In the last 20 days, we have met more than 300 entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, strategic partners, and all-around great people. Our calendars look more like Tetris boards than anything else, and our minds are a little scrambled from the very useful (but very dense) feedback we’ve received.
We made it through week #2 at Techstars Boulder, which included meeting 75+ mentors for 20 minutes each over 3 days. Wow.
This week we really came away with clarity about what we’re building and why. We’re re-writing the entire pitch deck and reframing our solution entirely differently. When we’re done, you’ll have a jaw-drop moment like we did this afternoon.
CANDL & Techstars #BFFs
Week #1 of Techstars Boulder 2017 is in the books, and we’ve had an awesome week!
A week ago we officially announced that CANDL was accepted to Techstars Boulder 2017! We’ve been in the program for 7 days now, and it’s been everything we expected it to be — intense, powerful, exhausting, valuable, fun, exciting, busy, and immersive. We’re learning how to work both IN and ON our company. We’re learning how to work effectively as a team. We’re making huge progress in marketing, engineering, and business operations. We’ve met a ton of new people — mentors, investors, entrepreneurs, friends.
Starting a company — any company — is hard. But starting a company with a social mission to improve the lives of millions of people around the world can be exceptionally difficult. Investors, regulatory agencies, and the mechanics of building something that generates revenue while helping those without the means to afford your wares can really throw a wet towel over a visionary dream.
The 2016 election feels a little bit like a game of “would you rather”.
Would you rather vote for:
- A cold, untrustworthy, above-the-law politician who rigged the system
- A reactionary, intolerant, sexist, bigoted, demented narcissist
When you’re stuck, mix everything up. With everything in disarray your priorities and interests come to life.
For the past several weeks I’ve been in a washing machine of experiences. I’m walking away from probably the best possible career position I ever held in my life. I’m building a consulting practice from absolute zero. I plan to build a new product company to help refugees, yet I’ve never worked with refugees. It’s all pretty wild.
Scene from “Wanderers” by Erik Wernquist.
We haven’t forgotten.
Through all of our technology, social structure, distraction, and comfort, it’s still there. It lies just past the safety and security of our happy little world that, while imperfect, is predictable and logical.
It’s just beyond the grasp of something we can’t quite reason in our mind. It’s there. And it’s always been there.
8 Ways to Fund Your Veteran-Owned Startup
Believe it or not, the military does an excellent job in preparing veterans to start and run their own businesses. As veterans, we learn a lot of skills that are very important to being a successful entrepreneur:
This One Weird Trick…
Imagine you’re talking with a group of friends – maybe at the local pub or at a neighborhood event. You’re having a great conversation about your family, or you’re telling them something about a product you just absolutely love using.
All of a sudden, another person comes up to the group and says “You’re not going to believe what I just saw this teenage girl just do!” Everyone in the group stops talking and immediately pays attention to this person. They are waiting with anticipation to hear what they say next.
Six Tips For Explaining Complex Products Quickly & Effectively
What Does it Do Exactly?
As the world grows more and more complex, so too do the products and services we use. At a fundamental level, very few humans understand how our modern world works. What makes a plane fly? How does WiFi work? Where does plastic come from? Where is the Internet?
Anytime we are exposed to a category-defining product, we inherently have difficulty understanding what it is and why it is valuable, let alone how it works.
This week Apple announced its next generation of iPhones, a new digital wallet, and Apple Watch. But it was the way they introduced these products that left me feeling far worse than just disappointed. I felt used.
I was on a plane during the announcement, so I had already heard what devices had been announced when I queued up the presentation online later that evening. Nevertheless I was still excited to watch the unveiling and learn about the devices – especially the Apple Watch.
The first thing that struck me was that they were presenting in the Flint Center. This is where Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh Computer in 1984 – which forever changed the computing industry.
The Day I Became An Evangelist for Mobile Technology
In 2009, my wife and sons gave me an iPhone 3GS for Father’s Day. The only Apple product I had ever owned before was a 2005-era iPod – one of those iPods that had the track wheel and a small color LCD display. I loved my iPod because it truly simplified the way I carried music around with me. It made it easy to listen to podcasts, and iTunes made it easy to categorize all of my ripped CDs.
Passion is sometimes a difficult thing to define. It’s even more difficult to find. And it’s very difficult to harness.
Passion comes from an intense emotional desire to create, change, cultivate, or protect something. It’s not an intellectual thing. It comes from your soul, or your very core being.
Evangelists simply want to make the world a better place. Their goal in life is to share what they think is good with as many people who can benefit from it.
They are not interested in selling. They are not interested in marketing. They only have one goal – to bring people who need something together with the best answer they’ve found for their problem.
How to know a career choice is right for you.
Ask yourself these questions individually – in absence of one another. When you think about one, don’t worry how it impacts the other two.
It happens to almost all of us. And it happens when you least expect it. It happened to me on a Saturday morning in a forest.
Spoiler: You already know the decision
You already know what your decision is. You just don’t know it consciously. Because decisions aren’t made in the part of the brain that helps explain WHY you made the decision.
Few things are more paralyzing than being faced with a decision you don’t want to make, or don’t know how to make. It’s a situation where you really don’t know which direction to turn.
Your customers care about details. Even if you don’t.
When your brand stands for quality and tradition, cutting corners – even on packaging – will be noticed.
Buying a product falls into one of two general categories: purchasing something that is necessary and utilitarian, and buying something that makes you happy. It’s the latter of these two categories about which I’m writing today.
The Difference Between Efficiency and Starving
There’s something romantic in American culture about the concept of starting and running your own company. We all dream about that day when we can walk away from our day job and dive into finding ways to make money doing what we’re passionate about.
If you are one of those brave few who have actually followed through and left behind the safety, comfort, and network of your profession, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That day you announce to your boss and your peers that in two weeks, your life will be all about following a dream.
Changing The Way We Think About Selling Bandwidth and Terminals.
Satellite Operators and Integrators that don’t recognize they now exist in an industry that is pivoting will find themselves on the wrong side of history, and possibly the balance sheet.
Over the past 50 years, the satellite industry has shaped the world’s communication infrastructure and changed the expectations we as humans have about our ability to communicate instantaneously to and from anywhere on the planet.
Just like every other industry, we are not immune to the cycle of innovation, adoption, maturation, and pivot. There are dozens of great examples of how our industry has learned to master this cycle, yet even today I see examples of companies continuously resisting change.