October 28, 2011

Three Weeks at 500 Startups

If you had told me a couple months ago, sitting in our coworking space I run in downtown DC that a few short weeks later we'd be pulling 15 hour days sitting at a door desk in Mountain View, CA, I would say you're absolutely crazy.

But here we are, at the end of the third week of the 500 Startups accelerator.

Some highlights:

  • Being jammed in a room with 30+ other teams, representing the most diverse group of entrepreneurs, whether you're talking about experience (from still in school to successful serial), nationality (never knew there were so many Australian entrepreneurs), or gender (while we strive to strike a good balance at local tech events, we're happy to see such a great mix already here). We review each others products, talk through certain issues, and challenge each other to build smarter and faster.

  • A gorgeous space with an amazing view - while I only notice it when jealous colleagues inquire from the East Coast, being on the 12th floor of an office building, overlooking Mountain View and the surrounding valley is pretty sweet.

  • Special guests - From David Kadavy, Patrick McKenzi, Albert Wenger - tons of topic experts, VCs, and other prominent figures are always coming into the office for organized events. They'll give honest off-the-record opinions, and answer frank questions from us.

  • Expert Advice - Tapping Paul Singh for advice whenever you have a quick question, access to a great network of mentors, and having alumni from past classes stop by has been incredibly helpful. We've had the chance to sit down with so many incredible entrepreneurs and get their advice, provide honest feedback on our idea and product, and walk away with concrete next steps.

A founder of a startup in the last group said that the best measure of an entrepreneur is to compare themselves to where they were at, and what they knew, six months ago. I can honestly look back a mere two weeks, and feel like I've gained a lifetime of knowledge.