Scenes from an incubator (Adventures of an Italian team at 500 Startups)
Four weeks ago we got started at 500 startups. It’s called an accelerator program and the name is really well deserved because you feel that they actually put a rocket in your company.
The network of people that you can access through 500 is mind-blowing. No jokes. We’ve talked to people that were our heros, whose blogs we’ve been reading for years.You just need to learn how to look easygoing when talking about your project with people that are Spiderman, Superman, Batman and Robin combined in one. And that’s part of the game.
This is kind of a mistery. Dave, Paul and Christine never show enthusiasm about your product -that’s an euphemism- they do try their best to make you understand why what you’re doing sucks. But, somehow, you never feel discouraged. No, you actually feel you’re going to build something great. Because the quantity of stuff that we learn here every week is huge. It’s literally tons of lessons learned by some of the most successful entrepreneurs of the whole world. If you take on the challenge, and keep your eyes open, and cope with the ups and downs, we bet you can build something great. Well, we are. And we never felt as excited as now about it.
That’s also because we’re surrounded by people that are believers, hard workers, and that have overcome many difficulties to reach the 12th floor of this building. And they want a wider horizon, their challenges to become bigger and harder. You bet it’s an awesome place to be for an ambitious group of people that is rethinking the way stories are consumed on tablets.
Anyway, if you’re a delicate, sensitive person, you’re going to have a hard time at 500. Almost any request is brought up under whatever threat comes to Dave’s and Paul’s insane minds.
Want an example?
“i WILL get in your face if i see you leaving **** around. i WILL NOT provide funding references. i WILL publicly shame you with photos, and place it on your desks, send it to your parents (and your investors), and i WILL let mentors know that you are lazy ******* slobs.”
This was Dave, three weeks ago.
There are one million things that you’ve got to do and to get right to build an awesome company. There’s no way you’re going to get them all right. But that’s also not really the point. The point is that you need to understand what your priorities are, where to focus, what to measure and how. And you learn very quickly, yes, even though Dave tries his best to hide the romantic part of this adventure, that your heart can’t be left home while on this journey. These people really want to make the world a better, warmer place. It’s an amazing challenge. Kind of a life-changing experience. We’re proud of being here.