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How Your Community Discourages Great Startups

 

The Lone-Wolf Startup?

Entrepreneurship evokes images of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos – but the reality is that the lone-wolf genius with the change-the-world idea is rare. Today, it’s almost impossible to build a startup alone.

It takes a community of shared knowledge and of shared resources. A community that is more than just entrepreneurs: it includes people who work inside large companies and institutions; and investors, partners and customers. It takes a community that understands and fosters entrepreneurship, so startups can thrive.

Every discussion of startup communities starts and ends with Brad Feld and with Boulder, Colorado. Brad Feld is a former entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist, and cofounder of Techstars. Few have been such a driving force in startup communities than Feld. He literally wrote the book on Startup Communities.

Most of Startup Communities’ tenets are based on Feld’s experience within the Boulder entrepreneurial community. He calls it The Boulder Thesis, and it reads like a manifesto for building entrepreneurial communities. Most of the tenets are straightforward cultural traits, such as: build a strong sense of collaboration; be inclusive; experiment and fail fast; and maintain a ‘give before you get’ mindset.

Brad Feld is describing startup communities’ most successful cases like Boulder, Austin, Seattle or Los Angeles – the ones that became examples for the rest of the world. All over the world, people are trying to recreate those startup community success stories in their own regions. Alas, most get it comically wrong. And it can ruin the entrepreneurial community for decades. It’s called T-Ball Entrepreneurship.

All over the world, people are trying to recreate those startup community success stories in their own regions. Alas, most get it comically wrong.

T-ball Entrepreneurship

You know T-Ball: It’s a sport for 4 to 8 year olds. It’s an attempt to give kids a baseball-like experience in a safe environment.

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The Experience Slide

The Management Team. It’s the most important slide in the investor pitch deck. This is what all new entrepreneurs learn from the get-go. And it’s this slide that speaks volumes about the perception of “experience” in this modern era of entrepreneurship.

As investors and advisors to a statewide economic development program, each month we’d listen to pitches by dozens of promising startup ventures seeking funding. All across the country other investors and experts were having the identical experience. The startup ventures came in three groups: Mobile app or web companies started by enthusiastic 20-something year-olds; university research spin-offs headed by experienced professors; and deep industry solutions led by former executives.

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Browse Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any entrepreneurship blog, and within minutes you’ll find at least 20 gems of entrepreneurial wisdom quoted from the mega-successful moguls. This wisdom is guaranteed to jumpstart your venture, and inspire you to entrepreneurial greatness.

These “secrets” or “rules” for success sound so powerful that they’re immortalized in motivational posters and animated gifs. They get repeated by mentors, investors and other gurus as unquestioned, timeless wisdom.

Usually this entrepreneurial wisdom is about starting a company, or about the key qualities it takes to be a great entrepreneur: Timeless gems of wisdom, uttered by bona fide successes.

It’s all great advice, with one exception: If you’re a struggling entrepreneur working in the trenches, this wisdom doesn’t apply to you. It’s bad advice.

It’s like listening to one of those AM radio hosts, talking about managing your money: diversifying your portfolio; paying off your credit cards and loans; buying gold, bonds and mutual funds. All good advice. Sound, wise, and completely irrelevant if you’re just graduating college, and looking for a job just to pay the rent.

Not only is the advice irrelevant, it can be downright destructive. It’s as predictable, as it is wrong – for you.

So let’s take a look at 7 of the common nuggets of wisdom and see how they apply to the average startup entrepreneur:

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The Age of Metapreneurship is here! Get the book now!

The Age of Metapreneurship

The Age of Metapreneurship is here! Get the book now on Amazon!
 by CJ Cornell 

With 100,000 how-to books, dozens of entrepreneurship programs in every city and an expert on every website – it should be pretty easy to become a successful entrepreneur. But something’s wrong.

Techniques and advice that were effective 5 or 10 years ago, will make you an amateur, today. The world changed. Technology and people changed. Yet the field of entrepreneurship hasn’t changed all that much. The old rules and the old mindsets are holding you back. In fact, the more experienced you are, the worse it can get.

