➡✉FORWARD: Do you want a B.S. in Business from one e-mail?

🚫🙈 TL;DR

This week I introduce you to my biggest mentors, Grove, Dalio, and Ferriss. We’ll also explore the works of J. Cole and Alex Grey. Last but not least, we meet the man who survived The Snappening!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I earn commission if you purchase.

👑🤘 Must Survive:

After many weeks of split tests, a choose-your-own-adventure, and RNG guessing games. David Bachowski emerged as the sole survivor of “The Snappening”. Click his name to get introduced. Welcome home, David! Enjoy his autobiography.

David Bachowski's Headshot

David Bachowski is a habitual line-crosser. Sometimes funny, sometimes wincingly painful, sometimes just corny. He’s crossed organizational lines, state lines, international lines, emotional lines, and career lines. In general he tries to make the world a happier, less serious place. He just moved back to Buffalo after spending some years in some big cities. He’s excited to get back into the startup/tech community in a safe, socially distant manner.

🥚🥓 Must Read:

Cover of Andy Grove's High Output Management

High Output Management is a legendary business book. A synthesis of Andy Grove’s experiences building and leading Intel. This well worn book has a permeant place on my bookshelf. I reference it at least once a quarter. The explanations are simple, poignant, and timeless. After the first few chapters, you will never look at breakfast the same way again.

🙅‍♀️🙊 Must Try:

Don’t volunteer information. Information asymmetry is a huge strategic advantage in negotiation, defense, and life.

Make simple and concise statements and then getting comfortable with silence.

💱🍿 Must Watch: (30 min)

You’ll learn more in Ray Dalio’s video “How The Economic Machine Works” than I did in two years of B-School. Like many specialties, Economics can feel intimidating to outsiders due its vocabulary. This simple video describes the words and market forces that impact us daily.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦🎧 Must Listen: (4 minutes)

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J. Cole is a mentor and mentee wedged in between two generations of successful artists. MIDDLE CHILD has been in my heavy rotation playlist for the past few months. I hope you enjoy!

💕🌌 Must See: (1 min)

The most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received was a surprise from my wife on our wedding day. A signed print of “Love is Cosmic” by Alex Grey. Despite her more traditional leanings, she embraced my appreciation for psychonaut artwork. Understanding that the painting would live on our walls for the duration of our marriage.

What more can you ask for than acceptance, as you are, from the ones you love?

💲📈 Must Subscribe: (2 hours)

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If you’ve never heard Tim Ferriss’s podcast, I assume that you don’t listen to podcasts. His episodes have over 500MM downloads. His reputation grants him access to top performing humans from around the world. I’m thankful for the impact his work has had on my life. Give it a listen, I recommend his episode with Jamie Foxx and Hugh Jackson.

🦃 Closing Gratitude:

This week I made my 500th introduction in the past 6 months. This milestone made me reflect on how thankful I am for you.

You’re part of a large community of people who help to lift each other up. I don’t know how many get to experience this level of mutual support, but I am grateful to be one of them.

I hope you have a wonderful week. Take a moment to appreciate the good in the world.

Reply and let me know what you’re currently thankful for.

With kindness and respect,

Clark

✅Action Items:

🔲 Feel Gratitude

🔲 Forward to a friend

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: want a great investment tip?

🚫🙈 TL;DR

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Smart Investors study history, read books, understand strategy, and follow principles.

*Click linked names to ask for an introduction. Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I earn commission if you purchase.

💥📚 Must Read:

The Upstate Unleashed keynote featured Nasir Ali (CEO, Upstate Venture Connect) and Brad Feld (Partner, Foundry Group). The book recommendations were outstanding during their fireside chat. Zach Marshall (Head of Business Development, Accrete.ai) and I scribed so we could share them with you.

Interested in joining a Book Club focused on Startup Communities? Join the WNY Startup Community Slack and DM me! We’re reading The Startup Community Way and More Good Jobs is next.

⏪🕰 Must Try:

My yoga instructor says, “Stay on your own mat.

