going to be on the list. The idea is this: when something gets to the top of the list, you do it (or you put significant effort into figuring it out). Today we can mark “raise chickens” off the list.
Last month, on July 4th, we brought home our four little ladies (ages 10-16 weeks). Their names (from left to right): Cluck Norris (a cinnamon queen), Chicken Tetrazzini (a Salmon Faverolle), Nugget (a Welsummer) and Hen-rietta (an Americauna). Having had them a month, I can officially say they are growing to be a big part of our family. They are very low maintenance and will start producing eggs in about 8 weeks.
A few details for those of you who are interested (this is the significant effort part):
Amy and I are proud to be among the few city dwellers in Nashville to have our permit and be raising chickens near downtown. Soon we will be getting upwards of 4 eggs per day to go along with the fresh veggies from the garden. It’s been fun to have friends and family over to teach them about our chickens, and raising chickens in general. Im sure this is just the first part of our chicken story, but… another list item, completed!
On August 25th, 2011, the start-up accelerator I have spent the better part of the last year planning and working with is having their grand finale, the Jumpstart Foundry 2011 Investor Day! 6 companies were chosen and given 14 weeks, $15,000 and a hand picked group of 60 Nashville mentors (who are rock stars in their own right) to build their companies. Would you like to watch this awesome bunch of start-ups launch their companies right here in Nashville? Signup today to attend the Investor Day (limited seating, sign up fast)!
What can you expect to see? Well, I don’t want to give too much away (you can read a bit about the companies here), but let me tell you – this is an amazing bunch of entrepreneurs! We took submissions from companies all around the world to come to Nashville and work with the JSF. Over 100 applicants, 8 countries and 25 cities applied! It was hard to whittle down the list, for sure. Lots of reading, exchanging 100’s of emails, flying around for meetings, skype meetings, in person meetings, and lots of internal debate. Needless to say, I am absolutely amazed by the companies we chose and how far they have come in the last 13 weeks.
The JSF is in it’s second year, and last years start-ups are doing amazing things! Check out some of the following 2010 companies if you don’t believe me: Bizen, SourceYourCity and SplitSecnd (see them all here). This is what I consider to be a historic event for Nashville – 6 start-ups exploding out of an intense accelerator program, primed for investment!
Don’t miss your chance to attend Investor Day, get your name on the list today! RSVP Here.
As a final note, if you are a technologist, startup or entrepreneur looking for a way to accelerate your company, you should check out the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. If you are on the brink of a great startup idea and think the 2012 Jumpstart Foundry accelerator might be right for you – we will start accepting applications soon. Hone your presentation now!
I swear I have never been to the circus, but who knows… I have an awful memory. Truth is, I am going to be an awful old man. I am not going to be able to remember any of the cool things I did growing up. That is the point of this blog… to let you, my friends, have a peek into my life and to be a reminder as I get older of the things I have done.
Back to the point. The circus came to town here in Nashville and Amy found dirt cheap tickets. This thing had everything! Acrobats, high wire acts, tigers, fire, elephants dancing, clowns and so much more. It really was a blast and I am glad to have taken photos. They will remind me that I have been to the circus and that I should go again, because it was fun.
I will be doing a more in depth blog post soon, but wanted to get the photos out ASAP. Amy and I are moving back to Nashville, TN and these are the photos of us and our friends at the going away party. Enjoy :)