Entrepreneurs: Keep an open mind

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At an event last week, I met an entrepreneur who like myself left the banking industry to embrace the startup world. Cool. We immediately have some common ground.

I asked him what he’s working on, and he replies with some serious enterprise related idea which is not my particular cup of tea but it sounded cool. We then start talking about NY Tech Day, and he immediately responds that he’s not interested. Ok, fine. So I start to pry a little deeper. He said that he won a booth at TechCrunch Disrupt in Hong Kong and that their team didn’t get any value out of it.

He then said that he wasn’t interested in Tech Day, because he is totally focused on building his product. Great. I support that (mostly), but then I asked him about his plans for the future: raising money, building a team, attracting users.

And here’s the part that still gets me — he said that pitching investors and networking is a waste of time. He was going to build a great product and then just apply to a bunch of accelerator programs.

I get it, but I just couldn’t disagree with this more. Yes, building product should absolutely be your main focus, but when you are a single person startup or even a small team, you must wear many hats and perform incredible juggling acts on a daily basis.

He was very jaded by his original experience and wasn’t willing to listen to anything else. I wanted to tell him about lines not dots and that most startups are going to fail or make giant pivots and that the best way to get into those incubators is through your network and relationships and how much I fundamentally disagreed with his approach, but I knew I’d be wasting my breath.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being disciplined in your goals and objectives and flexible in your approach. Keep an open mind and always be willing to experiment.

#6WordSummary: only a sith deals in abosolutes