Fauxpert? What The Heck?
Several months ago, my buddy, Robert, over at Bundle Post introduced me to a new hashtag: Fauxpert. After I finished peeing my pants from laughter I read the three definitions of what a #Fauxpert is. But it’s the second definition that resonates most with me today:
2) One who is seen as an expert or guru by the media and in interviews gives advice and recommendations they clearly do not execute themselves.
I’m no expert or guru, and I assure you no one from the media is beating down my door for interviews.
I blog to share things I learn, mistakes I make, and awesomeness I encounter while launching my start-up, WeMontage. So, since I am walking my talk, based on the above definition, I am relieved to know I am not a #Fauxpert. Woo hoo! And Yay!
When Original Content Comes Full Circle
Recently, it feels like things I’ve been blogging about for the last six months have come full circle. Three posts in particular come to mind.
The first post was about the challenge of maintaining your disruptive swagger when you live in a really small town. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, lived in Atlanta for 18 years, and eventually moved to Chicago.
I currently live in Appleton, WI, which has its positive attributes (e.g., cost of living, safety, and really nice people), but it’s brutal if you’re trying to launch a tech-related start-up; I might as well be living in the desert.
Finding mentors, connecting with like-minded people, and getting access to “smart” resources requires a high level of creativity and a willingness to network and travel 1.5 to 2 hours to nearby cities (Milwaukee and Madison) that have a better entrepreneurial ecosystem. And active engagement on social media is a must for me.
The second post, which elicited pretty passionate responses on twitter and in the comments section, was titled “Are Successful Entrepreneurs Just Lucky?” My position was and still is the answer is an emphatic YES. Of course you need hard work, focus, passion, commitment, etc. But at the end of the day, the occurrence of things that are out of your control will make a big difference in your success.
Disagree? Leave a comment.
The third and final post was around the benefit of elevator pitches for entrepreneurs and how to effectively prepare them.
The Content Connection
So how are these three posts connected?
Because of my willingness to network, I met Zach, outgoing Director of the Wisconsin Angel Network. After persistently soliciting Zach’s assistance with my seed capital raise, he invited me to participate in the Elevator Pitch Olympics at the WI Early Stage Symposium in Madison, WI.
A few days after my elevator pitch I received an email from someone from the gener8tor start-up accelerator in Madison, WI who liked what they saw and heard, and invited me to apply for the winter Discovery Program bootcamp.
So, I went to a gener8tor meetup and applied to the program, which receives over 100 start-up applications, which get cut down to 20 companies who are invited to present to the gener8tor team. The 20 companies are then cut to 10, who are invited to pitch again. And, finally, 5-7 startups are selected for the bootcamp.
Selected companies receive a small amount of seed capital in exchange for a reasonable amount of equity, and go through a 12 week boot camp. But the most important things participants receive are access to the gener8tor network, resources, start-up know-how, and the credibility to approach serious investors.
What Happened Next?
My start-up made the first cut of 20 companies and I was invited to present to 9 members of the gener8tor team. Here’s the first slide from my pitch deck:
I just love the word “Imagine.”
Based on my presentation, I made the second cut down to 10 companies and go back to Madison for a final pitch this week. I have a 50%-70% chance of making the final cut. I LIKE those odds. Wish me luck!
What’s Luck Got To Do With It?
My fellow Steam Feeder, Derrick Jones, didn’t agree with my contention that luck plays a role in the success of an entrepreneur and wrote a response piece that asked the question, “What’s Luck Got To Do With It?“
Regarding my connection with the gener8tor start-up accelerator, luck had EVERYTHING to do with it. How do I know? Because I ran into Zach and he embarrassingly admitted he thought I was someone else when I called asking for his help. Apparently he’d been talking with another James Oliver with a different middle initial, who also has a start-up company.
How lucky is that?!
Thinking I was that other guy, Zach invited me to participate in the Elevator Pitch Olympics, which led me to the gener8tor start-up accelerator, which now has me one 45 minute presentation away from a potentially life changing experience.
Other than the fact I needed to get this off my chest for some reason, I think the point of this post is: walking your talk and authenticity truly matter. Down with Fauxperts! Haha.
And I guess I still have the whole “luck doesn’t matter” thing stuck in my craw. Oh well…
What say you?