Last week, I had the pleasure to be a guest speaker, along side Mr. Ben Dyer, at Shotput Ventures. For those who don't know Shotput Ventures, it's a sort of "Bootcamp" for earliest possible stage startups, concept stage companies. Shotput Ventures partners David Cummings, Sanjay Parekh, Allen Graber, Suleman Ali, Wayt King, Dave Wright, Mitch Free, Jeff Hillimire and Dave Williams decided to bring the "Y Combinator" model down to Atlanta.
After sifting through hundreds of applicants, the Shotput dudes settled on 8 worthy ideas. For these fortunate few, they get the pleasure of working night and day through a "Hot Lanta" summer trying to crank out a product and test it in the market. Teams meet every Weds from 6pm to 9pm to hear inspring testomonials from seasoned entrepreneurs, share typical startup typical fare of pizza and sodas (extra caffeine please) and update each other on progress/challenges.
Being in the same room with these young, would wood be entreprenuers, took me back. Crazy long hours, fast food every night, less than comfortable working conditions, and the constant reminder of cash position or lack there of. Both personally and professionally. All that didn't matter. All the external matters were out of focus. What was in focus was the task at hand, making a difference.
It was all there last Weds. Were they conscious that it 90 degrees in the conference room? or that the Dow was up nearly 2000 pts in the past 3 months? Probably not, and it didn't matter. All that mattered was that they were about to embark on a great adventure, togther. And they had believers and coaches.
It's no picnic but I assure you at it's conclusion, they'll fondly look back at this experience as one of the best of their lives.