I’M GONNA BE IN THE TECHSTARS BOULDER 2011 PROGRAM AS ONE OF THEIR HACKSTARS! WAAAHOOOOO! (Humility is great and everything, but I can’t keep that one contained. So unbelievably excited.)
It’s been a little over 48 hours since I found out and just about 36 since I told my work that I’d be leaving.
This is a huge new adventure and I’m going to do my best to tell others about it via some blog posts here. It was invaluable for me to read others’ accounts of the program, so in the interest of reciprocating that I’m gonna post my own take on things.
One thing I want to make clear, I have absolutely 0 history in startups. None. At all. Whatsoever. I’ve worked the last 3 1/2 years in Defense and have done so since college. I wanted to make a change in what I did and had absolute no advantages, no prior experience, no connections, nothing but some determination (and an assortment of software skillz) to make it happen.
I’m hoping someone waffling on whether or not to go to that first meetup and (oftentimes awkwardly) stick themselves in a new community reads this and does it. Cause I waffled. And ultimately gave it a shot. And it changed my life.
You can’t always point to that moment in time when the butterfly first flapped it’s wings in Bombay and a rock slide was cause on I-70 (damn butterflies causing mountain traffic) but I’ve got a pretty good idea of where an event like that took place for me. It was TechStars Founder Dating in 2010.
I learned about techstars about 2 years ago while busily coding in the defense industry. Some tweet lead to a blog, lead to techstars.org. Thought it was an amazing program and began reading what I could and following those involved. I saw an announcement for an event called “Founder dating”. I had been working on checkoutcheckins at the time and thought about finding a cofounder to take the idea a step farther (in retrospect, this wasn’t anywhere near the caliber of idea that would have made a respectable techstars entry, but hey, it got me there).
Went up to Boulder and made my first visit to the TechStars bunker. I was 100% solo. Didn’t know a soul. Met David Cohen without knowing at the time who the hell he was. When it started I regretted visiting because I felt so awkward. Then I had a beer and regretted it less. Then had another beer. By the time I left I was loving it.
Walked outta there having met some cool people, having had some cool conversations, and having making a particular connection with Rob Delwo. We made plans to get together and see what we could come up with.
Rob and I met a couple times over the next few weeks and hashed out a idea and for a TechStars application. Ultimately, we canned it recognizing that we missed a couple huge pieces. (At this point, the problem we were trying to solve still exists and I’m constantly reminded by others’ attempts that we were on to something, which is cool) It looked like being a techstar in 2010 just wasn’t meant to be. Oh well, no big deal.
Rob and I kept in touch. I let him know about whatever side project it was I was working on at the time and he let me know about people I should meet or get in touch with. As recently as last week he’d introduced me to the folks at Orbotix which lead to an impromptu interview.
Founder Dating wasn’t a mindblowing event, nor was it intended to be. In fact, there are probably hundereds of events like it. However, for me it was that first step down a new path that ultimately changed the direction of what I wanted to do with my life.
So go. Seriously, just go. Go to whatever it is your thinking about not going to because you don’t know anyone and it may be awkward. If beer is available, even better. You’ve got no idea what it might lead to, but you’re 100% certain of what not going leads to – the same. And if you were interested in things being the same as always you probably wouldn’t have made it to the end of this post.