My journey as a #startup #founder – step 2 – @founding

Step 2 – my first real “Hot Seat” presentation

It’s March 8th. After yesterday’s introductory session, the “really thing” starts today with the Vision and Ideas session. I am really looking forward to what this programme will bring me.

Overnight I completed all but one of the tasks that were required. The most important task in my eyes, was to determine 5 good reasons and 5 bad reasons to want to become an entrepreneur. It is always interesting to do a little bit of soul searching at 1:00am in the morning, between a yawl and yet another cup of herbal tea (i dont drink coffee after 2pm… but this might change soon!).

I came across a great video – which was part of the recommended resources – I share the link here: Six crucial questions to ask yourself before starting a company. The speaker is Phil Libin – ex-CEO of evernote and i think involved in the Founder Institute programme.

For those busy wannabe entrepreneurs who dont have the time to watch a 48min video, I give you the key information (but honestly watch it, its full of good advices, and definetely entertaining).


So, after watching the video, I came up with my ten reasons (good+bad) and I picked two to be the MAIN reasons. I will share them here (so that anyone doing the programme after me can copy):

1) I want to create a business that I can leave to my chidren, where I can learn and enjoy work until I die

2) I also want to become an entrepreneur so i can create jobs for other people, less fortunate than me.

Yeah… you read it… work until I die… I know… sounds lame… well, I really believe that, and I also 100% behind the lifelong learning experience!

So, back to the programme…. It’s Wednesday 8th, we are all back in the room. And the first drop-out is announced… So, we are now 21. The Working Groups are reschuffled and off we go for the first real session.

We start staight with the hot seat presentation where the goal is to pitch in 60sec to the mentors your main reason for wanting to be an entrepreneur and why you have the right skills…

I think I have rarely experienced such a difficult moment lately, as it suddenly became clear that relying on spontaneity was not going to cut it… The mentors are relatively harsh on their marking approach, and the specificity of the Founder Institute (no 3-s allowed) means that when it’s not good, it’s at best a 2, or even a 1…

The stress starts to kick-in, because before the end of the session, i will have to have done my pitch, no matter what. It’s good that I spent some time yesterday working on my reasons – the groundwork is done, so now i need to package it and somehow deliver it in a convincing manner.

As the session progresses, the stress level builds up, partly because the marks continue to be harsh, but also because some colleagues are showing real skills and the first 4’s and 5’s start to appear. Before the break, I decide to take my chance and by forcing the event, I think I managed to release some of the pressure, and deliver a convincing pitch. Glad I did it this way… the results are announced by the mentors, one after the other, and I feel like a candidate on a TV-Reality Show… waiting to be told: you are fired!

Lessons learnt with this “hot seat”:

– prepare, prepare, prepare, rehearse, never be surprised by the Hot Seat

– size the opportunity and trust your intuition

– while speaking, go slow, articulate and look at the mentors to communicate the passion

The rest of the session was great, with insightful presentations delivered by the coaches on Company Vision, Innovation Process, How to generate Ideas and other tips to start with strong foundations. But I have to be honest, the adreline shot of the “Hot Seat” moment has been so intense that the “coming back to earth” is painful and I feel it’s hard to concentrate at time (so another lesson learnt: master your emotions and remain focused for the entire session).

The last few 10 minutes of the session are spent discussing with Mentors in our Working Group. It’s good to share past experience in the programme with an Alumni. My main fear at the moment is to fall short on an assignment by lack of time… We then decide when the next Working Group session will take place and we break for the day.

So, in the round, excitment and energy levels are high, but tasks begin to pile up and the mood may change soon… In the evening, the leaderboard was published for the first time… I am not doing so badly after all! Still a bit more work tonight and tomorrow is another day… Stay tuned!

2017.03.08 Leaderboard masked

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