The Importance of Education in Startups

Whenever you hear the word startup, the word mentor is often not far behind… From my very first encounter with this crazy world of startups I’ve been introduced to mentors as well.

Over the last year I’ve heard the term mentor so often that I have almost developed an aversion for it. If somebody calls himself a ‘startup mentor’ on his linkedIn or Twitter I instantly start doubting it… Which is not always fair, but sadly the truth.

I know for a fact that I’m not the only one that feels this way… There are a lot of people who work at early stage startups that feel the same. I’ve joked about it at many startup drinks and events…

It’s really is a shame that we think that way… No… actually it is truly sad. Because one of the most important things that ‘we’ (the crazy people that try to build these almost impossible companies) need is education… We need to learn how to do things, we need help, guidance, we need to be pointed in the right direction… Without help we’re hopeless.

Today I attended a workshop in Amsterdam about Facebook advertising. A 3 hour deep dive into the nitty gritty world of ads, remarketing and conversions. Real hardcore stuff… I loved it!

It made me realise how important education is for people like me, or anyone working in an early stage startup for that matter. Our teams are small and we cary out many different tasks. Usually we don’t have to opportunity to geek out about the things we need to learn.

That is why today was so amazing, being in a room with 12 others - who are in the same position as me - to learn from someone who really knows his craft, is invaluable!

Next to learning a a great deal in just a few hours, it also inspires you to think far beyond & far bigger than what you are working on in your daily tasks.

Mentorship and education are key if you work at a startup. We all know failing is ok, failing is good even, but if you don’t educate yourself you failing for the wrong reason and you won’t learn.

I did learn today and I learned a whole lot over the past year. By going to a meetup or workshop almost every week I’ve put myself in the position to learn and grow.

Yet, I’m far from done, I’m still looking forward to learn a whole lot more… and hopefully at some point succeed.

With that being said, here are a few people (next to the ones I work with on a daily basis) who helped me, inspired me or educated me over the last two years. If you work at a startup you should be able to make a list like this as well, if not… Go out and find them, now!

Without these guys I would be nowhere:

Nick Stevens @clogish

Rune Theill @runetheill

Lauren Valbert @empoweringmngmt

Dwight Gunning @dwightgunning

Peter van Sabben @sabben

David Arnoux @darnocks

Jon Woodroof @twotonearms

Don Ritzen @donritzen

Kees van Nunen @keesvannunen


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