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Comparing your life, financial situation, or career, to others is masochistic. Compare your current state, to your past state. Analyze how your principles and habits effected your results.

✈🔎 Must Watch: (6 min)

The Strategic Reconnaissance “Speed Check” by Major Brian Shul, USAF (Ret.) is a classic tale among aviators. If you’re short on time you can read it here.

The SR-71 is the pinnacle of manned, high altitude, high speed, aeronautical flight. It’s 35 year career helped to fend off nuclear war. Unmanned Systems might exceed its capabilities – but they will never create the same lore.

If the “Speed Check” made you chuckle, dig deeper. Unfortunately, the wildest stories are lost to history. They were only whispered to other squadmates in the ready room.

👨‍🎤🎧 Must Listen: (>1 hour)

When I need focus, I put on my headphones and instrumental mixes. YouTube creators often segment their videos to highlight track and artists names. It’s a great way to expand your musical horizons.

👑🐕 Must See: (1 min)

/r/historymemes sorted by Top – All Time.

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Pro-Tip: Use Reddit Enhancement Suite, ‘x’ expands the thread, ‘j’ moves you down, ‘k’ moves you up.

💲📈 Must Subscribe: (~60 min)

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Patrick O’Shaughnessy sources outstanding investors and thinkers for Invest Like The Best. The conversations are informal but information dense. I’ve never made it through an episode without forwarding it to someone in my network. There are great show notes on his blog. 15,000,000 downloads and counting.

🧠💬 Closing Thoughts:

You’ve rehashed and rehearsed your personal narrative many times. That doesn’t mean it’s true. Stories and behaviors useful at one point in our life, are not always the ones that allow us growth in the future.

In other words, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Take a moment and think about your autobiography. Is there a part of it that limits you? Can you reframe your retelling in a way that encourages your growth?  

Block some time on your calendar, sit with your history (or a therapist), apply an analysis framework. Based on what you find, what strategy can you invest in to carry you FORWARD?

With kindness and respect,

Clark

p.s. Which format do you prefer, last week’s “vertical theme” or this week’s “horizontal theme”? Please reply and tell me why.

✅Action Items:

🔲 Get comfortable being uncomfortable

🔲 Forward to a friend

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: Do you cherish the pale blue dot?

📏😚 TL;DR

Let’s reframe the discussion, zoom out from the stress inducing myopia of the last week. My favorite accomplishments of Humanity involve our struggle to understand the Universe. Lets take a few minutes to explore.

🥔💧 Must Read: (~6 hr 22 min)

The Martian by Andy Weir is a glorious survival story. A modern retelling of The Old Man in the Sea. The protagonists monologue is clever and humorous. The science is real. The value humanity bring to the Universe is on display throughout.

Mark Watney’s indominable spirit inspires me to rally against the odds.

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🤹‍♀️❌ Must Try:

The Commutative Property means that X percent of Y is equal to Y percent of X.

For instance, if you want to find 8% of 50, but are struggling. Instead solve the simpler problem and take 50% of 8, which is 4. So, 8% of 50 is also 4.

🔭🔵 Must Watch: (4 min)

Pale Blue Dot

“The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.

Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” – Carl Sagan

🌑🎶 Must Listen: (3 min)

Released in 1964 — as the Apollo program was first achieving its stride. Five years later, Buzz Aldrin allegedly put on Sinatra’s Quincy Jones-arranged take on ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ just before stepping out of the lunar module.

Whenever I hear it, I feel a part of history.

🌎🖼 Must See: (1 min)

Pro-Tip: Hold CTRL or Command when you click links to open them in new tabs.

👩‍🚀👨‍🚀 Must Subscribe: (15min)

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JP Burke’s incredible labor of love, The Space Above Us. A retelling of the stories behind every NASA mission from Freedom 7 to STS-135.

Through JP’s dedicated research and story telling. I gained a deeper love for NASA. It increased my appreciation for the herculean effort and bravery that drove the early space program.

🤘🐒 Closing Thoughts:

We’re strange monkeys in a weird cosmos. Put two random people together and there’s a good chance they’ll disagree on something. Three people will split into teams. But, if we do agree, we become unstoppable.

