Hello world! Time does fly when you are having fun! A quick npersona update: The npersona team is making great strides on the development front. Rodrigo (the tech half of npersona) has been coding away like there is no tomorrow. On the design front, we have been working with Sal Ferro of Ferro+Ferro and Artomatic fame. As for me, I have been hitting the streets and getting product feedback, making connections and promoting the npersona brand.
Last night, I had the privilege of being on a panel for the Founder Institute. As many of you know, npersona is part of the first graduating class of the DC Founder Institute. The Founder Institute is an early stage tech start-up incubator. I first learned about the Founder Institute in an October article I read on Techrunch. I had explored other start-up incubators in the DC area but none really got my attention. The Founder Institute was different. To me, it was like bringing some of that Silicon Valley magic to my door step and I was very excited to apply.
The program brings together leading entrepreneurs from the DC area (and around the country) as mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs. To me, this was the perfect opportunity to get first hand knowledge from those that had been out in the trenches. I could not imagine any other place where I could have access to a wide variety of entrepreneurs that had succeeded and failed but more importantly were willing to take the time to share their lessons with me. As the session began, I was not disappointed by what I was able to learn and apply to my own venture. The mentors not only where accessible during the sessions but were also very proactive in sending relevant information about competitors and industry trends relating to my company.
My peers were equally impressive. The Founder Institute does a great job of selecting potential founders. I learned just as much from my fellow founders as from the mentors. It was great having a group of people to discuss relevant issues and understood the challenges you were facing. The feedback I received from my peers during our work group sessions was incredibly helpful and shaped npersona to what it will be (soon). There were times when it was hard–I was working full time and going to the sessions in the evening….Twelve hour days are not my cup of tea. I also learned to take criticism (not easy btw) and apply it to make the product better.
The Founder Institute definitely gave me the “push” I needed to get my company started and my peers and mentors continue to motivate me. It was definitely hard work and sacrifice but it was all worth it! I highly, highly recommend the Founder Institute to anyone that wants to start a company. Applications are due 8/29/10 for the DC area so get going friends! The Founder Institute also has sessions all over the country and the world so check them out: www.founderinstitute.com