Testing the hypr3D viewer embed feature
You are only limited by the size of your ideas.
TechStars For A Day - my thoughts
Tom and I attended TechStars for a Day on Friday November 11 at Microsoft NERD.Here is a summary of my thoughts on the day and likes/opps for improvement.
First - kudos to the entire TechStars Boston group for running what they called an “experiment” as well as I’ve seen any half-day event run. It had the right amount of structure and free-flow and the opportunities to meet with other companies and mentors was pretty much spot on.
Opps for improvement:
- Mentor intro - Both Katie and Reed did a great job of steering us towards the people we should seek out, but for those groups not as steeped in the Boston community, a quick intro of the mentors would’ve been good, if nothing more than to identify them better than the “please stand up” at the beginning of the day.
- An additional two-on-two with the mentors would’ve been great - gives us a controlled environment to pitch the idea and answer the mentor’s questions vs. the traditional fighting for airtime that can exist in an open meet and greet environment. Anyone who knows me know that I can get airtime when I need it! but it was awesome for Tom to get deeper into the tech behind our company and those opps didn’t always exist in the group meet and greet.
- Skeptical as I always am of “frameworks”, I was pleasantly surprised by Bill Warner’s CoFlow process. I’ve heard of it before, even from Bill himself, but actually walking through it, understanding why some phrases worked and didn’t work (too “best-fit” was Bill’s frequent reply!), and really getting at what he was trying to get us all to do (think about ourselves in a way that helps us hone in our people), was a really helpful experiment. I’ve put my “CoFlow” here for me to remember when I’m contemplating the next step in my day or prioritizing our product’s myriad of feature/functionality branches.
- Deal debrief - very insightful and really great to hear the stories of the details behind the deals. One potential improvement: I’d like to hear from someone who didn’t invest (I’m sure there were mentors who chose not to invest in some of the companies, so it shouldn’t be hard to get that person). The value (for me at least) would be to better understand why someone says know and how much control (or lack thereof) I, as a founder, would have over that decision. We got a piece of that from Fred Destin when he talked about Atlas’ partners initial reaction to Kinvey.
Like I said, overall super positive experience and had me and my co-founder Tom walking away even more excited at the possibility of being part of the TechStars family.
Thanks again to Katie, Aaron, Reed, Bill, and everyone else who made the day happen.
Ash Martin’s CoFlow:
I intend to help people… create.
I believe… that people don’t have access to the right tools to unleash their creativity.
I believe… that 3D content generation is hard and today’s tools aren’t accessible.
[Hypr3D] intends… to provide open access to easy-to-use content generation tools
[Hypr3D] is an image-based 3D scanning application and service.
My people… want to create things, but don’t believe they have the tools.
How hard is it to get the job done…
I’ve decided to do a series of posts on the things that I have learned as a startup founder/CEO and there is nothing more frustrating than hiring the wrong person.
I’ve hired for larger organizations and I’ve hired for my own small startup, Viztu, and the challenges are usually the same, regardless the size of the company. At the end of the day, you just want to find someone qualified who will get the minimum job done and I am constantly surprised by the fact that there are so few people in the world that actually meet this minimum qualification - GETTING THE JOB DONE. Obviously you’d like to identify someone who meets this req AND has the same level of passion and drive for the product/team/business you’re building, but that is for another post.
Today, we had to let go of a contractor and despite the relative ease of bringing on a contractor vs. FT employee, the challenge of sourcing the right person is still the same. What a sad and frustrating process. I spent time onboarding, he spent time learning, but we let him go with nothing to really show for that effort, nor the 30-40 hours of effort we actually paid him for. So the lessons learned from this process…
- When reviewing someone’s work product, get a sense for the entire process they undertook to get to the final product - hiring someone based on a review of their final products gives you no insight into how they are to work with.
- Check references, even for small jobs, and focus on their communication skills. It doesn’t take much miscommunication to have a job snowball to 2-3x the cost.
- Start with small deliverables, but make sure they are useful. For designers, maybe start with a new logo or an HTML template to make sure you are on the same page in terms of aesthetics. For developers, start with a single function in your application and QA the heck out of it.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts? What have you found to be successful hiring strategies, especially at the contractor level?
Great points on innovation as the driving force in a startup and maximizing vs. identifying product cycles.