4 lessons I learnt from Techstars
Working at Techstars is an amazing opportunity. You meet incredibly talented people, experienced mentors, and inspiring speakers. You have access to people you would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Intensity is the key word and we associates get caught up as well.
As associates and hackstars, our role is to give a hand for the team during the programme and we can participate to workshops and listen to the founders’ talks. And for an aspiring founder, it has a special value. You want to squeeze every bit of it to grow your own project. For me coming to work for Techstars London mean taking a break from my day to day struggle and meeting new people to get a new perspective on my own project.
What is your takeway?
That was the first advice of Tak Lo, Techstars London director for us hackstars and associates. When you meet exceptional people, be active. Summarise what you just learned. Decide if you will apply it to your project or not.
My goal is to learn as much as possible during the day, and grow my startup at night. Advice mentors give the companies is bits of wisdom I take for my project. Sometimes it is things I already heard. Sometimes it is even things I said to fellow entrepreneurs. But I needed to hear it with the right timing from someone I listen to.
Don’t try to act like someone else.
That advice had the biggest impact on me as that would be my biggest weakness. (Un)consciously, I got caught in an act to resemble people I thought had “better chances” to succeed: people that are extrovert, aggressive in business, networking every night. When you act, your interlocutor feels that something is off with you. So he won’t trust you.
With Techstars I met very different profiles of entrepreneurs: young, experienced, one time entrepreneur now VC, multi-entrepreneur, product guy, single founder. There is no ideal skillset to build an enterprise. Good X, bad Y, harder because of Z, whatever: get things done. Now. No excuse.
It is Techstars’ motto and that is what we are doing. Associates are here to help the accelerated companies to grow faster and in the meantime we grow tight relationships with the people we work with. The deal is that companies are in a safe space where they can trust people, and we develop skills.
I am a lucky one because I already received back: one founder guides me through a crucial step for me (finding a collaborator) with valued advice and experience, and a mentor sat with me and gave a great worth of insights that light up new paths for me to explore. We are part of the big family.
I tend to overthink, to analyse problems and solutions. I like to build strategies and plan scenarios; that was my job as a consultant. As a founder, it is not as important as one would think. Identify metrics and go talk to people. Try, fail, change and try again. Teachings are stronger when coming from customers.
There is so much to do, don’t strategize too much and sleep faster.