We’ve all watched the explosion of venture capital, angel investing and rapid scaling of businesses over the last few decades. The epicenter of innovation occurred in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley developed a Gold Rush persona that attracted individuals from all over the world. Over the decades. Silicon Valley became known for having the formula to turn an idea into billion dollar company, seemingly overnight.
Personally, I’ve been out of the excitement and opportunity of being an entrepreneur for the last few years entangled with five lawsuits after my second drug and alcohol treatment center exploded, publicly. Thankfully, all my lawsuits are over; I have left the courtroom and returned to the land of entrepreneurial opportunity. One characteristic of being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to find opportunities in the middle of difficulties. One of the first steps an entrepreneur does is take inventory, internally and externally.
After I left my private screening of LA Law and began looking around, I noticed an increase in business accelerators (incubators) around Los Angeles. Twenty-five years ago as a young entrepreneur, it was evident that having a fertile and nurturing environment to launch my company would be immensely helpful. Back then at the entrepreneurial water cooler, we all used to talk about business incubators (accelerators), but they were few and far between. Today, it seems that the “accelerator” has arrived. FYI it appears the “PC” word for helping a business find its path to success is “accelerator,” and not “incubator.” Whatever the correct term, I’m grateful to have them.
At 54, broke, my last two companies killed, the added fun of having a bunch of rumors floating around the Internet; I’m pounding the streets, with my devoted business plan in hand, attempting to find the opportunity in the middle of difficulty. I’m an entrepreneur, not a scientist, researcher, or historian. Many times, my next big idea originates in something that I want that I can’t find or isn’t there.
I started to think about “business accelerators” and Silicon Valley. What typically happens is an entrepreneur sends their business plan (“idea”) to an accelerator, angel investor or VC. The idea sparks an interest from the accelerator, angel investor or VC and the entrepreneur, after being vetted, gets invited into the inner sanctum of venture opportunity.
As a 54-year-old, I’m not the “young” tech entrepreneur. I’m starting over after two public business failures. I had a reputational scandal fueled by a gossip columnist. I’m living with financial wreckage caused by the failed companies and the years of litigation. I haven’t been in the entrepreneurial game in over a three-year period. This morning when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a “business beauty queen” looking back.
So I started to fantasize about meeting my business fairy godmother that would turn my pumpkin into a carriage, and I’d once more get the invitation to the entrepreneur’s ball held each year at Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Accel’s holiday parties.
OK, I won’t hold my breath for my business fairy godmother. However, just like I instinctively knew that there was a formula to take an idea, refine it, test it, grow it, scale it, and sell it, which evolved into the business accelerator. What if we built a factory for turning out fairy godmothers, or more realistically, we create a system of accelerating human potential. We apply the same methodology that helped create a “business” accelerator” and we build the “human accelerator.”
One of the features of technology that Venture Capital firms love is scalability. Technology that catches on spreads quickly and inexpensively. What about human potential? Is it scalable? Is it inexpensive? My answer to both questions is yes.
I just finished reading a book by Google’s Laszlo Bock called “Work Rules.” In it, Mr. Bock describes the evolution of Google’s People Operations. While I was reading it, I wondered if we could use Google’s People Operations’ system of identifying and developing human talent outside of Google?
Here are a few highlights from Work Rules:
Create a mission
Give people a voice
Find what the best people are doing and replicate it
Today, I’m on the entrepreneurial sidelines. I haven’t been invited to the VC ball this year. I haven’t found or don’t know where to look for the human accelerators in my community. If someone knows of one, please let me know.
I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of success and failure. Financially, I’ve had nothing and more than I need. With or without the human accelerator, I’ll be OK. But will I be able to maximize my human potential without the human accelerator?
If I need it, would it help other people? I’m going to ask my fairy godmother to build a billion human accelerators to give others the opportunity of tapping into their human potential. My hope is that by the time I’m 74, I look around and see all the human accelerators helping people all over find passion, productivity, and purpose.