As I walked home from shopping today, I was fuming a bit in the January frost. I had just gotten email about various offers from the Entrepreneur Program – talks, mentorings, etc. Most of them seemingly pointless.
Pointless because they are more about inviting people you already know to promote themselves and their products, under the guise of coaching would-be entrepreneurs.
Hard sales tactics, direct mentoring, accountability programs: We have none of that. Just a series of unrelated talks and ‘flash mentor meetings’.
It’s not all bad. But it could be a lot better.
It doesn’t matter that much. As an entrepreneur I have the responsibility to build my business and seek out the help that matters to me.
So that wasn’t the problem.
The problem was the pretense that all of these points on the program mattered. That they made a difference to anybody but the talkers themselves.
What tipped it for me was that I saw a man on the roaster for ‘flash mentoring’ whom I knew. He had led a company which had gone bankrupt. Then he led another company which did poorly, and which he then sold off. ‘
I had once applied for an intern position at his company but was rejected, told that I did not have the ‘right professional skills’, although all I asked for was to be able to do some of the grunt work, like design web forms, and learn something from that while I helped out and let the ‘pros’ do the ‘pro work’.
Now this man had sold off his company with a huge deficit. I checked the numbers in the public registers.
Who can learn something from this man? Why is he at the Entrepreneur Program if not because he doesn’t really know what else to do with his life right now, except ‘teach’?
That would be good. You can learn a lot from failures.
But what can you learn from a man whose ethics apparently consist in making companies go bankrupt on a business model I later found out to be deeply unethical (selling free software platforms for 5000 dollars subscriptions a year).
Then he starts a smaller web design company where he rejects an application like mine for a lowly internship with by using half an hour to tell me that I am not good enough to be in his court, when in reality he likely resented the fact that I was only available for an internship of 4 weeks due to the rules in my insurance program – and not 8 weeks like the other applicant, a fresh student.
Why didn’t he just say so? ‘Sorry, I have a better offer – someone who’ll work more weeks for me for free’- ?
Because he is a coward? A fraud? An actor?
I don’t know. Maybe I am judging too hard. What do I really know about this man aside from some numbers in a registry and one bad interview experience?
But I did know that when I saw kids going home from our local school, I would one day have to tell my kid what he should do to get ahead in the world.
And I would tell him to deliver value.
Education doesn’t matter – only insofar as you can use it to deliver value.
Deliver value. Real value.
Not free software webshops disguised as something ‘tailor made’ with a 5000 dollar-a-year subscription tagged onto them and no support.
Why would someone hide and offer shit like that as value? Perhaps because they truly fear they are unable to deliver Real Value? Worth the money?
But the fact stands: Deliver real value.
And if you don’t think you can then find out how you can.
Then you won’t have time to show up for ‘mentor meetings’ at various entrepreneur incubator programs and feel important.
You are busy delivering important value. That’s enough.