Often times the help that one most needs, is the help that one most resists. This is what Founders Institute has been for me thus far.
I began my startup journey straight of highschool after winning a city-wide business plan competition that paid me enough money to quit working at Starbucks and take a partnership in a small Intra-cultural marketing agency called Nexo Latino. At Nexo we had clients such as Continental, HP, and Lexus that needed help translating the cultural messages, not just language, of their advertising campaigns. I sacrificed a lot way back then, and to this day I do not regret a single minute of it.
My journey continued when I finished college and began working for SingleHop, an IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) provider in Chicago. At the ‘Hop I was fortunate enough to be right in the middle of helping take the company from just another technology service company, to the 3rd fastest growing IT firm in the USA according to 2010’s INC 500 rankings. . That was growth of over 4000% in three years which means revenues, clients, and technological issues expanded by a factor of 2 every few months. A spectacular learning experience on how to put ideas into action, action into client happiness, and more and better clients into bottom-line growth.
Thus, by the time I began working on my new startup, Adblivion.com I thought I knew a lot, not everything, but at least a lot. And boy was I wrong. My presumption of what made sense in the real world, and what made sense in my theories and calculations could not be further away from the truth. Not because my calculations were wrong, or my theories unfounded, but because most of my plans are so broad and unspecific that when applied to any one specific vertical (basically a single product type and customer type) it would all fall apart. In simple terms, I have been planning to re-build Rome in a few months, had all the good looking city-maps done, parks planned, but I’m missing all the people. Yes a few may come at first, but I’ve planned for a few million on day 10. Not going to work.
My founder institute experience up until now has been one where I have had humility and common sense drilled into me. And as painful and frustrating as this process is, it is a necessary one. Without it, I am sure my chances of success would have diminished significantly. Yes, the institute has its issues. A lot of them. But for every nine issues that it has, it retains its most valuable one- forcing the inner founder inside all of us to rise to the occasion.
I’m glad im getting slaughtered. I feel sad for the other 25% of companies that have thus far not been able to stand the heat. And I feel doubly sorry for the other 5% who’s businesses complexities do not seem to match the way the program works. I will miss working with you guys.