Photo: noisiestpassenger via Flickr
I was inspired to write this post after speaking with a group of students at Northeastern this past week.What was most impressive was that this group of ~20 aspiring entrepreneurs actually came out and engaged in a great dialog while most of their peers were engaging in St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. Some of them even went home and solved a coding test I later tweeted out for one of my portfolio companies, Hyperpublic. Amazing enthusiasm.
I thought I’d share my top few pieces of advice that I discussed (in bits and pieces) that night and whenever I speak with students interested in entrepreneurship:
- Get off campus. Participate in the local startup ecosystem. There’s a lot going on outside the boundaries of your school.
- Consider yourselves lucky. There is an unprecedented amount of information available at your disposal that makes you much better equipped to launch technology startups than what was available when I was a student. Twitter, Quora, venturehacks, etc. Information and transparency FTW!
- Youth is an asset. You have no mortgage. You are young enough to learn anything you need to learn to equip yourself to succeed. You are in touch with the way the consumers of the future will use Web services in a way no one over 40 (or even 30) could ever fully understand. Hustle and creativity often beat experience.
- Just build something. Especially if it’s the first time you are trying to launch an entrepreneurial endeavour. Don’t hesitate. You’ll probably fail, but you want your first shot in goal to happen early. It will make all your future shots better, and it will remove the fear of failure from your psyche.
- Authenticity works. This was the best piece of advice I got as a students. Remember the phrase when you are nervous or intimidated about an interaction (an interview, business deal, fundraising, etc). Be authentic about the problems you are trying to solve and the way you interact with people. Honesty and authenticity never go out of style.
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