If you’ve been paying attention to the success and traction we’ve received at the Atlanta Tech Village, you’ve probably heard one of us say “The Village is successful above all because of community… startups want to be around other startups… the office space, amenities, free beer and coffee are all nice, but the real meat is the community.”
One specific benefit of a community is feedback. Not just any feedback, but relevant feedback. Feedback at the right time, from the right people, about the right things. I call them “Atta Boys.”
We’re now 7 months into this thing, so I’ve already had the exciting privilege of following the progress of some of the startups that have been around the Village. Some are accelerating faster than anyone predicted, and some have been forced to throw in the towel. (That’s ok, by the way– since they are already on the next thing). As I keep tabs on these startups, I’ve noticed that when I get e-mail updates, my feedback seems to be intensely appreciated. It’s almost surprising to me how much so.
It made me realize how much we all crave feedback and praise from people who have been in our shoes. When you’re in the grind of making no money and trying to prove that your idea can be a real company, it’s easy to get feedback from your friends, girlfriend, and especially parents. Of course they are going to support you.
When you tell your parents that you just ran a marketing experiment and found a 500% improvement in CTR, or that your demos per week increased by two fold over the last 6 weeks and close rates are going up– the feedback will likely be something like: “That’s nice sweety, you’re doing a great job.” And if your parents are like mine, you could say “Things are hard, we’re failing, out of money, the team quit, and the customers are suing us.” the feedback will probably also be “That’s nice sweety, you’re doing a great job.”
Don’t get me wrong. Praise is good. It always helps.
It’s just that praise from fellow entrepreneurs is so much more valuable in feeding your energy to keep you going. Seek out the people who have been there, done that. Get their feedback – both good and bad, and use it to keep the energy high.