Learning By Teaching at Startup Institute

Learning Must Be Serious And Difficult

I don’t think that teaching is actually the right word here. I had the fortune of collaborating for three hours with the sales track folks at Startup Institute and it immediately impacted my work. From a strictly sales ROI, I got wonderful introductions to great institutions such as Northwestern, Changing Our World, University of Toronto and others. An opportunity to get in front of a group and talk EverTrue is always a great way of getting alumni excited. While I would be happy enough with these connections, what makes teaching at Startup Institute different is the lens that this program gives it’s students. The premise of the program is simple—”to align passion with profession, and usher students into a life they love.” Who better to bounce ideas off of than the fresh faces of those who want to do exactly what you do? Eager, dedicated, and incredibly sharp, there is no better focus group for my sales pitch, decks, demos and ideas.

I came to the discussion not having prepared anything in particular but instead ready to lay my cards on the table. I spoke of my background and what brought me to EverTrue. Ten minutes in, I was consumed by the sponge that is SI. Questions ranged from funding to EverTrue’s earliest days to getting new clients and everything in between. Critical questions about building relationships, company inflection points, and the thinking behind our movement give the students an understanding of how I have lived this startup but also serve as a much needed time of reflection for me. It is not often (but it should be) that I get a chance to step away from day to day life at EverTrue and dive into what has brought us here. It is a wonderful and important exercise.

The second half of my time at SI, I brought out my lap top and iPhone and ran everyone through our sales deck, where I was hoping to go with our pitch, demos and the tools we use here for sales at EverTrue such as Yesware, Helpscout, and Boomerang. I received fantastic advice about the deck and implemented it immediately for my next GoToMeeting. The students gave a critical eye to my approach and presentation of our material. I think this open book approach is vital in truly getting as much out of SI as a resource as it can be. I also think the students enjoyed the candid conversation.

EverTrue as a company has a mutualistic relationship with Startup Institute. Many on our team teach during the sessions and we have now hired two SI alumni, Joanna and David.

I have not found any sounding board quite so valuable and must thank Startup Institute for the opportunity to sit along side this gifted class. If you have not connected with the team at SI, I urge you to do so – http://www.startupinstitute.com.



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