12 weeks in the Escape tribe — 8 lessons I’ve learnt
For the last 12 weeks I’ve been part of the Start-Up tribe at Escape the City. I’ve learnt a lot while on the course, and met some amazing, inspiring people. Below are 8 of the key lessons that have most impact on me.
1. Core Values
Near the beginning of the course we did an exercise to find our core values, selecting words from a list, then in a very short, panicked, time cutting the list down to 25 then 10 then 5 then 3. Mine turn out to be simplicity, assistance and play which does seem to be an accurate representation of my values. I’m going to keep these values in mind if I feel that I’m losing my way, to get myself back to what is really important to me.
2. Power of the hustle
I’ve learnt via the mentors and other tribe members the power of the hustle, how a simple question, action, or offer to help can return unexpected and unimagined results.
Similar to the power of the hustle, I’ve re-learnt the power of sharing. This can include getting ideas from people when I’ve shared what I’m up to, and being able to help with the ideas of others. By openly sharing my ideas with people in a shop when purchasing some equipment — I may have found the first distributor of my product, a completely unexpected result.
4. Keep it simple
I’ve worked for many years in the Agile and Scrum IT world, with two-week sprints and planning sessions, daily stand-ups to plan the day ahead, 90 day plans and the idea of starting with something simple and immediately useful with the possibility of adding to it if required. It should have come as no surprise to me that these ideas are also a good way to start a business, yet somehow it was unexpected. All the Agile ideas translate to a startup — start simple, see if the idea is valid. Be prepared to change direction. Don’t become attached to any idea/solution. Throw ideas away if they don’t work. It was a wonderful revelation to me that the way that I have been used to working will help me in my ambitions to start my own business. I’m already in the right mindset for keeping it simple.
5. An idea is worth nothing until it is acted on
The other major, though obvious, piece of information is that an idea is worth nothing unless it is translated into reality. In the weeks of the course I have pared down one business idea to create a website that has already helped me, even if nobody else yet. I’ve installed software to attempt to learn to code a second version of my website, and now I feel confident that it’s possible for me to do that. I’ve baked crackers again and again, finding the minimum viable product that I can try out on the market. All these things I could have done on my own, without going on a course, but I hadn’t. I’ve now actively started the next part of my life, rather than just passively waiting for it to happen.
6. Work versus work-around-the-work
I’ve learnt to do the actual work, and not the work around the work. It’s so easy to be busy and active, without being at all productive. I’m trying to stay focused on the key factors necessary to creating a business, rather than becoming side-tracked on things that really don’t matter.
7. Daily Routines
I’ve learned a lot about the benefit of daily routines in leading a productive life. So far I’ve only started two on a regular basis. The first is making my bed, a simple act taking only a few seconds at the start of the day, but somehow makes a big difference. The other that I have started on a daily basis is Morning Pages, an idea by Julia Cameron. First thing in the morning I write three A4 pages of handwritten stream of consciousness. This somehow manages to clear my mind and give me solutions to all sorts of problems. Other daily routines include planning out the night before what to do the following day, an hour by hour plan. I’ve only achieved this a couple of times, but when I did, I was very productive and felt great. I’m not sure why I’m resisting doing it every day, when it is such a simple concept and works so well.
8. People are awesome
Of course I’ve always known this, but this is a great lesson to be re-affirmed. By definition the people on the Escape Tribe were liable to be open-minded and enthusiastic people. However there are many ways that these qualities can be shown. Everybody comes with their own baggage and history, which is different for each person. There were people from many countries other than the UK - France, Belgium, Moldova, Austria, South Africa, a melting pot of people all trying to build great and useful lives.