Ever since I moved to Boulder, I've been super interested in startups. It's not surprising really, Boulder is a startup kind of town. I'm not sure the exact figure, but I've heard something along the lines of "there's 100,000 people in Boulder and 170 startups". My interest in startups isn't because I feel motivated to start a new business, but because of two reasons:
1. I love the whole process of coming up with new ideas and then figuring out how to make them a reality.
2. I love being put into situations where I'm required to learn in order to keep up.
Whether it's discovering a niche that needs to be served, or simply just coming up with something that'd be really cool to do - I crave the excitement that comes from that initial spark of creating something new, then problem solving and learning to bring an idea to fruition.
I recently became a mentor for TechStars, a Boulder and Boston-based company that provides a bit of seed capital and a whole lot mentoring in a 3-month bootcamp format. The mentors involved are an incredibly diverse group of individuals from amazing companies. Each mentor brings something unique to the table, all in the interest of helping each of the companies that make their way through the program find a higher level of success. It's an awesome program, and I'm honored to be involved.
More than being honored, I'm super excited to get involved in mentoring some of the companies that fit well with the area of expertise that I'm bringing to the table, which is a focus on community-based business as well as brand positioning. Granted, there's no guarantee that I will be a good fit for any of the companies, but I'm eager to spend some more time with the groups to see where I can help.
I've had a few people ask me already "what's in it for me?" Why would I spend my free time mentoring startups? Sure, I do have limited free time, and no I'm not some crazy person who isn't happy unless he's working (well, maybe there's a little bit of truth to that). The reality is that I'm super passionate about ideas. There's something so special about "the beginning" - it's a completely different type of energy between creating an idea and sustaining an idea.
I feel it's so important to always have a connection to the beginning of ideas, because it's the time where you have solidified the "why" and you get innovative with the "how". I'm sure it's not the same for everyone, but my ability to stay creative and think about things in new and innovative ways is dependent on new ideas - even if it means coming up with some crazy idea and thinking it through, knowing that it'll likely never see the light of day.
So, while I may have expertise to offer this "class" of TechStars, they also have a lot to offer me by way of inspiration. I'm always on the lookout to be inspired. I'm excited to observe how groups handle interaction in different ways and see how they handle the transition from idea to execution. That isn't to say that the company I work for isn't an unending source of inspiration (because it is), but hey - show me the law against being greedy when it comes to seeking out and consuming inspiration!
Lastly, I'm simply excited to help out. I've said it many times - I'm a community guy. TechStars is an integral part of the Boulder tech community, so as an active member of it - I'm more than happy to give some of my free time to help out in any way I can. So what's in it for me? I can't say for sure, but I'm hoping to connect and create relationships with new and interesting people. Besides, knowledge for inspiration is a pretty good trade, wouldn't you say?
Some call me a tattooed metal head with an eye for design and a nose for tomfoolery. I call myself a tireless design enthusiast, a champion of users, a designer of products and experiences, an advisor to startups, an avid consumer of food, movies,and tee shirts. A husband, and a maker of things.
You can just call me Jeffrey.