Antler Week 2

  1. Objectively ensure they were problems that markets faced;
  2. Break the problem down into its constituent parts; and
  3. Develop small tests on solutioning the problem in ways that validate an investable-enough market
  1. Founders feel like they’re going the journey alone and want emotional support
  2. It’s too expensive and time consuming for boutique consulting firms to do client discovery
  3. Small businesses and startups need a more effective (guaranteed) way of getting funding
  1. Problem 1: Get 100 Founders to complete the form to test my underlying 3 assumptions.
  2. Problem 2: Conduct 50 interviews with boutique consulting firms to identify if they’d use a software to conduct their Discovery interviews/assessments.
  3. Problem 3: I realized I was still using a previously developed solution of a ‘stock market for entrepreneurs using blockchain technology and incentivizing entrepreneurs with consultants pitching them’…and decided not to go down this path for a variety of reasons…including me just using a past bias to put a solution on a problem.

Day 10

As I reflect on the day, I’m feeling really grateful. I’m being cognitively challenged, I’m engaging with some really great minds, the city’s energy is lifted — it’s a great feeling. Now let’s unpack what’s driving that for today.

  • When the pressure is on, focus yourself and rise to the occasion. Hop the circumstance.

And anyone who wants to step up to the plate can get it.

Next Train of Thought. “Choo choo”

I’ve Mentally Pivoted, but Physically am still Hesitant

  1. I’ve been building a Machine-learning based consultant for small businesses. The challenge I thought I was facing was that I was too unfocused — there’s no central problem that I was solving. Why? Because the quintessential job of a consultant (whether they know it or not) is to ask the right questions, and based on those questions, ask smarter and deeper questions. It is from there that they can formulate insights about a business and contextualize that against personalities, culture, and goals; and create a ‘framework’ for success that they either develop and pass off or help execute. That’s too general.
  2. Yes, that’s a challenge, however, deeper than that is the problem of ‘Intellectual Capital’. We know that small businesses and startups are undercapitalized. However, most people view ‘capital’ as linear — financial. The subtle reality is that capital is a two-sided coin and on the other side of that coin is ‘Intellectual Capital’.
  3. If you put yourself in the position of an investor and 10 startups approach you asking for money — and assuming you have that money — all things being equal, how confident are you in that those startups know how to invest that capital into infrastructure, technology, personnel, etc.?
  4. Intellectual capital directs financial capital, and most information sources that are directed towards entrepreneurs are commodities. We’re not actually evolving intellect and execution, we’re patternizing intellect — and that’s a rabbit hole of failure in the bad sense.
  5. Our minds have to evolve — to build better businesses. Otherwise, that intellectual chasm gets wider and it could create a permanent underclass like we’ve seen in socieconomically distressed economies. More on that later.
  6. My point: it’s too early for this model.
  7. So let’s zoom out. The core challenge with the business that I was building prior to Antler was that small business owners focus on the former side of that coin. I recognize that in order to scale that business — people actually have to take the advice that our algo’s deliver to them — but doing that and measuring it inhibits our ability to grow.
  8. Mentally — I’ve pivoted into a different but adjacent marketplace, but physically, I still built a beta product that would test around the original thesis…plus two other betas we’re testing next week. You can see the need to focus — but testing these assumptions in this sense has been helpful.

Day 11

It’s Day 11 but I’m reflecting on Day 12. If I could sum it up in words that don’t need to be said the way I’m about to say them — the day was one of programmatic clarity.

The First Two Weeks

  • This is a chance for Founders to unpack their ideas, clear up their biases, reflect on the thinking (and execution) that has brought them here, engage with other Founders, have their 1-on-1’s, and achieve some sort of cognitive clarity around the core problems they’re solving.
  • Core insight: it’s okay to feel a bit scattered after these two weeks, which are meant to shake the foundation so you can build a more structural one.

The Second Two Weeks

  • “Relentless execution” begins to settle in. At this stage, you’re likely building a few test products, or at least testable hypotheses that you can execute on in very minimal ways. You’ve already engaged in customer interviews, but are expanding on that to really dive into the solution set. The job here is not to create new features of your product — but to create new insights about what features deliver on a unique insight. There’s a really key difference there.

The Last Two Weeks

  • This is where “relentless execution” is supposed to show itself. It’s honing in on what are the repeatable actions you’re taking to prove out your hypotheses or at least the actions that show you how to course correct. From the initial talk with Malcolm Wiley — he referenced their pivot against the backdrop of “it was taking us too long to learn.” Here is where I think Antler is trying to tease out — how fast are people learning and adapting to those learnings and insights along the way.

Day 12

I let out a deep breath before starting this one. Today…was a day. In one sentence:

  1. Sacrifice our own agendas for the sake of the team;
  2. Create humor through simplicity; and
  3. Build story through limited data sets.
  • A few of us ‘Shark Tank’ style pitched our businesses and pivots to each other, which led to this really interesting (read: impactful) set of feedback. What I valued about the feedback was that it was contextual — no one (absent me) just said: here’s what I think you should do.
  • Everyone else said: here’s my reflection, my perspective, and what I think you should do. That type of feedback speaks volumes about understanding the person — where they are — and where they should be headed.
  • The model for Venture Capital is broken and a more globally integrated system of supporting early stage founders that translates into better late stage deals can help shift it towards the right direction. More insights here from Jeff, but I think you should join Antler and ask him yourself if you’re interest.

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