Showing vs. Telling — for Startups

Dan Nelson
Jun 7 · 3 min read
Not my Image!

Every day for the last 18 months, I have spoken to someone about Grow Computer.

As Co-Founder & CEO, one of my key jobs is to sell the dream of what we are building and to convert any customers, investors, partners, family, and friends into believers who see our vision of how radically our product can change the world.

However, for these last 2 years, I have only been able to TELL people what we are working on. I could only explain what our product could be and what problems it could solve. Our product can be a bit esoteric and tough to understand for folks not in the space. Not to mention, I don’t always help matters as I have been known to mix metaphors and let our long-term ambitions cloud the reality of our near term opportunities.

We are an early-stage, bootstrapped startup, and one of the big struggles we have seen is the different speeds of progress between the business and technology sides of the company. It’s really easy for me to have conversations with prospective clients and claim that features will be ready and built, but it’s much harder to build the technology we are working on. We are entering uncharted territory on our development, and Monti and David are constantly figuring out and inventing new ways to make our platform a reality.

But, just this last week, something amazing happened!

We were at the 2-year birthday party for Agtech-x, and had just finished a software update on our first public grow, a hydroponic set-up at theirs (and Agritecture’s) office. For the first time since we started our journey, we were able to SHOW what Grow Computer has been building to a room of friends, farmers, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders.

While things weren’t perfect, Monti and I were able to show off our platform and it’s features to people who had only been previously told, and their reactions were great! In real time, we were able to watch the mental image of what people have imagined our product could do, meet the reality of what we had built, and got to watch and listen to their thought process and feedback through that journey.

It’s just the first step, and we have an endless list of tasks and projects to do, especially to continue to develop the product and our messaging. But for the first time, we have something exciting and promising to SHOW to people everywhere.

Our new confidence to show off our platform its perfectly timed, since in the next two weeks, we are going to one of the world’s largest indoor agriculture conferences in Amsterdam at the Greentech Conference, and then coming back home to Brooklyn to pitch to ‘the room where it happens’ at the IndoorAgtech Conference. Going into these conferences armed with a live product and some fun surprises we could not be more excited or ready for these opportunities.

P.S.- I was watching the NBA Finals yesterday, and heard this great quote by Jff Van Gundy: “NBA players don’t tell you that winning is important. They go out there and show you on the court that they want to win!”

Dan Nelson

Written by

Entrepreneur, Urban Agriculturalist, Virtual CFO

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