In mid October I found out I was accepted to the Founder Institute . While honored to be accepted after taking the test and completed the application, I figured Houston was just too far to commute for 14+ weeks. After thinking about it further and realizing that my friends where tired of hearing the ten thousand start up ideas I had I decided to see if I had what it took to create and manage my dream company. I told my employer about my intentions to make the weekly commute to Houston and to my surprise they were so supportive of what I was doing they offered to become early "investors" by paying for me to fly down each week. I can't say enough times the group of guys I work with you'd never find anywhere else.
Enough with how I arrived and more about the program itself. Entrance into the program is based on an application and a couple of tests that test your ability to learn, and adapt. The institute is a top notch program, I did my research. Adeo, the founder has created over 2 Billion and value in companies he has either started or been involved in. The CEO mentor list reads like a who's who in Silicon Valley, mentors from household names like Mint, Evernote, QIK, techcruch, Evernote, Blippy, eyefi, etc. The program is structured for those of us who still have "day jobs" as all the classes are at night. This is different than other startup incubator programs like techstars or Y combinator. Also different from those other programs you don't have to have a co-founder (which I do not) or have a set idea, yet Founder Institute is the largest startup incubator with classes all over the world.
The first class reminded me of the first day of western civ in at a university I attended. It was the make or break class. Adeo, made you question your resolve to see if you were really going to finish what you start. He was clear about the effort required and that many people don't make it. BUT if you do make it to graduation you'll have an awesome company. I was also astounded how he was focused on your idea (if you had one) and was all business but took a genuine interest in you and your idea. He's a pretty amazing person in my dealings thus far. The first night we were divided into groups and given a pretty lengthy assignment to separate those who where there to check it out and those who were ready to get to work.
I was also lucky enough to schedule some "office hours" with him the next morning. This was one of four 30 min sessions he offered to help you to refine your idea. I had about four and he was quick to help me narrow it down. Again, he showed he really wanted me to succeed.
Our small group has proven to be made of some pretty spectacular people. They are all very smart with great ideas but the thing I like most is their willingness to help you with your idea. Our group in the 3 meetings we have had thus far has proven to be awesome with lots of sharing of ideas and improvements to others ideas. I can't wait to see what these guys build.
The first "real" class was on vision and values and our speakers where Matt Mandell who founded DC snacks and City Centric, Phil Libin of evernote and of course Adeo. All the talks were good enough I went back and re-watched some of them on the FI site. The next assignment is proving to be quite a chore but one I'm looking forward to getting it done. There's no doubt I'm going to learn something through this process. Who knows if I'll be successful but I'll have tried and learned and that's worth the price of this effort regardless.
I'm building a startup called ServiceVines. I live far out from civilization and like it. I get really too excited over tech, economics, and food.