There’s a dry erase board at Gear that has kept count of the number of days until demo day since we started back in September. As of today, we have 19 days until Demo day!
The reality is exciting and a bit sobering all at the same time. As you can see, this is only my second blog post since the website has been up. (Yes, I am ultra transparent). Since so much time has passed, I figured I could make this post a mash-up about growing pains, gratitude and pearls of wisdom.
When I first began this program, I came in with a general set of expectations of how I would go about executing each goal.. My expectations were based off of the way I generally operate in life as a Virgo but most of all, how I operated with It’s a Natural Thang for the last 5, almost 6 years. We are a tight ship. I have ideas, short term goals, long term goals, I delegate and set deadlines. They are met. Every-time. Stumbling blocks and all.
8 months is definitely not 5 years. Sure, the skills that I’ve acquired over the years came in handy. Actually, they were quite essential to this process. However, I was thrust into a world where I was very green and needed to ripen quickly. This start up world is very male centric, very tech centric, not very diverse. There’s less rapport, more report. Many lessons my Sociology professors taught me about social theory, I was able to witness, firsthand. Navigating that realm was difficult but I always say, difficult is not impossible, it’s just difficult and very awkward at times..
Sometimes, I didn’t know up from down, left from right. I just kept moving and the direction was made clear.
Legal teams should make life easier. Period.
Work with up and coming graphic artists, web designers, photographers, art directors, set designers and when you get “on” take them with you.
When you know a bunch of amazing women, finding real women to use as models is so much better than using stock images!
Daily self check In’s are essential to life as a start up founder. Are my communication skills up to par? Am I being reasonable? Am I setting reasonable expectations as a leader? Am I being too passive? Self assessment is key, always. Then, it’s having conversations that are difficult but aren’t demeaning. I always seek to be constructive and edifying but also keeping accountability central to the conversation.
A great team of mentors is the difference between good, better and best. I am soooooo very grateful for the team of mentors that I have had the opportunity to be connected with during this process. For the most part, the process was so organic. Even a not so great experience led to me being connected to yet another mentor (that’s not even on the “official” mentors list, but I made this one adopt me.). I tell you what. I’m not always the most assertive individual, not aggressive at all but when I feel greatness around me and I feel in my spirit that they are invested in what I am doing, I want to learn from them, I need to learn from them. I’m like a sponge. I want to absorb everything they know. I sometimes sit in awe after mentors meetings like “How in the hell did I get so lucky?” “Who gets a team like this?” Then I smile and say, “Me.” P.S. Mentors don’t have to be older than you. Some of the greatest lessons have come from people that are much younger than I.
Then there are the circumstances where you must discern who is giving you advice because they want you to win or they want to spin you to make you disoriented…I’ma just leave that right there. HA! A wise woman once said that the more you practice something, the better you become at it. Better practice understanding who really is for you versus who says they are for you.
I’ve had some wonderful opportunities. I’ve connected with some great people. I’ve had people contact me that I had no idea even knew I was alive! I am now full term and ready to deliver.
The last couple of weeks, I have tested my prototype at local salons, met with one of my advisers who is a luminary in the field regarding demo day (wink, wink, you may want to tune in) . met with and chosen a design firm team that I believe will make my presentation for Demo Day come alive. I have worked on my storyboard to make sure all of the components are just right and will be doing more testing in the weeks ahead. Soon, I will be sharing my baby with you!
Curly Continuum, rejoice! Finally, a tool is coming that has you in mind at the CENTER of design. Margins are for doodles and hearts not for textured hair!