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unCon 2013 Session: How to Build a Startup from the Heart unConference Blog – Caitlin Cheng

What’s
important to you?
This
was posed as the fundamental question all entrepreneurs should tackle when
getting ready to launch their start-up. As the session discussions evolved,
attendees gained a better sense of what it means to build a startup from the
heart.
At
the start of the session, we are introduced to the three main reasons why
people don’t execute their ideas:
1.      
Other
people won’t allow it
2.      
You
think other people won’t allow it
3.      
You
won’t allow it
Right
off the bat, the first factor to take into consideration is how much time is
going into the design of your company compared to how much time is going into
your product. Most of the time, entrepreneurs focus most, if not all, their
time and energy into perfecting their product. The structure of the company, as
they believe, follows and simply “comes naturally.” They expect to stumble upon
a “default” company- the idea that their start-up will form into something that
they SHOULD get. This mindset is what¬ XXX defines as the epitome of a startup
from the head. These companies tend to work from the reductive point of view
for the concept of the company design, where entrepreneurs work from the big
picture- the “what” of their company/product- to figure out the “why”. In that
way, they fall into the trap of agreement to reach other peoples’ expectations;
and consequently stripping away the energy and spirit of the product. That
said, we can think about the three elements of a startup design in the form of
three axis:
·        
Intention.
Otherwise known as the innate ability or drive for the purpose of your product
·        
Belief.
This sets the stage for the execution.
·        
Invention.
The actual execution of the product (also the “what” in the golden circle)
Out
of the three, invention tends to take centre stage, making up the bulk of one’s
pitch. But to truly build a startup from the heart and deliver a convincing
pitch, you’ve got to learn to focus instead on your intention and belief. In
fact, don’t disclose your invention at all. Just stay away from the “what”-
instead, use personal stories and anecdotes to tackle the “why” and really
persuade others to believe in what you believe in!

Over
the course of the session, participants were encouraged to take part in an
exercise that focused on altering our minds to speak for our intentions and
beliefs. On the first try, everyone who contributed to this activity struggled
to sell their ideas without talking about the “what” of their companies. It was
interesting to realize just how much entrepreneurs emphasize the actual product
without really acknowledging why the product exists. Finally, after 30 minutes
of trying to keep our pitches simple, delivering them slowly, and emphasizing
our body language, we left the session with these key five words: I intend to
help people _______. We have a choice between subtraction and addition, but we
shouldn’t have to make that decision knowing that ultimately, adding the value
of people is what makes for a startup from the heart.

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