Avoid the Regret

Not pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity – inaction – may produce a sense of loss when someone else successfully develops the idea or when the entrepreneur looks back wondering what might have been had that entrepreneur only given it a try. (Economics: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, IRMA, 2015, p. 135)

Startups fail every day. The risk of failure is a serious barrier to entry for potential entrepreneurs. In some cases the failure falls squarely on the shoulders of those that had the idea in the first place. CB Insights found that 42% of startups fail because of no market need, also known as a solution looking for a problem. I would imagine the majority of these ideas were never properly validated, and there’s no excuse for skipping that crucial step. As Rudyard Kipling once said “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”

Sometimes the idea is fantastic but is executed bigger or better by a competitor. As long as they did everything they could, that’s not the fault of those that failed, it’s just something that happened. According to CB Insights, 19% of startups fail because they get out-competed. As Jean-Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.”

But what about failure to start? How many startups fail because their would-be founder never pursued their idea?

There are so many excuses.

“Someone else is already doing that…”

So what?! Then you should do it better to make sure YOUR idea comes to life in the right way.

“I don’t have time…”

This should actually say “it’s not a priority…”

“I’m the wrong age for that…”

The average age of the founders of Workday, a $1.16 billion, publicly traded, cloud-based financial management and human capital management software company was 52. Vivek Wadhwa and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Founder Institute have all done extensive research on this, and they found that founders 55 and older are two times more likely to launch a high-growth startup. Turns out you’re not too old after all.

“I’m afraid to fail…”

We’re all afraid, to differing degrees, of failure. It’s usually not an uplifting experience. Fear of failure is reasonable, but succumbing to it is not. We’re all afraid of something. Richard Branson is “generally a shy person” and is afraid of public speaking. Yes, the same Richard Branson that dressed in drag and served passengers on an Air Asia flight, is SHY and AFRAID of public speaking. Imagine the sheer size of his regret if he hadn’t said to hell with it 50+ years ago.

According to this author on PsyBlog “Regret isn’t just a backward-looking emotion, it also looks forward and it can be a terribly powerful emotion which affects our behavior in the here and now.” They also go on to say that anticipated regret (or how bad you think you’re going to feel if you fail) is usually stronger than the real regret that comes with failure! Because of this, we avoid taking risks, we avoid taking chances, and we play it safe as much and as often as we can.

I’m not telling anyone to go base jumping or squander their life savings on beanie babies, but what I am telling you is that failure happens and it’s OK. In fact, there are so many instances of failure spurring people on to amazing success:

  • J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times by various publishers.
  • Reed Hasting’s first iteration of Netflix was a total failure.
  • Oprah was told she was “too emotional” when she was fired from her first TV job.
  • James Dyson amassed 5,126 failed prototypes before perfecting his vacuum (he’s worth $4.5 billion these days).
  • Colonel Harlan Sanders had to pitch to over 1,000 potential investors before, at the age of 68, he finally hooked one.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a list I’d be happy to count myself a part of.

Eliminate your excuses.

Get a head start on turning your idea into a business.

Get help, get support, and get going. What are you waiting for? 

Register for Startup Weekend Louisville #10 – Right Now!

TaxSmack Takes the SWLex 2016 Title!



All the teams that competed this weekend did an excellent job; congratulations! We had skills and talents ranging from web developers to excellent public speakers and presenters! All our teams stayed fueled with food and caffeine from local sponsors such as Fazoli’s and Cup of Commonwealth. We all had lots of fun this weekend getting to know each other, sharing ideas, and participating in some friendly competition. This year, TaxSmack won first place for Startup Weekend Lex 2016 led by Paul Hamilton and Dave Gilbert!

Our top 3 teams were:

  1. TaxSmack- making it easier for 5M low-income households to claim missed tax savings
  2. Makify- a 3D printing app that can print out doodles and be mailed all over the world
  3. Whyoo- the Uber for automobile oil changes, where technicians come to you

The crowd favorites were Lannister app, a group payment app making group purchases a breeze, as well as Makify! All the teams had such impressive ideas and final pitches that our judges had a tough time deliberating the winner. There were lots of great ideas this weekend and some awesome presentations.

A few highlights from the weekend:

  • 63 attendees
  • 27 ideas pitched
  • 10 teams formed
  • 7 sponsors
  • 5 organizers
  • 4 coaches
  • 3 judges

The work from this weekend and the ideas pitched serve as an inspiration to us all that even one idea can be made a reality with a little hard work and awesome company! We are so excited to see the success of all the startups from this weekend. More information on all the teams from the weekend can be found here. A big thank you to all our sponsors, organizers, coaches, and judges. It was a great weekend!

Startup Weekend Lexington 2016 – Demo List

Startup Weekend Lexington 2016 kickoff

Here are the 10 demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Lexington 2016. Teams this year are taking part in the Global Startup Weekend, with more than 15k entrepreneurs at 200+ events around the world this week. For a quick recap of the weekend so far, check out pictures on Flickr and updates on Twitter.

