A friend of mine asked me recently if I thought spending a summer as an intern for TechStars was a good idea. Here was my response -
Best idea ever.
Depending on the level of your involvement, you could potentially walk away from this internship with experience in starting 11 companies, going through dozens of pivots, chasing the minimum viable product multiple times in multiple industries, developing pricing models for 11 companies products, the hiring and firing and team building as well as all other nuances related to human resource drama that come in the startup world, drilling through messaging problems multiple times with each company, mastering pitch strategies, walk through financing these companies with VCs and Angels, the multiple stock scenarios that all have to be worked through, and on and on and on.
Seeing that many ideas walk the maze of failure to reach that eventual success has given me more confidence and skill than I could ever have curated on my own one or two projects, assuming I could have made meaningful progress on those one or two projects, working alone in the allotted 90 day time frame. The way to approach it is to think down the road three months and ask yourself if you’d regret spending a measly three months gaining that much experience? I promise you there is no better way to spend that time.
Not to mention the immense network of mentors, friends, and new best friends that all come from the program which I will lean heavily on for the rest of my career.
Breaking it down it looks like this
Rent — $1800
Chewy chips ahoy — $80
Chocolate milk — $150
Broken arm with no insurance — $3000
The ability to reach into the upper echelons of the technology industry with a network of mentors, supporters, and 40 brilliant new friends who have seen your work ethic and would go to bat for you without reservation — Priceless
Stick that in your Discover commercial.
Such a great summer.