The USA invested $152B (in 2019 dollars), which roughly equals 56,300 lifetime earnings. To land a spaceship the size of a Volkswagen Beatle on the closest off-planet rock. The three humans who volunteered to go, knew they were the payload on a repurposed missile. The Moon was 238,900 miles away. The missile-powered-love-bug travelled at an average speed of 3160 mph. When we got there, we spent 21 hours, and 36 minutes taking in the sights and scooping some dirt into our pockets. Then we got back in the ship and flew home.

I’m proud of being a strange monkey. You should be to.

Per aspera ad astra,

Clark

✅Action Items:

🔲 Watch “The Right Stuff”

🔲 Forward to both

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: Trick or Treat?!

📏👀 TL;DR

We learn about creating wealth, saving time, and making great art.

🗽😄 Must Read: (7 min)

Naval Ravikant’s life is the American Dream. An immigrant youth who struggled in NYC, he overcame adversity and built his fortune. His advice is worth considering because he’s also a genuinely happy individual.

His famous tweetstorm on Wealth Creation will make you reconsider your work.

The Navalmanack is about building wealth and happiness into your life (Free epub, mobi, and PDF).

2️⃣⏩ Must Try: (<half the time)

Save hours by scrubbing past sponsor promos and setting YouTube playback speed between 1.5x to 2x. Install an AdBlocker and pay for Premium, your time is worth more than $15/mo.

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✏👹 Must Watch: (<58 min)

Creature Design with Scott Flanders is dense with insider secrets about creation and perception. Concept art is one of the first steps in the creative process for video games and movies.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours learning about concept art. This video is one of the most succinct and practical videos about iterative design that I’ve found.

🎸💀 Must Listen: (<2 min)

Saying “Halloween” by The Misfits is a Horror Punk classic is an understatement. It’s been covered ad nauseum. In fact, if you want a more melodic version — you can listen to Jeff Manning’s acoustic cover of Alkaline Trio’s cover of The Misfits’ original. Maybe AFI’s pop punk cover is more your style? Southie Punk? Try Drop Kick Murphy’s. Prefer to Skank on Halloween? Enter The Holophonics’.

Modern Musicians pay to have their perfect digital recordings trampled to a gritty analog feel by Producers. The Misfits recorded with potatoes and a 4-track cassette deck in Glenn’s garage.

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Ephemera: In true punk rock fashion, The Misfits appropriated the “Fiend Skull” in 1979 from a 1946 movie series “The Crimson Ghost” by Republic Pictures. Although Republic Pictures never attempted to defend their Intellectual Property. When Danzig split with the band, the avatar became a central component of their court battles.

🎃💖 Closing Thoughts:

Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s genetic! My 3 year old daughter also loves Vampirina, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and everything spooky.

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But why do we love it?

It’s a chance to express repressed parts of your subconscious. No one knows if you’re being ironic, festive, or yourself. It’s your chance to be the trickster, to instigate, to act out! Also — free candy.

Do you wear a mask everyday or just on Halloween?

With Kindness and Respect,

Clark

✅Action Items:

🔲 Trick a friend

🔲 Treat an enemy

🔲 Forward to both

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: Rest, Recover, Bake Cookies, and Oxford Comma.

📏👀 TL;DR

I didn’t “ship it” last week. People noticed! 😣 I didn’t beat myself up about it. 🥰 This week we’re going to talk about taking time for yourself, being present, and experiencing life.

🤑🌎 Must Scroll: (5 min)

Matt Korostoff dropped an interactive experience that helps you conceptualize Jeff Bezo’s $200B personal wealth. If you scroll long enough, he addresses the wealth distribution of the US (Spoiler Alert: 400 people own more assets than the bottom ~200,000,000 people combined.) If this creates cognitive dissonance for you, he also provided links to his sources.

Pro-Tips: If you’re on mobile, rest your thumb and grab an ice pack, it’s a long scroll. If you’re on a desktop, hold the right arrow key.

