Techstars Boulder Accelerator 2020: Week Two Reflection - Mentor Madness
Techstars Boulder Accelerator 2020
Week Two Reflection - Mentor Madness
What a crazy week!!
Over 70 mentors. 51 meetings. 20 minutes per session.
All in four days.
Needless to say, it was quite an exhausting week.
As I sit here this Monday morning reflecting on the past week, I had a few takeaways from this past week.
This is no joke
We are right at the beginning of a period of arduous work. I'm talking 16 hr days, hard work. Days of talking to investors, customers, employees, and our cohorts - all back to back, nonstop. Oh, and not to mention, we still need to spend time with our loved ones at home.
Mentor Madness was a pretty massive shock to our systems. We realized that this will be life moving forward, and we'll slowly build our "tolerance" to this many meetings and in-depth discussions.
And the best part?
I wouldn't change a thing.
I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life.
Work isn't working anymore. I'm drawn to it and love doing it.
Pro Tip: In addition to the copious amounts of caffeine that you'll likely consume during the week, make sure you get enough water. Too much caffeine means jittery pitches, which is no good. Oh, and remember to take a break. Jack and I were conscious of going for a walk after the long day and talking through the feedback. We also worked to meditate about halfway through the day. It was super helpful!
An endless sea of new ideas
At an initial glance, you might think that meeting with 71 people in four days is overkill. How could we possibly continue to get new advice after that many sessions?
I know we thought this after day 2.
The first half already addressed all of our immediate problems, and we were ready to start running.
That said, I encourage you to think a little deeper about not just your immediate problems but also the things you'll need to solve in a few months.
There is a phrase in the Boulder office (and probably elsewhere), NATILIE.
Not all times in life is equal
You'll likely never get another opportunity to have dozens of highly qualified and experienced professionals vet your idea and give you candid feedback.
Embrace it. Think ahead.
Once you've addressed your immediate problems and feel ready to run, pause. Think a few steps beyond that. Come up with new questions for advisors that anticipate impending potential problems. Be proactive!
Because we were still getting new ideas after meeting with advisor #71.
You'll only get out of Mentor Madness, what you're willing to put in.
Be prepared. Think ahead. And be open to all suggestions.
Pro Tip: Ironically enough, we used Demoflow to upload all of the mentor slides, inserted an Evernote URL to take notes in real-time, and put the web link for the feedback form immediately after. This ensured that we don't fall behind on our feedback to Techstars but also ensured we took detailed notes. Try and get 2-3 concrete pieces of feedback per advisor. If you're clear and concise about this in your notes, you'll crank through your follow up emails.
Oh, and I know its a tall order, but get those emails out by 5 pm that day. You'll make an impression and thank yourself.
Remember how fortunate you are
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thoroughly drained on Day Four. Thinking to myself that we've gotten ALL the advice we could need right now, and it's time to "just go." I felt all of this and more.
I was wrong.
As I mentioned above, we continued to get new and thought-provoking advice with person #71.
And here's what I had to continue to remind myself:
Four weeks ago, we would've loved to meet for 20 minutes with any of these advisors. We would've prepared for hours, built out a new deck, prepared all of our talk tracks, and generally just put an immense amount of energy and attention into it.
We are incredibly fortunate to be here.
Being apart of Techstars is genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime type of achievement, so always remember, Natilie.