Micah's Mashup

Techstars Week 4 + Jerry Colonna On Being A Founder

As week 4 of the 13 week Techstars Boulder program kicks off, the companies are getting ready to sprint and Do More Faster*!

*Before I go over some details from today I recently thought of a caveat to the Techstars tagline. It is great to Do More Faster, but I think it is important to also do it smarter. Sprinting towards a goal is great, but sometimes taking a few minutes beforehand to map out your plan can be wildly beneficial. I’ve definitely found myself working too fast on a project when really I just needed to take some time to think it over.

I was not alone in my reference to Techstars “Do More Faster” motto, we had the pleasure to hear from Jerry Colonna today and he wasn’t a huge fan of the name of David and Brad’s book and thought “Do Less Slower” would be more effective.

Jerry’s talk today was on “Being a Founder”. A little background on Jerry is that he is a VC turned CEO speaker. His latest venture is Reboot.io and is an effort to scale himself and his teachings. The first “product” of this new company is a monthly podcast from Jerry and a CEO bootcamp in the rockies October 1-5. After spending a mere 2 hours with Jerry, I can see why.

Jerry’s talk was truly inspiring and especially resonated with me. He talked about ways to structure and approach difficult conversations as well as communication in general and illustrated these points through stories, both personal and from the co-founders. Jerry stressed the importance of empathy, trying to understand where people are coming from before you go on the offensive or try to change their mind or “fix it”. This quote especially struck me “Understanding someone’s motivations will not change their behavior, but it will change your experience of their behavior.” Instead of trying to change someone, you should try to understand what is going on in their life and why they might feel or think that certain way. I have always worked to see the other side of story and try not to jump to conclusions without gathering information, but I am only human.

Finally, we talked about communication between co-founders. Jerry shared with us anecdotes of his own with a fellow co-founder. They had plenty of disagreements (Jerry likes intellectual friction) but never once had an argument because they would always talk about it right way and boil it down. Other co-founders were engaged and asked questions about their relationships. The stories of unconditional trust that were shared really blew me away. Two founders in particular embody the perfect synergy and although they might not agree on everything at first, they will ‘always boil it down and understand each other in the end and “Deal With It!”‘. One of the many takeaways from Jerry’s talk was to “Lead from Love”; 65% of startups fail as a result of conflict among co-founders. After today I really admire the dynamics of our companies and am interested to hear about how all of them came to know each other and eventually become partners.

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