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Saving Yourself (Or Your Startup) 3,333 Hours
The fast way? Stand on the shoulders of giants. The slow way? Figuring out everything on your own. A top-tier startup accelerator can save you 40 weeks. A great mentor can save you 80. Let’s dig in.
You’ve all heard the bold claims.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the “it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery” meme in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. The lesser-known follow-up claim was that the right mentor could reduce those hours by 1/3. That’s a massive amount of time! 3,333 hours is equal to 80 40-hour weeks. And yet, most people are unwilling to invest the time or the money to work with a mentor/coach for 2-3 hours/month.
Or what about this claim?
Startup accelerators like Y-combinator or Techstars promise to get your business 1-year further in 12 weeks. That’s 40 weeks saved! Now those 12 weeks might be the most stressful, intense weeks of your career. You’ll be immersed with dozens of mentors, advisors, investors, and other startup founders. It’ll be like drinking from the fire hose, which will level you up pretty damn quickly.
Of course, there is an alternative. You can always figure it out yourself.
You can find all the books and blog articles on the topic to gain knowledge. You can then try assimilating the pieces that matter the most to you. You can then take action, gauge the results, and iterate. You may stumble upon something novel and powerful that nobody has ever seen.
Or you could just be reinventing the wheel.
This is one of the reasons I love to mentor startup founders. They may grapple with difficult challenges for weeks without a clear way forward. Fortunately, I may have hit upon this same problem 2-3 times and tried 2-10 things that didn’t work and 2-3 things that did.
It doesn’t always happen, but it happens more often than not.
And when it does happen, hours/days/weeks are reclaimed to tackle the next problem and then the next.
Is this something of interest to you?
If I’m not a match, I know many startup CTOs and CXOs I can refer you to. At the very least, I would love to know your big hairy problems and whether I might already have some ideas on how you can take it on.