I was recently asked to offer advice for 16 year olds interested in entrepreneurialism at a virtual careers fair. My advice was to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. I suggested that the fastest way to do this was to read the iconic books of your area (e.g. The Lean Startup) and talk to experts in your niche.
While there are no shortcuts, these are the closest things to shortcuts that I know of.
In my experience, it takes much longer to navigate complex, messy industries by piecing together jumbled scraps from the internet. It’s much more efficient to learn straight from the horse’s mouth - from knowledgable people who’ve done it before. You can do this through good books and by getting out there and making connections.
The additional benefit of meeting people, of course, is that they might offer tailored advice, introductions and - every now and then - open doors.
One week after launching launching Roundups, we’ve been reflecting on this a lot.
The amount of people who have given up their time to help us for free has been CRAZY. Hundreds of hours of conversations with fellow startups, fundraisers, investors, advisors, friends, tech experts, consultants, lawyers, academics, designers and more.
We spent a couple of evenings this week going back and trying to list everybody who has given up some time to help us get Roundups to where it is. This list is the result.
Every one of you have contributed in some way to what we have built so far. Some of you probably don’t even realise that you helped, but you did. (If you’re not sure how, ask myself or Matt and I guarantee we will know!)
It’s these small interactions and incremental nudges that add up to real progress.
So, Matt and I want to say a sincere thank you to you all.
And to anyone starting out, get out there and speak to people. They’re nicer than you think and will save you a lot of time.
P.S. We have inevitably missed some people off this list and if we have missed you, we are very embarrassed and very sorry!!!
P.P.S. I think people who live outside of the startup bubble really have no idea about the free networking opportunities out there. I certainly didn’t before we started Roundups. I’ll be writing more about this in a blog post soon because there’s lot of young people who are missing out.