So about 2 years ago I had this really brilliant idea. I knew the moment it popped into my head that it was a really good one; perhaps my best to date and I needed to act on it. I ruminated for a couple of months and solidified it a bit before contacting a former colleague of mine to dialogue (academic language) about it or pitch it (entrepreneur language) and see if he was interested in working on the idea together. He was, and so it began.
We both come from the higher education space. Mine is more curriculum and instruction oriented and he from a course infrastructure, learning management system background. Neither of us really had any real business or entrepreneur experience. So for both of us, this was really stepping out of our comfort zone. My strengths are academic, not entrepreneurial. Need me to research a topic and write a paper on it or teach it? I can do that. Want me to say the same thing 5 different ways? That’s just standard academic speech. Want me to ponder on something, for years and still not have a conclusion? Another one of my strengths!
Want me to tell you what our company does in 5-7 words? I can tell you what we do in 5 different ways. I can write a dissertation on it. I can research and tell you why it’s a great idea. Take away: Academia revolves around theoretical constructs and complex ideas. Entrepreneurship/business revolves around application and clarity. There is little room for dialogue or discourse in business, no vibrant discussions or the use of language like locution or pontification. It was pretty obvious we needed help.
My first step was completing an incubator program. I graduated from the Founder Institute Seattle program in June 2012. I must say, those were a tough 16 weeks. The language barriers alone were difficult to overcome. Pitch decks/slide decks /investor decks = power point presentations. Executive summary = abstract? CTO’s? Proforma = spreadsheet. Java? Ruby on Rails? Convertible Notes? Pinging? Target Markets? Market Caps? Go To Market (Strategies)? Verticals? Branding? Whew, it was a lot to absorb.