In front of the door that leads to the offices of The Shortcut there is a ping-pong table on which, for many days, lay a yellow book with the catchy title Crushing it! Every day, for four days, as I entered the office in the morning and left it in the early afternoon, I kept looking at that book and thought about taking it home with me. On Friday morning, unable to control the urge, I grabbed it and put it in my backpack, not before I told a few people about it; I am no thief, just a keen bookworm. I could not wait to get home and in bed with Gary Vaynerchuk.
In case you do not know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, and I did not, so I googled him, he is a 43-year old entrepreneur, who became an internet personality after growing his family wine business with the help of social media platforms. He told it all in his first book Crush it!, which is next on my reading list, as you may have guessed.
The reason for my interest in him and his books is the Digitalization edition of The Shortcut’s Catalyst program, where I am currently acting as volunteer/participant. As a 41-year old I have had many misgivings about joining a startup, where most people are at least 10 years younger than me, but my fears are slowly being alleviated as I dive more into the exciting world of The Shortcut.
The new and improved program, with an emphasis on digitalization, gathered on the 20th of May around 30 participants from various countries, and set about building them up toward a career in the startup ecosystem. To guide us, we have a group of amazing people, who work tirelessly to offer us the best possible tools and a propitious environment in which to flourish.
One of the things that I liked most during this first week (the program is around 70 working days long), is its structure. After getting to know each other and, very important, learn each other’s names, we set about rediscovering ourselves and the paths we want to follow. Not only that, but we practiced selling our skills and found out who among the others is the person/persons from whom we want to learn. I was happy to discover that I was not the only humanist in a pool of tech-oriented people. Moreover, my skills are needed, and people appreciate me. On Thursday and Friday, we learnt how to network with ease and flair, but most importantly, with a purpose, so as to cultivate meaningful and lasting connections. Last but not least, there was this story telling session, which is the culprit behind me writing this blog post.
So far, the most difficult exercises were the ones requiring us to expose ourselves and our fears to the others: speaking up/out, participating actively and respectfully in a team, showing confidence or the lack of it, telling our story. We are all grown-ups, and we have all joined the Catalyst program with our own individual expectations. For my part, I have already started to find ways of getting involved and using my skills. Hopefully toward a promising start up.