Archive for July, 2011

day 1 of the Mass Challenge.

The Mass Challenge got off to a great start, with John Harthorne (Founder of the MC) leading off his welcoming address to this year’s class of finalists. He had a ton of great advice, mostly centered around the fact that the $1,000,000 prize pool is a tease. It’s their “bread crumb” to get all of us teams from around the world to congregate in Boston for the MC summer accelerator program.

As he continued to talk about the importance and value of mentors, and forming a Board of Advisors, I realized that I hadn’t spoken with our Sabi “Muscle” (the Board of Advisors) in quite some time. It seemed as though the relationship had been falling apart, and that circumstances (setbacks caused us to delay writing to them –> causing them to drift further away) had intervened. That’s when John said a line in his keynote speech:

Circumstance is optional. Success is in overcoming. By being the cause, rather than the effect.

As a start-up, its easy to let adversity dictate your actions. But the way I see it, you’ve already jumped in the ice cold water..might as well start thrashing around in it, to make sure you stay afloat. It’s not graceful, its not efficient, so why do you do it? Because you need to…as Paul Graham (Godfather of Y-Combinator)- was a start-up all we need to do is figure out, How to Not Die”:

Without further ado, the actual letter I wrote to our Board of Advisors (censored for sensitive info)

And…THIS is why I love my board. Even after sending the letter at 11pm EST, responses come rolling in within 25 minutes. I haven’t run many companies, but I can’t imagine that this kind of unwavering support is common.


The Mass Challenge [MC] – an organization with its roots in Boston, Massachusetts whose  goal is to “help entrepreneurs win”….sounds good to me.

The 3 things you need to know about the Mass Challenge [MC]

1 – The Mass Challenge is the biggest start-up competition in the world. Open to all countries, all industries, and people of all ages.

2 – There’s $1,000,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. (the cash equivalent of 400,000 loads of laundry at our current rate of $2.50/wash and dry)

3 – Being a “finalist” means we’re in the Top 125 teams worldwide, and get to participate in the 3 month long accelerator program (with access to top mentors, resources, office space, etc..) to make our company better.

The view from my desk at the MassChallenge...not distracting at all.

Just one bit of etiquette:

– we’re treating the words “entrepreneur ship”, “networking” and “social media” as profanity. Never before have so many words been overused in the history of the English language.

oh and one last thing. We’re not just attending the Mass Challenge Bootcamp. We’re attacking it. And we’re letting you join us – open book style. There are thousands of dollars, and decades of experience packed into each mentoring session and we want to share them with you if you’re interested (hit the speech bubble on the top right corner of the blog to leave a comment to let us know!)

We’re doing one better than just nodding our heads. We’re taking notes, and taking action. We’ll be giving you an inside look at the thought process and results of each step we take through this accelerator program. We’ll have our first post up Thursday afternoon, about an email I sent out to our Board of Advisors, with a subject line:  we’re not dead yet.

Until then, Sayonara.

MC by the numbers – June 27th –

125 Fellow Mass Challenge Finalists

1,000,000 dollars up for grabs

32 hand shakes

14 business cards given, 17 received

3 hours of sleep on the Red-eye from Denver to Boston

1 5hr energy each