🎃🔪 Must Watch: (3 min)

He started his career as a school teacher, but is now the most famous pumpkin carver in the world. Ray Villafane took the art to a new level applying sculpting tools from the world of clay to America’s favorite form of cucurbitaceae.

There’s a wonderful celebration of impermanence in Ray’s sculptures. Building masterpieces in an ephemeral medium reminds me of Tibetan sand mandalas.

🚶‍♀️🗣🔤 Must Try: (1-15 min)

That certain someone is walking past your house again, talking to themselves. You see them all the time, always walking, always talking to themselves. What a weirdo!

I’m that guy! It’s great! It’s changed my life in the past 3 weeks.

When I’m not marching in the endless parade of zoom calls, I walk around Hamburg, NY dictating my thoughts into my phone. Android and iOS both have a dictation feature. You click a microphone icon and they will translate your words to text in any app. Both systems are INCREDIBLY accurate! Thank you robot overlords, we live in the future!

I walk about 20 extra miles a week and complete 60% of my knowledge work while I do it. Buy a Bluetooth headset with noise-cancellation to improve dictation accuracy. It improves your clarity when forced to call in because you’ve misjudged your ETA on your return trip.

☸🔛🔛 Must Listen: (5-8 min)

A masterpiece of 90’s Ambient Techno featuring the drums of the Roland TR-909. Halcyon (Live at Glastonbury) brings the original recording to the next level. 5:00 in to the track, Orbital weaves two loops featuring Bon Jovi and Belinda Carlisle. The samples create new sentences as the choruses overlap.

This was the first mp3 I downloaded (Circa 1999). I’d reboot to DOS and use DOSAMP to play it. My computer didn’t have the processing power to decode the mp3 while running Windows.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🍪 Closing Thoughts:

Enforce time off for yourself. Even if it’s only an hour during the work day or your weekend. Disengage and unplug! Sheltering in place blurs the boundaries between home and work. These changes are here to stay, even after we defeat the viral threat. You need to adapt to maintain our health.

It’s easier to say no when you have a why. My personal “why” is my children, I’m unbookable from 5pm until 9pm when they’re asleep. That’s their time and I refuse to give it to someone else unless their need is both urgent and important. They’re also part of the reason I spend time on my physical and mental health, I am a strong role model for them.

Commit to blocking time on your calendar. Explore the ideas and practice activities you want to improve in. Spend it working on your physical and mental health.

This weekend I baked cookies with my children. The last time I baked cookies, I was in a Home Economics class in High School. I’m so thankful that I made the time to share an experience with them. We taste-tested chocolate chips, talked about the chemistry involved: ingredients, measuring, heat. The kid delivered them to our neighbors, building community through direct action.

At 36, There are stories that I’ve been telling myself about my future for over 10 years. What if that tomorrow never comes? Only the present exist, experience it. The past is a story you tell yourself, the future is your best guess.

Start today! Do things you’ve always planned to do “when you have the time.”

What activity will you make time for this weekend? Hit reply and let me know!

With Kindness and Respect,

Clark

p.s. Thank you for reading FORWARD the newsletter for Curious and Impactful People.

✅Action Items:

🔲 Sit up straight, focus on experiencing 10 slow breaths

🔲 Forward to a Friend

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: In case of 2020, exercise militant optimism!

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📏👀 TL;DR

This week we ignore the drama and wear a smile. Why shouldn’t you? Things are looking up! The poor have comforts that the titans of industry couldn’t get with all their wealth 100 years ago. When things go wrong, you can take a moment to be present — find the “Good” and strengthen your resilience. 

✊💎 The Snappening:

Congratulations on avoiding Rick Astley’s crooning. You survived! Will you pull off the repeat victory? I designed this mashup between a pie chart and classic 1990s mall map to give you the answer. If it can’t figure it out, click the blue button below.

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No Whammy!

📖📈 Must Read: (5 min)

Why should you Embrace Militant Optimism? Sci-Fi visions of a techno-utopian society have been around as long as humans have had tools. The stories you tell children inspire the future they will build.

