Steve from the Fortitude Fund attended Fuse50, a recent tech and innovation conference in Cincinnati produced by Powderkeg and Cintrifuse. Here is a short read of four key takeaways.
Takeaway 1: “Mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”
This one phrase by itself was worth the 3-hour drive to Cincy. Think about it in context of your purpose, Being chronically inconsistent with your purpose will lead to a lack of focus, will confuse people, and will generate inconsistent (if any) results.
Takeaway 2: “Frentors”.
We all need frentors in our lives, people who are both friends and mentors.
Takeaway 3: Do your mentor homework.
An experienced mentor described having a meeting with an entrepreneur who was totally unprepared and who just sat down and expected the mentor to drive the entire meeting. It was as if he came in, plopped down on a chair, and said, “Here I am – fix me.” Don’t expect the mentor to lead – come with an agenda, come with a goal to learn something that helps you with the work you have already done, be the leader in the meeting (since you are the leader in your company), and do your homework about the mentor so you know that your agenda is within the mentor’s domain to discuss. In other words, don’t walk in cold and expect the mentor to both discover and solve your problems for you without you doing any work. Sorry for the long rant. tl:dr – be respectful and do your own work first.
Takeaway 4: What do you REALLY have, beyond an idea?
For those entrepreneurs who think that an idea by itself, or an idea bolstered by a few pages of written business model text, is enough to approach investors – think again. Build something. Always build something. First and foremost, build something. Did I mention that it is important to build something? Execution is what is important to moving your venture forward. Anyone can say, “We see a need to ______ and are creating a disruptive technology that will do _______.” But, for goodness sake, don’t say that unless you have already built it. Because the next thing you hear will be, “Show me.” And if your answer to that is, “Well, we really haven’t made anything – but we will some day if you give us money”, then the conversation is over.