Entrepreneurship is not a career. It is a way of life.
For me, this journey began as a graduate student at MIT in 1994. The world watched Netscape go public that spring, and the Internet swept over us like a virus. As I wrote my Masters thesis, I also wrote my first business plan. We were, as a generation, shaping the Internet during those early years, and, my degree in hand, I was ready to jump into the unknown – from then on really, I have been jumping into unknowns at every turn.
Fortunately I’ve had great mentors – people who took an interest in my destiny, stopped along the way, and taught me a thing or two. In turn, I have tried to stop along the way to pass on certain nuggets of my own learning. In the summer of 2006, as the technology industry resurfaced from the nuclear winter that followed the dotcom meltdown, I was invited to speak at a startup workshop.
My session was supposed to focus on Positioning. At a Silicon Valley law firm, some sixty entrepreneurs packed a conference room to listen to me. I asked each to pitch his business idea in one minute, following which I gave feedback for another minute or two. My 90-minute rapid-fire session, alas, was not enough to accommodate all the pitches. In the lobby, even as we spilled onto the front steps, I tried to respond to some more, but it was hardly satisfactory.
In fact, it has always frustrated me to realize that I did not have enough time in my day to stop for each entrepreneur who asked for guidance. Friends – seasoned entrepreneurs – have expressed the same frustration.
In 2006, I started capturing case studies of technology entrepreneurs and their journeys, systematically. My thought then was that I have access to successful entrepreneurs. They’re willing to share their journeys with me. Most first-time entrepreneurs around the world do not have such access. How can they learn from the masters?
Over time, thousands of entrepreneurs have shared their journeys with me. This tribal knowledge has now been encapsulated in the 1Mby1M methodology and curriculum.
You can easily simulate the experience of having lunch with Ross Mason who built Mulesoft to a Unicorn or with Sridhar Vembu who bootstrapped his Unicorn, Zoho.
In fact, start with a course on Bootstrapping. Chances are, many of your concepts about startups and fund-raising would be challenged as you go through the case studies in it.
Next, get specific. This set of courses show you how to build a startup within a particular domain. They consist of domain-specific case studies and startup ideas:
Globalization of startups is changing the world right now. No matter where you are, right in your neighborhood, a startup scene is heating up. Get some ideas from the startup trenches around the world. Find out how entrepreneurs in different countries are able to build their successes:
It’s not easy to build your own startup business from scratch. But it is also plenty doable.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Stand on the shoulders of giants.
Have a virtual coffee with a successful entrepreneur. Extrapolate from her journey.
If you want additional advice, come see me at a free 1Mby1M roundtable.
P.S. We’re looking to partner with community leaders who write blogs, teach and mentor entrepreneurs, and help support startup ecosystems in every corner of the world, no matter how small or how remote. I have written about my own journey building startup ecosystems around the world, and how you can draw from my lessons from the trenches. If you’re interested in partnering with 1Mby1M, please consider joining our ambassador program.