Net Prophet Startup Workshop 2013

This week I had the opportunity to join ten other startups for two days with renowned startup coach and business mentor, Permjot Valia – the Net Prophet Startup Workshop 2013 sponsored by Saratoga.

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The Net Prophet Startup Workshop 2013 from Saratoga on Vimeo.

The most valuable aspect of the workshop was meeting the other startups. I guess we are all guilty of watching The Social Network and thinking that startups are the rock bands of this decade. But being part of a startup can be lonely.

Take my average day for example – I wake up, switch my laptop on and have some coffee while checking in with all the social media and website stats from the day before, then I may or may not get dressed before planting myself in front of my computer. The rest of the day is mainly spent there – occasionally chatting to our dispersed team via Skype or meeting people in coffee shops for ad hoc meetings. But most days, the first time I hear my own voice is around 5pm when I say “Thank you” to the gym receptionist as she hands back my access card.

Beyond simply having an excuse to hear your own voice before 5pm, meeting other people who are involved in startups gives you the opportunity to share your experiences with people who understand the frustrations involved in starting a business, who can give you advice on how they found their Indian developers or share their affordable graphic design contact, who can act as a sounding board when you feel you are too close to the project to make an objective business decision or tell you if your elevator pitch simply sucks balls.

I cannot wait to share my knowledge and expertise with the other startups and any startups for that matter. In an interview with the Daily Maverick, Permjot had this to say about helping others (and I could not agree more): “Government programmes tend to foster a kind of ‘the pie isn’t going to grow’ mentality, so let’s take whatever we can. What you need to do in the private sector is to create a culture where people genuinely want to help each other because they get that doing so enlarges the pie”.

In my next posts I will explore some of the Lessons from Permjot Valia and Lessons from Mike Butcher that this workshop has taught me but perhaps the most important outcome from this workshop (for me personally) is a renewed sense of purpose and an even greater motivation to seek out opportunities to support, advise and mentor other startups and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Above: Pitching Cliquidity to the likes of Mike Butcher (TechCrunch Europe), Rob Gilmour (RSAWEB) and Roger Norton (Silicon Cape) after two days of coaching with Permjot – can you tell that I am shitting myself 🙂