It is fairly easy to meet founders who think they know it all. Founders who are so sure of their own success and the trajectory that they are on that they almost excude overconfidence.
But are they overconfident, or are they just pretending out of fear of losing face, credibility, mojo or something else? Probably. Because just under the surface of any founder is the fear of failure. Of making the wrong decision. Of missing the boat completely.
It is natural. And actually fear can be transformed into a strenght, if you use it as an opportunity to have a learning mindset. Studys show that one of the traits of successful founders is the ability to learn. And in order to learn, you need to start by acknowledging that you don’t know it all. So get comfortable with that – and embark on your ongoing learning process.
This week I joined the Y Combinator Startup School programme. The first lessons have been completed, and yesterday evening we had our first group session with other early stage startup-projects. And what fun it was.
It is a truly great programme that the Startup School has created. The curriculum is pretty ambitious and advanced, and the speakers give you confidence that they know what this is about, and that if you follow their lead and let yourself inspire, you will move towards a really good place (if you put in the necessary work yourself, of course).
The group session is also great. Because it gives you two things that you shouldn’t underestimate: It gives you somebody to be accountable too; i.e. what have you done the last week, what are you doing the next, how are your metrics etc. And it gives you the opportunity to practice pitching your story and see if people get it and choose your product to want to join, if they had to pick just one.
From that angle, first session went really well; all the others chose the project, I am participating with. So naturally, I am quite pumped.
Today this winters Startup School at Y Combinator kicks off with the first lessons. And I will be a part of it.
The 8 week programme is for aspiring entrepreneurs or people who have already embarked on the journey. And I have enlisted to both learn, reflect and just plain see, what it is that the worlds leading accelerator wants to put founders through in order to be able to create a successful startup.
I will be monitoring my progress and share here as time and purpose permits. I am not expecting too much, but I think it will be an interesting experience. And something everybody looking to create a startup should consider putting themselves through. If for nothing else then just for gaining the respect for what is actually needed to succeed (hint: it is about much more than ability to build a product).
One of the great opportunities to learn something new and expand your horizon is to engage in conversation with someone you don’t agree with. You might still have disagreements after your conversation, but at least you have gotten the opportunity to get some perspective. And boy, do we often need that.
For that reason I always seize on the opportunity to reach out to people who have indicated that a shared experience left them somewhat lost or basically made them quit. Because I want to get a chance to at least understand where things went wrong as seen from the other side.
It is so easy to just ignore people who complain or give something you have done a bad review. And yes, it can be daunting to confront criticism, because if you are passionate about what you do, you know that it is going to sting and even hurt. But it is worth it. It adds perspective. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, which is always good. And no, it won’t kill you.
There is no way around it: The greatest learning opportunity is when things don’t go according to plan. When you envisioned X and Y or Z happens, and you have very little idea about why that is.
When that happens – and it will happen – it is an open invitation to learn. It is an invitation to go back, investigate and walk through everything you have done in order to try and find the spot(s), where you missed something important.
It is by no means certain that you will be able to find it at the first time of asking. But if you adapt an experimental approach and try to adjust here and there in a controlled way, chances are that you will finally understand what happened, and what you could have done and should be doing forward to make it right. And voilá; you will actually have learned something.
This summer I am trying to teach myself how to do visual programming using Bubble. I have been trying to get a better understanding of coding for years but never had the patience for it. Bubbles visual approach is a lot more appealing to me.
Why am I doing it? Because I like being able to execute on the ideas, we’re working with at inQvation Studio. I like being able to take the next step from a workshop or a discussion and actually get things done. Be concrete. Get something out there.
I am very aware that what we can do with tools such as Bubble or Unbounce or Typeform and what have you is not the finished article. Not by a stretch. But it is something. It moves the needle in the right direction for what we are trying to do at the studio team. And it is a lot better than nothing.
(Photo: Product Hunt)