Analyze, Decide, and Execute

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but for whatever reason, the words have eluded me. It’s been almost a year since I went through Techstars Boulder with my company SocialEngine, and now that the newest Boulder class is about to start, it seems like a fitting time to pen my thoughts to (virtual) paper.

There are a lot of incredible reasons for a company to choose Techstars, but for us, it was a really difficult decision. SocialEngine was both bootstrapped and profitable. We weren’t focused on raising money and we felt like we were too far along for Techstars to be able to make a difference. Thank god we dug deeper.

When Nicole notified us that we were finalists, I remember being both elated and scared. Techstars sounded great in theory, but did it really make sense to give up 6% of our cash-flow-positive company for a 3 month bootcamp? We talked with both mentors and alums, but in the end the conversation that made the biggest difference to me was with Kevin Prentiss at Red Rover. At the time, he was wrapping up Techstars in New York, and he told us that while he couldn’t say for certain (yet!) that Techstars was quantitatively worth the equity, qualitatively the experience had been completely worth it. He reminded us that the relationships we form with our mentors and classmates will last well beyond the company we’re currently building, and into all our future entrepreneurial endeavors. After that phone call, I was sold.

As it turns out, Techstars has been one of the biggest influences in not just my company, but my life, to date. Everyone talks about the value of the meetings, the mentorship, the network, and the pitch practice. I don’t mean to dismiss those things – they changed the trajectory of our entire company and introduced me to a whole new set of intelligent, ambitious friends and allies – but the most worthwhile thing Techstars gave me was a simple lesson:

Analyze your current situation and your goal, swiftly and efficiently.
Decide on the best path to achieve your goal.
Execute the hell out of your plan.

Those 3 steps apply EVERYWHERE in life, not just within your company. They happen to be especially important for a startup because urgency is everything, but since leaving Techstars, I see myself applying the analyze-decide-execute mantra almost daily. Everything from wishing I could leave LA (moved to Boulder right after Techstars), to wanting to climb Kilimanjaro (expedition in October), to smaller goals like wanting to throw dinner parties (that will be a story unto itself, late next week…). It’s a powerful feeling, doggedly pursuing your dreams. Much better than the limbo of waffling indecision and procrastination.

As I mentioned, I don’t mean to gloss over the impact that Techstars had on our company. It’s just that what Techstars gave me was so much broader than that. The lessons I learned and the relationships I formed at Techstars extend outside the walls of the bunker, past the three crazy months, and even beyond the time I spend working on this (or any) company.

  • Natty Zola

    Awesome post Charlotte.  I like to do the same process but haven’t articulated it as clearly.  Hope to see you around soon!

  • Brynn

    Just what I needed to read today. I think people get stuck in the “analyze” step. I like how you also said “swiftly and efficiently” aka – do your analysis and due diligence, but then move on!

  • The Phroogal Jason

    I’ve been wondering about Techstars and other accelerators. I had the same thoughts you had and it’s about accelerating faster than we currently are. Right now, I don’t know if that is humanly possible but I’m sure there are definite things that can be done. Thanks for sharing.