I know you’ve wished for more hours in the day. What if you could actually get them? What if this was not a fantasy, but a real possibility? The lucky few who get into the StartFast Venture Accelerator will experience this first hand. Here’s how:
The pressure cooker – A pressure cooker dramatically shortens the cooking time of food. StartFast is a unique environment that dramatically quickens the pace of startup companies, allowing them to become much better much faster. With the startup team’s total commitment, passion, and determination, they can make more than a year’s worth of progress in 3 months. These may be the most effective 3 months of your life, working in a stimulating environment inspired by the other entrepreneurs working along side you, all solving similar problems.
Life is short – do stuff that matters – When I really care about what I’m doing, it’s not a chore. At StartFast you’ll learn to put everything you do into context. You’ll know what’s important versus what merely seems urgent (using the techniques given on page 15 of StartFast among others). When you’re doing things that are in alignment with your long-term vision, relevant to creating the life you want and serving the people that you care about most, your motivation and consequently your productivity will astound you.
Eliminate distractions – For thousands of years groups of people that wanted to get something done quickly have gone on retreats or enclaves in remote locations. A change of venue by itself helps enhance focus by getting us out of our day to day routine. The more remote the location the better. While StartFast’s location Syracuse, N.Y. is hardly remote (4 hours drive from mid-town Manhattan), it is far enough removed from the trappings of the big city to be significantly less distracting. Being away from home affords one the opportunity to ignore the usual demands of social and family life and really focus on doing what needs to be done.
Sharpen the axe – I have a bias toward action and experimentation and a preference for now over later. But if taken to an extreme, a “Get Shit Done!” startup culture can be counter-productive and even toxic. You can’t succeed just by telling people to “Get Shit Done!” You must have a strategy, you must run experiments and reflect upon the data. You must, in effect, get the right shit done. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” At StartFast, the managing directors, mentors, and entrepreneurs in residence act like virtual cofounders, helping formulate strategy, evaluate inputs and choose the wisest course of action. Mentors bring massive expertise to bear on each and every situation so that you can choose an optimal pathway. And you’ll be given information, instruction and opportunities to learn and practice new business skills so that you can keep your “axe” as sharp as can be .
All this is ultimately aimed at helping you do more faster ala mentor Brad Feld. To succeed a startup must find a market opportunity that is not already dominated by an incumbent player. Most often this new opportunity is found by experimentation (yes, basically trial and error). The most successful startup is the one that can run more experiments than its peers. Thus the speed with which you get shit done is not just a competitive advantage; it’s often the different between success and failure, i.e. life and death (by pierce). This is the true value of StartFast – to create greater opportunity for success. And for many reasons, one of which I’ve highlighted here, our location in Upstate New York is an advantage by affording the entrepreneur a greater opportunity to focus.