Last week I had the pleasure of mentoring the Techstars Music Accelerator. I sat with each company in the program for 20 minutes and learned how they plan to disrupt our industry. I will be testing out a couple of the products and services to see if they can impact 3B (aka Th3RD BRAIN).
Through the mentoring process, I learned a thing or two to make the next 3B accelerator an even better process for our artists and the mentors themselves. We plan to launch it later this year!
Here are a couple other realizations I had from the sessions –
1. So much can be accomplished in just 20 focused minutes! Meetings don’t have to be long to be effective. After just 20 minutes, the founders had walked me through their purpose, product, and vision for growth. I had asked my questions and had told them if I had any ideas, connections, or ways I could contribute.
2. Most ideas for companies are straight forward, but will not be simple to execute. Many of the best companies in the world start what some call “simple” ideas. Take Amazon being a digital book distributor or Uber commoditizing a black car service or even facebook building a social profile network for college students. Are these companies inventing anything new? In all three scenarios, it’s not the idea that is revolutionary, but the execution itself.
Often, the biggest startup wins are straightforward; they execute beautifully, using known tech to solve a problem lots of people share. This is where execution beats ideas, and it does it all day long.
-Bob Moczydlowski (Managing Director, Music at Techstars)
The companies at the bleeding edge are usually not the ones which generate the most revenue. Apple was not the first company to build an MP3 device, but they dominated the sector for over a decade. Bob continues:
Sometimes, a thing is not known, and has never been done before. The first person to do it becomes famous and revered. And often someone comes along right behind them and takes their innovation to the masses and profits wildly. See the movie “The Founder” about the creation of McDonald’s for a perfect, non-tech example.
While most of the companies I saw at Techstars were not built from revolutionary ideas, their missions are bold and MVP’s are stellar. Most of today’s technologies are easily replicable – A founding team’s commitment to finding the product market fit, garnering consumer adoption, and establishing their brand can be the difference maker in whether start-up’s live or die. One of my favorite podcasts on how to effectively do this is Airbnb episode of NPR’s How I Built This.
At the end of the day, regardless of the idea, companies dedicated to executing in excellence find ways to win. As I always say, ideas are a dime a dozen, but those who put them into practice are truly priceless.