Looking Yourself In The Mirror – What Do You See?

Startup guru?  The next major tech czar?  A savvy investor?  A code stud among a sea of studs?

These are the media-like labels.  The ones that less than 1/100 of 1% get to.  But how about all the other roles that are equally critical?  Online marketing dude.  Customer acquisition queen.  Java god.  Designer of all designers.

I have a favorite cliche (one of many I seem to share, and most come from my Dad) – “entrepreneurship is a team game not a solo sport”.  We take this pretty seriously over here at TSF.  The team thing resonates throughout our selection process, our 12 week program, our post-program investment decisions and finally the time we decide to allocate to our portfolio companies after they leave us.

As a grisly veteran (read old), I sometimes think back to what I was thinking at 25 or 30 years old and my career.  And I keep thinking of what I know now.

Your career equals the sum parts of your experiences.  Your goal should be to acquire as many good experiences as you can.  This will put you in a great position to be successful in what ever role you dream about.

When I look in the mirror, I see a man that started as a developer (stop laughing it was Fortran), grew into a good product guy, took a sales/business development position (at the insistence of my bosses boss who knew I needed some stretching and a new experience), then a GM role which enabled me to use a lot of muscles, then a complete right turn to run a $25M corporate venture investment group . . . (I am bored and and going to stop.  You can find the rest on LinkedIn.)

The point is all of these experiences were valuable and I would not change one of them.  I may not have seen this while I was in them but I see the value now.  Look in the mirror – what do you see?

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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