👎👍 Must Watch: (3 min)

Something bad happened? You suffered a setback recently? Good!

Retired Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink will teach you how to deal with bad news or moments of defeat.

👻💨 Must Listen: (10 min)

Tool’s Fear Inoculum is sacred to me. It empowered me to maintain the stream of calm, loving, nothings that I whispered in her ear. We sat on the floor, her head in my lap. The eternal moment. I caressed her, while the veterinarian injected the chemicals that stopped her heart.

A Progressive Rock meditation performed to liberate listeners from mass hysteria. By labeling the shared delusion, you rob it of its power. I invite you to join me in singing the chorus: “Exhale, expel; Recast my tale; Weave my allegorical elegy“.

🐒🧠 Must Try: (infinitely)

You’ve made mistakes during your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t advocate against them. This doesn’t make you a hypocrite. You’re a biological Ship of Theseus. Don’t let people invalidate your current ideas based on your past actions. You have grown and that’s awesome. Go forth and help others.

💖👨‍🔬Closing Thoughts:

Why do I write FORWARD?

After 18 months working to catalyze Buffalo’s Startup Community. My interactions with folks were feeling one-dimensional. People subconsciously labeled me as “startup guy”. I experienced this same phenomena after my Twelve Hours in a City project and my stint as a professional Photographer. FORWARD is the reassertion of the breadth of my humanity.

Americans bind their identity to their job title. My conversations with humans on other continents are much less likely to start with the phrase “What do you do?”. International small talk focuses on shared interests and activities. FORWARD encourages you to celebrate your idiosyncrasies. I want you to ask others about their interests outside of work.

Innovation often occurs by applying a known solution from one problem-domain to another. Curious people tend towards being Impactful People.

What’s your personal interest that you don’t often share with people? Hit reply and let me know!

With Kindness and Respect,

Clark

p.s. Thank you for reading FORWARD the newsletter for Curious and Impactful People.

✅Action Items:

🔲 Stop reading e-mail and call the oldest person you love.

🔲 Forward to a Friend

Did someone Forward you this e-mail?

You can subscribe here: http://www.clarkdever.com/forward

➡✉FORWARD: The Snappening

💎🤚Bad news folks!

You’re playing a game of chance using split-testing.

Half of you are about to get rickrolled and lose. The other half will survive to fight learn another day, rewarded for your curiosity. Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox will continue weekly until a lone survivor is crowned.

If you win, you’ll have bragging rights or survivor’s guilt. You’ll be featured in a short bio in Forward (Let’s all pray that you’re as interesting as you are lucky). Last but not least, I’ll ship you an Infinity Gauntlet for your trophy case.

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The only question that remains: Will you survive? *SNAP*

I Feel Lucky!

No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, must be subscribed before 9/28/2020 to participate.

🚀📅 Must Attend:

Buffalo Startup Week launched yesterday! This year’s conference hosts 30+ events featuring top talent from around the world. There are tracks on Startup 101, Game Development, Design, Legal, Finance, and Software Development. It’s a grassroots organized event, please use this click-to-tweet to help raise awareness on twitter 🐦📢.

❄💵 Must Watch:

I Was a Teenage Drug Lord Making Millions in NYC

The inspiration for Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub, and (Buffalo’s own) BraidBabes. The plot catalyst for Half-Baked (everyone’s favorite PSA about equine diabetes 🐴🍬). By the time he was 18 Coss was making 3 million a year via his revolutionary, tri-state drug delivery service. Presently, he’s building a fitness startup named CONBODY that’s raised >$250K in seed capital. I’ve been researching prison reform and entrepreneurship post-incarceration since attending TEDxAttica last year. This autobiographical oral history is worth the watch.

Reply if you’re curious about the visceral experience of being inside a maximum security facility. I’ll share what I learned from the impactful men who reside there.

🚂🎻 Must Listen:

Enjoy the raw emotion captured in this impromptu performance of Cold Beer by freighthopping Canadian🍁 crust punk Jesse Stewart. See if you can make to the end of the track without falling off the wagon 🍺.

