By: Guy Stein
There’s something exciting about beginnings. all possibilities are open, all outcomes – plausible. Your imagination can still paint any future scenario it wants to and you are still allowed to go along with it. You can touch reality and shape it with your thought anyway you want to. Those are the moments before reality starts to run like a scared antelope. and it always does. just a split of a second after you actually try to capture it. it tends to leave the dreamy entrepreneur with two options – to freeze or to chase.
November 2012: theJunction! We’re in! What joy!
I was on a family trip when I got the call from Gideon (co-founder) and i hit my head on the traktoron (this is hebrew for ATV) as i jumped and cried “Yesh!” (a jewish battle call). Three days later we were in the Junction. It was a week of complete and bewildering shock (“our project should solve some ‘pain’ our users have? really? why? what does their “pain” have anything to do with us – we’re just a bunch of people who love to build things on the internet”), another two weeks of continuous development of our not-to-be-the-next-asana todo app and then the realization that we need to find ourselves a new antelope.
December 2013: We begin an ambitious social enterprise.
The kickstarter of social events. Meetup meets mother teresa. We wanted to create a large virtual stage where people with big social consciences (like we have?) could climb and announce: “If ten people will join me tonight we’ll clean our neighborhood! ahoy!” or “If four people whose parents pushed them into music classes in their childhood join me today we’ll jam in the neighborhood’s nursing home and make some old folks happy!”. We believed in the idea. Our imagination painted a future where dozens of events happen every day and every single person we met with from Ron Gura (eBay) to Kenan Rebbe (Ruach tova) pat us on the back and told us “you’re good people! very good people!”.
January 2013: Money time
Since mrs. karma couldn’t pay our electricity bills (it was the beginning of january after all) and since the purpose of the Junction is “D day” (a.k.a demo day – that last day when you stand in front of investors as if your were Oliver Twist and ask for seconds on funding) – we decided to choose a less bony antelope (for the vegetarians among us let’s be clear that catching our metaphorical antelope is solely for photographic purposes).
We started an MVP – “the Florentine micro-workshops” (‘sadnaiyot’ in hebrew). The concept – people get together for one hour and PAY to learn something new. Pretty early questions like “why the h%# would people leave their comfortable homes and go to a micro-workshop?” rose – a fair question to ask and still high on our top questions list. However, we’re dealing with it from a different angle now – looking at it through our customer’s eyes and needs and we have that edgy feeling we might just nail it! (forwards: core value #7).
I’ll end the post with 5 advises for early stage entrepreneurs that capture the essence of what i’ve learned in those exciting two months in the junction:
- choose your core values from day one:
Our core values: productive discussion, thankfulness towards our mentors, professionalism and honesty, a constant strive for efficiency, fun fun & fun, entrepreneurial karma and faith in success.
for each core value we have action items that are more or less measurable.
- love and criticize your idea at the same time:
Loving your idea helps your motivation but limits the flexibility of your thoughts and actions
- stealth-mode? why? Share!
There is a significant gap between the time it takes to think about an idea and the time it takes to build a product. The chance that someone will fall in love with your idea, leave everything he does and invest a year of his life to compete with you is extremely low and the benefits of a pro-sharing approach are just too many to miss on (success has many fathers – and probably many of them are foster ones).
- Do not put all your time and effort only in the things you like to do
Your project needs you at all helms
- Do not block compliments
an argumentative state of mind tends to block both criticism and compliments. Avoid it. The battlefield of an entrepreneur is not a verbal one – it is as real and vivid as nature itself – it is in the pursuit of the elusive antelope called reality.
Guy Stein, a chaser of antelopes ,
is part of iCode – a team of four (with Gideon, Talia & Keren).
We aim to enable people to share their micro-talents with others.