So I got into the office early today, 7 AMish, and was surprised to find one of the founders of DreamIt sitting with three well-dressed Asian dudes on the couch. I am an inherently curious person and I came over to take a little listen. I sat down and asked if I could observe quietly. Remember, always ask.
In the next half an hour this is what I heard –
* DreamIt was founded with the intention of being an educational setting for startups. Many of the founders wished they had this kind of help when they started up and wanted to make sure something Iike it existed for the future.
* Question: “Would you rather pay Harvard $200,000 for a piece of paper or get paid $25,000 to learn just as much in a fraction of the time?”
* Asia is a fierce startup market and would be a great market for this startup system by mixing Chinese, American, and Indian students together in a multi-national setting.
* The intention of DreamIt is not to make a bunch of quick cash. The care and support teams are given is meant to help them incubate and sustain ideas that could go into the marketplace and become great ideas.
* “Dreamers”, I will call them, are encouraged to bootstrap (not take money from outside investors) for as long as possible.
* The connections that survive the summer are extremely profitable and often lead to a multitude of career opportunities for many of the alumni.
* One last one: Korean people, even though they live in China, don’t necessarily speak Chinese.
I don’t want unnecessary knowledge – no one does. But that’s mostly what we receive because, for the most part, I don’t think we’re really often listening. Listening doesn’t just require keeping your tongue quiet, but keeping your mind quiet, too.
Later in the day I started a conversation with a dude on the couch who was reading about iPads in preschools. I learned that he was an alum from last year from a company called Pocket Tales. He then proceeded to inform me of several companies that are in our market that I knew nothing about – Vook and Book Glutton. Even though I had heard of Vook three times before now, I finally humbled myself to say I didn’t know what it was and found the information to be extremely important. He is a valuable ally in making the dream of newquill come to life since he’s already spent a whole summer living in this space.
We don’t know everything – which means that we have to listen.
Be open to what is out there and take the time to listen to what is happening around you. Stay aware at all times. When you’re in a face to face conversation with someone, if you have to, scream “Listen!” to yourself loudly in your head to really listen to what the other person has to say. If you’ve found yourself speaking to them, it is an opportunity for you to learn.
And I’m all about learning.