Putting Your Heart On The Line
The lights were low and the energy was high. Techstars demo day had finally arrived, and for the 11 Seattle teams it was their opportunity to finally share their vision.
You could see how nervous the entrepreneurs were. Having practiced for weeks, they had no idea how the audience would respond.
With each slide of their pitch, the entrepreneurs got stronger. Their nervous energy was replaced with confidence, as if they finally believed in their own words. Overcoming their deepest fears, each of them left the stage with a massive smile.
Not everyone believes in accelerators. Some have called them startup factories. Others claim they produce a high quantity of low quality companies. Some refer to them as popularity contests.
Regardless of your perspective about accelerators, there is something you can’t deny: They provide opportunity. They provide a platform, especially for first-time entrepreneurs, to gain confidence.
Because it takes incredible courage to stand on a stage, in front of people you don’t know, and put your heart on the line. To share how you want to make the world different is hard, all while being judged about your ability to deliver on it.
@Bryce is right, most people won’t. They won’t try to come up with a new idea. They won’t quit their job to start a company. They won’t make themselves vulnerable to others. Most difficult of all, they won’t stand in front of a room to be openly judged.
It’s true, most of the teams that went on stage won’t ultimately be successful. And it’s easy to tell them so. But don’t.
Being an entrepreneur takes incredible conviction and at the same time, unwavering confidence. Convincing customers, future employees, investors, partners, vendors, editors, etc., requires every ounce of energy you have. Because that battle doesn’t happen just once, it happens every day.
Sitting in the audience that day, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Watching a group of people put their heart on the line, it left me wanting to get up and stand on that stage again. To feel butterflies in my stomach and my heart racing, unsure how the world will react to what I believe in. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained, only experienced.
I miss it.
To the people willing to stand on a stage and tell the world what you believe in, keep going. Whether you turn your ideas into a successful company doesn’t matter. All that really matters is you are willing to do what most people won’t: Put your heart on the line.
Image Credit: Kelbycarr via Creative Commons