Lessons for Budding Entrepreneurs

Last Thursday, September 6, the Kapor Foundation team had the pleasure of attending the Ideas Are Worthless Conference hosted by Black Founders Startup Ventures.  The purpose of the conference was to “connect, educate, and equip” attendees towards putting their ideas into action. Topics covered included customer development, startup fundraising, and technical talent recruitment.  We attended the conference to inform the Kapor Foundation’s exploration of how to support tech-driven strategies and tools for social change.

Charles Hudson, a Venture Partner at SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA, began the conference by highlighting lessons he learned en route to becoming an entrepreneur, which I will now share with you.

10 lessons learned:

  1. Work at good companies to build your network and learn best practices.
  2. Good entrepreneurs are often bad employees.
  3. Good entrepreneurs care about culture and organizational design. As an entrepreneur, these learnings help you fix all the things you hated about all the jobs you’ve had.
  4. At some point you’ll have to disappoint your parents. Sometimes, the best move for you [i.e. leaving Facebook or Google to start your own business] isn’t the move that will make your parents happy.
  5. All startups have problems – but, as a founder, you get to pick, choose, and own the problems of your organization.
  6. No “job” prepares you for being a founder. CEOs and VPs can quit. Founders generally can’t.  It’s a unique experience.
  7. Not everyone is cut out to be a start-up founder.
  8. One entrepreneurial success cures many failures.
  9. Don’t listen to too many experts.
  10. Build a support system for yourself – physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Other speakers included our very own Mitchell Kapor who shared some start-up secrets like the importance of developing your own technical comfort and fluency when creating a tech start-up. Other speakers were Angela Benton, Craig Davis, Michael Seibel, Erik Moore, SF Supervisor Malia Cohen, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Marianne Strobel, Kimberly Bryant, Diane Bisgeier, Ryan King, and Steve Blank. We congratulate Black Founders on a successful event and look forward to learning more about lessons from the tech world to apply to our philanthropic work.

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