Hacker Dojo and Philz Coffee
Tonight I was at a place I call a power place. A power place is somewhere where, if you pay attention, you can find what you need. Your power place will sometimes be the same as others but often different. The place I was at tonight is a power place for me because I am energized from it. It compels me forward. It makes me take action, reflect, and think. Action is the antidote to much that drags us down. If you looked, it was just a bunch of men, coding. But oh, it is so much more than that.
THE NO SHOW: I was there for a MeetUp for entrepreneurs. I listened to a few start up entrepreneurs give their pitch before a venture capitalist/attorney and former CEO of Napster. He’s the guy you want to impress if you have a start up. He’s the guy with the deep pockets who can rocket you forward or dash your hopes.
After people gave their pitch he critiqued it and gave advice. If you are looking for start up capital it doesn’t get much better than a one on one with someone who can help fund you. But here is the amazing thing: only four got picked from the many who entered their company and were able to describe what they do in six words. This was done at the beginning of the evening. When one person’s name was called of the four, he was not there. He was among those who left early.
When it was obvious he was not there for his moment to show what he had, a collective groan from 100 entrepreneurs was heard.
He walked out of a meeting that would have brought his company before a whole lot of power in the Valley. Oh, he isn’t a failure and he may have another chance and since he was picked, maybe he will. But he must not have thought he would be picked if he left. The random person who took his place was full of enthusiasm, data, and wowed the room. Good for him. Lady Luck was there, but he was ready for her. He believed in himself and when he finished maybe the venture capitalist did too.
Believe in yourself. That’s powerful. Failure is built in, so be prepared for it. But don’t let it stop you. Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, started a company called NeXT and the rest is history (Apple bought NeXT, Steve came back and we have iPhones and iPods and iPads.)
Philz coffee in Palo Alto is a power place not because of who is there. Notice in my video I did not say “because of important people.” I said interesting ideas. It’s a testing ground. A place where the power of we is communicated, crowd funding of a start up in terms of feedback as funding, not $. But I’m not a start up and I’m not a 20 something engineer, why is this my power place? Because it gives me ideas. I talk to people, I use the conversations and what I learn in my work. I found 2 people there the other day, 2 young men, wearing tee shirts from my alma mater. Both were graduates of the engineering school. I talked to them, I learned items of value. In return I gave them data points I knew of the Valley.
Could you use it as a power place? And why the Lotus? A status symbol? Not for me…I owned an original Shelby Cobra once so it takes a lot to impress me. And I drive a very ordinary car now. Nope, the Lotus was not a status symbol at all and I’ll tell you how far off that thinking is in the next post.