The cubicle is where it all started for me. A small confined space with high walls and no decor. Equipped with a few drawers with missing lock keys, a noisy computer, and a chair. At least the chair could spin. Lack of feng shui aside, it was my home away from home, and I found myself conforming to the rules laid before me by society. It was a time when I believed in the importance of my college degree, and embraced things like “job security.” Three years later I would find myself laid off from one of the most secure jobs possible, unable to pay rent, and unable to get a new job in the same field. As Ron Burgundy might call it, I was “stuck in a glass case of emotion.”
I spent the next few months discovering my own self by asking open ended questions. I asked myself what I wanted to do in life, what I wanted to get out of life, and what I wanted to be remembered for when I die. Certainly did not want to be stuck in a cubicle again, nor did I want to be bored, and at the end of days I better not be getting any anchovies on my tombstone. My answers made me aware of the burning desire to break away from the structured path which closely paralleled “The Truman Show”. Suddenly, I realized I already found my exit door. Being laid off gave me the freedom to do anything I wanted. Although being an astronaut did cross my mind, I decided to do something slightly more attainable for a 25 year old and begin my journey of entrepreneurial training. Through soul searching and employment at two startups, four years later I find myself in the Seed Hatchery startup accelerator program, part of Start Co.’s “Summer of Acceleration.”
When you first arrive at the Start Co. lab in Memphis, you already feel the entrepreneurial chi running through your veins. The wall-mounted bright green oversized Start Co. logo smacks you in the face and tells you that it’s go time. I found myself surrounded by the coolest people on the planet. People that like to break the rules and prove everyone wrong. People that are never satisfied and yearn to create their own legacy. It was glorious. However, five minutes later the curtains were drawn and reality takes the stage… “It’s time to hear your pitch.” If you’ve seen American Idol, then you can get idea of where I’m going with this. Aside from the fact that each team’s pitch was torn to pieces by the judges, we all received our Hollywood passes… sorta.
The 90 day program is all about proving ourselves, testing ourselves, hanging our egos at the door, and taking the dive into what we all refer to now as #startuplife. A life that goes beyond just the program by becoming our personal mantras. A mantra that simply never stops.
We are halfway through the Summer of Acceleration and already my co-founder, Arnold Gelacio, and I pivoted our business model four times. All thanks to a little thing called “customer discovery.” Ask the open ended questions like I did for myself, and you’ll always find the answers you are looking for. Who knows, they may lead you to one of Start Co.’s startup accelerators in Memphis, TN.
Oh and don’t forget to check out Troopto! Group gifting made so easy that you’ll like doing it. #Neverstop.