Last Saturday, I was really lucky to attend TechStars For A Day in NYC with one of my teammates. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean… HomeField has applied, we’ve met David, David and Brad. We’ve read Do More Faster (you should, too). We went to TechStars happy hour. We’ve talked to some of the mentors. We’ve talked to some of the alumni. We get it… what the hell could TechStars possibly have left to show us, right?

Wrong.

 

 [Gary V. killin’ it on stage. Photo by awesome TechStars alum @mg.]

The list of mentors for NYC is stacked. Hands down. But as most of us startup-hustlers know, people like Gary Vaynerchuck, Mike Yavonditte, and Chris Dixon are really busy dudes. And yet, there they were, spending their Saturday with us, spittin’ startup advice, and hearing pitch after pitch. That’s impressive and it’s a testament to the work that TechStars has done to get amazing people really involved.

If it’s any indication of how the TechStars NYC program will be, then the 10 companies that are accepted are going to have a great experience in 2011.

And I’ll tell you what, there are some cool companies in the applicant pool (579!). Best of luck to all the other applicants - but as Gary said, “I want to beat the fuck out of everybody in this room!”  ;)

In the spirit of doing more faster, I’ve just got a few highlights from the day below, but it was really great to also hear Hilary Mason, Ben Lerer and Tim Shey speak as well. Thanks all for sharing…

1. Gary Vaynerchuck

 I know… I know. We’ve all seen Gary’s intensity, but it’s seriously too good and it gets better each time. Gary had the entire audience in stitches as he rattled off lines like, ‘Where’s that kid with the good idea I talked to earlier? … yeah, I want to fucking beat the shit out of you, bro!’  

His competitive fire is just awesome, but it’s heartfelt, too. When he retold the story of his childhood, the hardship his family dealt with, you really get to understand what makes him tick. Thanks for sharing, Gary.

2. Chris Dixon

Again, Chris is a star in the NYC tech scene, but this was my first time seeing him speak in person, so I was psyched. While his Twitter stream constantly pokes the bear that is ‘Big VC,’ there was clarity in his opinion while speaking live that I hadn’t gleaned from his blog.

And while Chris has openly knocked sports (my startup’s current focus), he’s exactly the type of entrepreneurial mind I’d love to have think through our business. 

3. Avner Ronen

I’ve been a fan of Avner’s for a while. Sure, Boxee itself is awesome, but it’s Avner’s story that is inspiring for me…

As he told the audience at TechStars For A Day, when Boxee was raising money they wanted specific investors on board. While their approach to the market changed a few times (from hardware device, to software, and back to hardware again), Avner was simply committed to “turning no’s into yeses.” That led to USV as a lead investor. Badass.

Thanks again to TechStars for having us. Awesome day all around.