If you enjoyed, toss him a few bucks for another Ice House 🤢 via:

Paypal: 2poor4soap@gmail.com

BTC: 3C3YhZPTQetrRkH3XxKXYxMM9XqUQQ9YzR

ETH: 0xe11742F9c07D82bc3A36d836CcA0e20045F6d085

That’s right, he has crypto addresses — bet you didn’t see that coming.

📖📈 Must Read:

1,000 True Fans

Kevin Kelly is an Optimistic Futurist. This article laid out the future business model of being a content creator in 2008. If you sell things, you should read it.

🥫🍲 Must Try:

Fall is in the air, that means canned soup for lunch! But, I hate struggling to free the gelatinous cylinder of soup. It really sours my appetite. Shake well and pat the bottom of your soup can to easily pour its well mixed contents into your bowl. I hope this makes your lunch just a little more enjoyable.

🤝Closing Thoughts:

Americans share more commonalities than differences. We should be working in solidarity to defend our democratic republic’s ideals. Politicians, the media, and algorithmic Filter Bubbles aren’t the only actors trying to polarize us. There are active psychological operations (psyops) targeting us (you and me). We lack a meaningful national dialog about influence operations, but you can help change that. Start with this video on how the KGB convinced American Media Companies to report that HIV/AIDS was an American made bioweapon targeted at our own citizens. Then get real curious and share your new found knowledge with your friends.

Commit to reaching out to your family (despite their latest Facebook post). Start a chat with your neighbors (despite their lawn signs). Building lines of communication is the first step toward deescalating extremist viewpoints. Violent extremism is driven by creating an “Us” and a “Them”. You defeat it by realigning people so they see each other as humans or part of a more inclusive version of “Us”. The best way to do that is to spend time together (shared experiences) or talking about your common ground. Humans are born without agenda. So that means Hate of another group is learned behavior. We can all learn acceptance as well.

With Kindness and Respect,

Clark

p.s. Thank you for reading FORWARD the newsletter for Curious and Impactful People.

Action Items:

If you learned something, please do one of the following:

Going to send a link from this newsletter to a friend?

Please Forward this email instead and tell them to subscribe here: https://www.clarkdever.com/forward

Reply with your favorite musical track that you think I’ve never heard before. If I use it in a future newsletter I’ll give you props!

Reply with one thing you would change going Forward

The Dandelion Effect

Dandelion seeds blowing away in the wind.
Imagine that everyone you spend time with are Dandelion seeds and your impact will be spread forth into the world.

What’s is the Dandelion Effect? As Leaders travel through life, we build teams. We know that you can’t accomplish great things alone. So we recruit the best people we can find and then invest our time into developing their capabilities.

But great people consistently seek new challenges. So, how do you react when your team members need to move on?

Often I see managers get defensive or react negatively. Treating a formerly trusted employee with contempt as if they betrayed the organization merely by seeking to grow.

By not celebrating the transition you undermine your position with your other employees. You clearly demonstrate that you do not want what is best for them and their families.

Instead of being upset by the loss. You could frame this moment as a great accomplishment. The strategy, tactics, and skills that they developed on your team will now be carried with them into the world. This is the Dandelion Effect.

If you are dedicated to training the best practices, and working to develop a happy, fulfilling work environment, then this moment is a gift to the world.

Your disciples are going forth to spread the knowledge and have a positive influence on others. Like a dandelion seed in the wind. When they land, they will reproduce and your cultural DNA will continue forward having positive impacts beyond your personal reach.

The common dandelion is an introduced plant in North America. In the mid-1600s, European settlers brought the common dandelion (scientific name, Taraxacum officinale) to eastern America and cultivated it in their gardens for food and medicine. Since then it has spread across the continent as a weed.

Linda Kershaw, Patsy Cotterill, Sarah Wilkinson © 2002

Originally posted at: https://www.thepartnership.org/blog/bn360/celebrating-team-member-transitions/

How do you run an Early Stage Pitch event?

