Innovation & Insights

Entrepreneurship in DC

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Execute better.
  • Talk to people.
  • Use the force (of will).

Ispent a great evening with fellow entrepreneurs at yesterday’s Tech Cocktail event in DC. Hosted at the Atlas Theater along the up-and-coming H Street corridor, the event brought together a packed house to listen to three local success stories: Taxi Magic (Alexandria), PopVox(DC) and LemurIMS (Arlington).

Here are three things I took away:

1. Execute better. 

Sanders Partee of Taxi Magic talked about his previous business having no real competitors one day to having seven within the year. His suggestion was to expect competition and make sure you position your organization to execute better than your competitors.

2. Talk to people.

It can be easy to get siloed when working on your own idea. Rachna Choudhry, co-founder of PopVox, did her first beta testing with her mom before using the local coffee shop to get people to help her figure out any usability issues with the site. Her take was that people don’t mind helping entrepreneurs, so don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Use the force (of will). 

While there is a lot of flash around startups and entrepreneurship these days, the majority of initial startup days are quiet and relatively introspective. When you're ready to turn the idea into something real, however, the only thing that gets it all going is sheer force of will. Will Fuentes, founder of LemurIMS (an ex-lawyer who went to work at BestBuy for $9/hr in order to get his “aha!” moment), is a great example of the determination and belief in a vision that is critical to the early stages of any startup.

The process from idea to final product is a long one. As it’s been said, we tend to overestimate what’s possible in the short term and underestimate what’s possible in the long term. Simply translated: It all takes longer than you thought it would and usually turns out differently than you originally intended.

All the more reason to connect with like-minded people who though different in their individual paths are all pushing for the same summit.

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