Recap of 'Aha! Defining Moments of 20 Tech Entrepreneurs' a Startup Canada event
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Last month, BCIC in partnership with the New Ventures BC Society, Wavefront, Startup Drinks Vancouver and VEF Momentum hosted Aha! Defining Moments of 20 Tech Entrepreneurs - a startup tech event feature 20 awesome startup pitches and a keynote address by hometown Rahim Fazal followed by September's Startup Drinks Vancouver.
More than 400 members of Vancouver's startup community joined us at the Vancouver Convention Centre for the event. If you missed out, check out this recap - including a video of the pitches and keynote - by Startup Canada.
BCIC, in partnership with Wavefront and New Ventures BC, hosted a special event for the Startup Canada Tour in BC on September 19, 2012 – Aha! Defining Moments of 20 Tech Entrepreneurs. This was a unique event. Rather than having entrepreneurs pitch their company, 20 entrepreneurs took to the stage to share with 400 other entrepreneurs the moment in time when they decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur – “a coming out of entrepreneurs”.
In the spirit of Startup Canada and inspiring others, this event focused on the individual entrepreneurs and the moment when they decided to throw caution to the wind and become an entrepreneur. Our favourite came from an entrepreneur who shared his painful journey battling a life-crippling addiction to… pay-checks. Some of the reasons cited included:
The more than 400 attendees voted for their favourite Aha! Moment and the winners received mentorship lunches with Angel Boris Wertz, Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes, a Golf Package from Gowlings and a prize pack from Microsoft valued at $1k.
Following the pitches, National Post Columnist Rick Spence had an on-stage interview with entrepreneur Rahim Fazal, Vancouver-based technology entrepreneurs. Below is Rahim’s Blog Summary of his messages:
1. When I realized I was going to be an entrepreneur: June 14th, 2000. I’ll never forget this day. In the middle of writing my Senior Year final exams, my friend and I sold our web-hosting business, and I gained the confidence to join the world on my own terms. All my life up to that moment, everyone around me, my parents, my family, my teachers, my counsellors, etc. was telling me what to do with my life. They all had an opinion (expressed more lovingly by some (ie. my folks) than others (you know who you are! ). For me, taking a small idea from a hobby and growing it into a real business serving tens of thousands of customers was all that mattered at the time. I was having the time of my life making something out of nothing. I count myself really lucky because it was the sale of the business that made it possible to defer college and take entrepreneurship seriously (if we’d failed, my life would have taken a very different direction, one that may not have pushed me as hard).
2. When I realized I wasn’t the smartest person in the room. The easy part was getting into business school. The hard part was surviving (and then thriving). All my life I had been at the top of my class (whether it was the G&T program in seventh grade or the IB program in high-school), but all of a sudden, I found myself struggling not to finish last in every assignment from Operations to Management Science (the hardest set of classes I’ve ever taken). The only way out of it was asking for help. Something I’d never done before. Asking for help = something in my mind that most closely resembled failure. Running out of options and excuses, I admitted I just didn’t get the material (to a small group at first, and then more openly with professors).
3. When I realized the best days are ahead. Starting a company in Silicon Valley was a dream I’d chased since I was a teenager. After bschool, I moved down to Palo Alto to find three things: an idea, some money, and a co-founder. It took me nine months, and we were off building Involver. In a few years, the team grew from 7 to 70, which meant I had fresh college grades who were senior executives, including a guy with a beard running around the office with a blanket (he recently defended this dress by reminding me how cold it was in the building: B-Y-O-Blanket right?).
All of a sudden I had an organization to manage: lots of people with different personalities (sometimes conflicting) and priorities and wants and needs. As a leader, I knew we had to operate at breakneck speed, but I was over-analyzing. Everytime I made a decision, I’d go back and revisit it. I would replay situations over and over like a movie, and make mental notes of all the things that went wrong, and what I could do better next time. I was destroying myself.
Then one day, I read a blog post by Ben Horowitz where he talked about why it’s so hard to be CEO:
1) “Everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO.” There is no school for this stuff.
2) “Focus on where you are going rather than on what you hope to avoid. When they train racecar drivers, one of the first lessons is when you are going around a curve at 200 MPH, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will drive right into it. If you focus on the road, you will follow the road.”
Once I realized that entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint, life got much better. I began to focus on the next meeting not the previous one. Nowadays, I don’t worry about making mistakes; I focus only on doing the very best job I can at this very moment.
View the entire presentation here (http://livestre.am/48VHp)comments powered by Disqus