Pitch-In is an event designed to help founders of early stage companies. Early Stage Founders present their business idea and receive kind-but-critical feedback.

What’s the Format of a Pitch Event?

The format is fast-moving and straight forward:

  1. The host introduces the companies. They also set the expectation that audience members provide kind-but-critical feedback.
  2. Three companies run the gauntlet
    • The Founder pitches for 5 minutes
    • The Host moderates 5 minutes of Question & Answer
    • The Audience fills out a feedback form
  3. Host thanks the attendees and Founders for participating
  4. Host provides aggregated feedback to Founders

Benefits of Seed Stage Pitch Events

The event lasts an hour and provides a tremendous amount of value to the community.

  • Pitching creates initial momentum. Folks with ideas become publicly accountable as the Founder of a startup.
  • The community begin’s to understand what good startups look like. Community pattern recognition improves through exposure to more startup ideas and more founders.
  • Community-wide analytical skills develop as group members ask questions based on their specialized knowledge.
  • The event reinforces the “Give First” and “Everyone is Welcome” social mores.
  • By audience members sharing their wisdom and network with the founders, the community gains a sense of pride and ownership.

Need to see an example of a Pitch-In?

Want to see what an event feels like? Check out this edited video of our May 22nd Event featuring 3 great startups.

Pitch-In -Startups in Buffalo, NY May 22nd 2020

How should presenter’s prepare for their first pitch?

I’ve previously written about pitching your company as a first step in founding your startup. Here’s the cliff-notes to help your presenters.

  1. Recommend that they build a Lean Canvas (?) for each one of their business ideas or customer segments. This will help them to build a more insightful deck and prepare for most questions they’ll receive during the Q&A portion.
  2. Build a deck based on Guy Kawasaki’s pitch deck template. If they’ve never built a venture deck before, this will provide 80% of what they need to be successful.
  3. What about the other 20%? Practice, Practice, Practice  – Schedule zoom meetings with friends in advance to knock out any technical glitches, they should run through the deck until they know it inside and out.

Where’s the feedback form for event?

A template version of the feedback form is available here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeBUklEbZJW0DdXb68arJNkvGxu-eGF1aREde630aotsOdHjg/viewform

Please feel free to copy it or share your feedback on the questions we ask in the comments of this post.

Why is the Western New York Startup Community growing?

I spent today compiling a retrospective report that summarizes the past six months. I’m left in awe of all that you have done as a startup community.

We have grown and supported each through a pandemic, the beginning of a recession, and the current social unrest. Our community has been galvanized by these stressors. We will emerge even more robust than we entered due to your contributions.

I’m unable to thank you all personally. Nor, even begin to account the ways you have individually helped one another. However, I can share some growth and activity number that represent the tip of the iceberg.

Startup Community Growth

Since January 1st, 2020 — the WNY Startup Community Slack has grown from 306 members to 1,180. That’s 386% growth! That’s 100% due to the value that you all add through your original content and replies. Combined with your invitations to join and your openhearted welcoming of new members.

Buffalo Bridge has grown from 0 to 5,991 readers, again — all because of you. Jack does Jack things, Andy curates the content that you post to the slack, we package it up and send it out. If we’re being honest — 95% of the value comes from you.

Together, we’ve organized and attended over 58 Techstars supported events. These events wouldn’t exist if community members did not volunteer their time and expertise. Additionally, fewer people would offer up their time if it wasn’t for the hundreds of you who attend. Most importantly, this number completely ignores the dozens of other events that were organized, promoted, and executed by members of this community without Techstars direct support.

Why Should We Keep Growing?

All of this activity is leading to more Startups. Convincing first time founders to move from Idea Stage to building their startup. You’re making the difference, by proving that it’s possible and connecting the support networks that enable them.

When you read this, acknowledge the work that you’ve done to build a brighter economic future for our city. The work you’ve done to strengthen our community and develop genuine friendships.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the rapid and relentless change and disruption that we’ve seen in these past six months. But I know with certainty that we will emerge a stronger and more vibrant startup community. Because of you.