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The Entrepreneurial Swag

January 10, 2012

"your tech startup is sooooo interesting"

My Dad holds office hours at a local coffee shop.  Is he a professor? No.  But he does have some valuable insight for new entrepreneurs.  He holds office hours for me on a twenty four hour basis, but for people outside of the Carter family, he and other members of Hyde Park Angels (a Chicago angel investing group) they get thirty minutes upstairs at City Grounds Coffee Shop.

In the last hour or so, I have essentially been a sponge for information.  My talent for eavesdropping, which has been in development ever since I saw Harriet the Spy, has really come in handy as I have listened to startup entrepreneurs come in to talk about their different projects.  Projects range from technology to websites to new iphone apps. I am pretty fascinated by it all, although it is pretty intimidating to talk to different people.

I have begun to realize entrepreneurship is kind of like a clique. And believe me, there is tons of content on the internet about how to launch a startup, but not very much on the entreprenurial swag. You think of Guidos? Ed Hardy.  Hipsters? Che Guevara and a designer coffee. But what about entrepreneurs? For the noobs out there, here is your answer to the this pressing issue in stereotyping.

1. Ipads.

Every single person (no lie) has their entire project on their ipad.  When my dad asks them a question about their business model, they pull out their Ipad and apple swag and casually swipe through their powerpoint.

2. A great messenger bag

Not just for Occupy Wall Street. No, you don’t need to be a poor vegan hipster to rock a free trade bag. Apparently, you can also be a capitalist entrepreneur.  The only difference being, that they probably don’t care how fairly they were traded.

3.  Use the  phrase “Social Media”

If your idea features crowdsourcing or integrates social media into the product, congrats, your product is that much more interesting.  Social Media integration is truly the technology du jour right now.

4. Have an idea

Obviously if you want to hang with the startup clique, you need to have an idea for a startup.  Its important that you are trying to develop it, but it might even make you a little cooler if you haven’t launched anything yet.  People can still mull over your concept and pick at the details.  Everyone in here has a concept about to pop, but few have launched.  The anticipation and enthusiasm is tangible….it’s probably how an Occupy Wall Streeter feels right before a a really great poetry slam.

Required Reading

-Do More Faster

-AVC blog

– Lean Startup

Terms you should be familiar with

-Y Combinator, Techstars, Excelerate.  These are start up accelerators….and the acceptance rate is smaller than Harvard’s, making it the holy grail of start up achievements.

– Angel Fund, VC. These people invest their money in your start up.  That way, you can make some money and hopefully pay your electric bill.

And then there are a lot of technical terms that, if you follow my advice and read Do More Faster, you will learn without having to spell it out for you on this blog post.  Time is Money.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 8:49 pm

    Yes, I was there. When I heard Mr. Carter had open office hours, I jumped on the opportunity. Yesterday, was preparation day. I knew all the questions I wanted to ask him and all the information I wanted to present.

    I started straight to the point, pitching. Of course, I first said what I was going to do and asked if it was ok. I pressed a button on my iPad and there it was. Then the conversation started always leaving some time for a followup question. Do you want to see a video of my product? There it was, without internet use and ready.

    I left 15 minutes for Q&A, I wrote everything down, followed up with more questions, and consumed every bit of advice I could get. 30 minutes goes fast, as you said, time is money and I got my money’s worth.

    • January 10, 2012 11:12 pm

      I just got an Ipad for christmas, just trying to boost my startup street cred. Did you find my blog through my dads? Glad you used your time with him effectively, I should probably start doing that. Good luck with your product!


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