Tomorrow, 13 companies will take the stage at Webster Hall to show the world what they’ve been working on the last few months during TechStars. I’ve been back to TechStars a bunch recently, and I can say that this class has been pushing their limits to work hard on showing their vision the best they can.
I know what they’re going through, because I’ve been through it (back when Tisch was admittedly a little more caustic) and it’s not easy. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, there’s pressure from TechStars, from investors, from corp dev, from family, from friends, from cofounders… not to mention the pressure you put on yourself.
So you bust your ass. You work all night. You focus on one thing and one thing only: nailing your demo.
By the time I got to demo week, all I wanted to do was get it over with. I knew my stuff. I just wanted to play.
But something funny happened on my way to the stage that day.
I realized how awesome it was that I was about to get on stage before a crowd of people for which I have tremendous respect and admiration, and I remember being so grateful for that moment.
Tisch makes fun of me for it, but when I stepped on stage I took a moment to say thanks, and note how awesome it was to see the incredible turnout, the excitement not just for TechStars, but for entrepreneurship, and it completely grounded me in the moment. The audience was rooting for me. They wanted me, and all of the founders on stage, to succeed. They wanted to see great companies and great demos.
It was in that breath of gratitude, that realization of support, that I was then able to deliver my pitch… and in the blink of an eye it was over.
And I immediately wanted to do it again.
So if I can give one piece of advice to the founders getting on stage tomorrow (and really, any person going into a big presentation)… appreciate that you’re about to be heard. Have fun, be thankful for the opportunity, and know that you have the audience’s support.
At the very least, tomorrow I’ll be hollering from the rafters for ya.