The Age of Metapreneurship – is about the future of
entrepreneurship – a future that is just emerging now.
It’s about a new kind of entrepreneurship, and a new kind of entrepreneur …

Visit Launch Site

 


A special thanks to those friends and colleagues who read advanced copies, and were kind enough to leave some great reviews on Amazon.com:

… a funny, lively, informative book that examines entrepreneurship in a variety of novel and useful ways. A must-read, whether you’re just starting out in the entrepreneurial world, or been at it for a while.
This is a must-read for founders, business buffs and anyone interested in startup culture.
Well written, timely, and enjoyable.
(read more 5 star reviews)

Inside we’ll explore:

  • Chaos – Entrepreneurship is so broadly defined today that no longer know who and isn’t …
  • Cults – The institutions, programs, and leaders designed to help entrepreneurs, today are failing them.
  • Dots – Entire industries are ripe for disruption (by entrepreneurs) because the old business models are disintegrating. Direct, straight lines, are being replaced by ‘connecting the dots.’
  • Abundance vs Scarcity – and how ‘every abundance creates a new scarcity’ is the new business mantra.
  • Scale – is now a required strategy for every startup – otherwise you risk irrelevance: but scaling now can be far, wide, or deep.
  • Crowds change everything – crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and collective intelligence.
  • Movements – the waves of the network: Join them, start them, leverage them – or risk sitting on the sidelines.
  • The Paradox of Experience:  The more experience you have, the harder it gets.
  • Cultivating Meta-Value and your Meta-Tribe.
  • find out more …

 

THANK YOU for you help and support!
The Age of Metapreneurship debuted in Amazon’s Top 20 New Releases! 

Who should read The Age of Metapreneurship?

  • If you’ve been advising new ventures and guiding them through a bootcamp-like experience – only to see them sputter, and fade away, this book is for you.
  • If you see entrepreneurship in your region brimming, brewing, and percolating -but never seeming to gain critical mass, this book is for you.
  • If you’re an highly experienced entrepreneur embarking on a new venture, this book is for you.

The Age of Metapreneurship is like a collection of pieces to an unusual puzzle: Every time you put the pieces together, they form a different picture that is only for you.

 

 

Getting time and attention from experienced advisors is a rite of passage for the first-time entrepreneur.
Free Advice

Entrepreneurial advisors provide everything from informed feedback, market validation and technical direction, to introductions that can lead to partnerships, investors and customers.

Advisors are often former serial entrepreneurs themselves with well-earned battle scars from risking, failing and succeeding enough times to have sharp
insights into the venture building process. They have a special empathy for the struggling entrepreneur. There’s satisfaction in helping an up-and-coming entrepreneur avoid the same mistakes, and giving them insights that will help accelerate their progress.

Not all advisors have the right experience, and it is very hard for the entrepreneur to know which advisors can truly help their company.  It takes many first dates to find those perfect matches. But advisors kiss a lot of frogs too: Frogs, hunchbacks, maniacs, dreamers, neurotics – and I suspect a few psychotics. Entrepreneurs come in all sizes and for advisors it can be exhausting to try to help them all – particularly those entrepreneurs who don’t really want to be helped, or who are not ready for outside advice.

So, for the entrepreneur about to go seeking advice from advisors, here’s some blunt, very blunt, advice:

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TLDR GraphicYet another “Lessons Learned” post from a first-time entrepreneur.  Except this one is incredibly wise beyond his years.  The insights are so in depth and valuable that even the most seasoned serial entrepreneur would be envious. The sad part is, since the article is not one of those pithy “10 secrets to building a successful venture” posts, it will be lost on the typical reader seeking quick-fix advice.

 

Worthless Advice?

I have a deep cynicism when reading first-time entrepreneurs pontificating

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It was a brilliant observation from Tim Huntley of An Entrepreneurial Life, based on an exchange with an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is stuck in some sort of circular-loop thinking preventing him and his team from making progress. In a rather rare display of self-awareness, the entrepreneur likens his dilemma to a concept taken from an obscure documentary called Waiting for Superman.   In this case:

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