  1. Bluegrass Expeditions
  2. Adventure Incentives
  3. Lannister App
  4. SOS Drones
  5. Flourish
  6. WHYOO
  7. Earned Wellness
  8. Makify
  9. DeeMO
  10. TaxSmack

SWLou Teams Chosen and Going Strong

We have eleven (11) teams that have formed and are competing this weekend at Startup Weekend Louisville #8.  For a quick recap of the weekend so far, check out pictures and updates on Twitter (@SWLouisville and #SWLou).  Interested in watching the pitches? Join us at 5pm on Sunday at our host, UofL College of Business (Harry Frazier Hall, 110 W. Brandeis Ave., Louisville, Kentucky 40292)

  • Socrates, an anonymous question asking application for the classroon
  • Ali Khushub, makes wooden accessories out of historic wood
  • Fun Gym, improves the gym experience for begginners
  • Aqui, a quantitative faculty and student attendance tracker
  • Moonshine Energy, connects Kentuckians with renewable resources
  • Outdoor Tailgating Game, a new game, kind of like cornhole
  • Lists, a coupon app associated with your grocery list
  • We Care/Notify, notifications for companies when employees or families when people pass away
  • Biblio Shop, facilitates college students selling items to each other within a certain area
  • Stundent Loan Payment App, an app that transfers micro amounts out of your accounts and actually makes student loan payments
  • Snap Hunt, helps you find snapchat users

Visualizing the Hustle

It takes more than an idea. Starting a business requires ambition, intelligence, passion, and a plan. It takes long nights of deep thinking, weekends spent glued to a computer, and the stomach to handle all the unexpected success and failure entrepreneurship brings.

Most of all, it takes hustle.

CEO and founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, spoke to a crowd of entrepreneurs at 2010’s Tech Cocktail Startup Mixology Conference. While there, he shared a nugget of entrepreneurial wisdom that helped ease the uncertainty that so often clouds startup development:

“Fear is the disease. Hustle is the antidote.”

For Startup Weekend Louisville’s 8th iteration, Forest Giant distilled Kalanick’s message into a design that reflected the spirit of Louisville’s entrepreneur community: hustle. Check out the video below featuring Creative Director Jon Shaw’s inspiration for the 2016 design.

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Forest Giant is company of designers, developers, and strategists driven by opportunities to solve complex problems using software and technology. Learn more about our latest project, Helm, at www.gohelm.io or view our work at www.forestgiant.com/work. Forest Giant is proudly based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville’s Startup Weekend Announces Speaker, Judges, & Sponsors

LOUISVILLE, KY – Startup Weekend Louisville returns March 11 – 13 at UofL College of Business with an impressive lineup of local experts and sponsors. This bi-annual event connects Louisville entrepreneurs, developers, designers and startup enthusiasts with mentors and resources. Throughout the course of this 54-hour event, attendees share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Startup veterans and mentors will be on hand throughout the weekend to provide expertise and give talks on their experiences in the fast-paced world of technology startups. The weekend will start off with an opening talk by entrepreneur and Capture HigherEd CEO, Steve Huey. Sunday’s closing judges include Stacy Griggs, CEO of El Toro; Jackie Willmot, COO of XLerateHealth (& UofL MBA); and Moses Icyishaka, Analyst at Chrysalis Ventures.

“Startup Weekend is a valuable asset to the city of Louisville. It brings the city together in support of entrepreneurship and innovation.” says new Lead Organizer Austin Lopesilvero. “The Software Guild, first-time signature sponsor, has played a significant role in making this weekend a reality. Forest Giant and Composable Systems have also stepped up to the plate, bringing both financial support and promotional material, including this year’s t-shirt design.”

Here’s how it works: On Friday night, attendees will take the open mic to pitch their ideas to the group in 60 seconds or less. After groups form, the rest of the weekend will be spent formulating the most popular ideas with the help of mentors and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. By Sunday, teams will be ready to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges who will award prizes, including legal services, pre-accelerators and more, all of which are targeted to continue to help teams build their startups after the weekend.

Other sponsors of the weekend include Humana, UPS, New2Lou, Connecting Things, The Mayor’s Summerworks Program, Fort Phelps Legal and Business Counsel, LaunchIt by Nucleus, and Derby Wars. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.StartupWeekendLouisville.org. Tickets are still available for purchase via Eventbrite.

About Startup Weekend Louisville: Startup Weekend Louisville is an intense 54-hour event where local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts and anyone interested in building a business will come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch a startup. Follow us on Twitter @SWLouisville.

About Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend™ supports the development and expansion of entrepreneurship through events worldwide that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. Startup Weekend has built a network of nearly 200,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and 100 trained facilitators spread across more than 300 cities in 150 countries. Kauffman Foundation, Google, Microsoft, .Co, Sendgrid and Cloudmine are sponsors. For more information, visit www.startupweekend.org or follow us on Twitter @startupweekend.


A Word from Our Sponsor: Forest Giant

Forest Giant will be sponsoring the eighth iteration of Startup Weekend Louisville to help develop the city’s growing business community. Founder and CEO Dave Durand has been an active participant from the start and recalls the early days before Startup Weekend Louisville began.

“When I moved to Louisville in 2004 there was a small entrepreneurial community. The web hadn’t blown up with chatter about startups; no one knew what a VC or a term sheet was. In 2010 we got involved with bringing accelerators to Louisville. Although the city really struggled to support those startups once they graduated, they empowered the startup community to see that there are outlets for them to learn and engage in building businesses. From that time period Startup Weekend emerged.”

Since the very beginning, Durand and the Forest Giant team have set out to innovate and inspire. Ranging from city-enhancing projects like Resurfaced to city-centric apps like Louisville Love, Forest Giant has played an active role in developing and representing the city. Sponsoring an event like Startup Weekend Louisville is in the same vein: making Louisville better, together.

During Startup Weekend Louisville’s inaugural event in 2012, the Forest Giant founder played a dual role as mentor and participant. Durand collaborated with three other local tech and business professionals to create CityAnchor, a blog aggregator that showcased the best Louisville-centric blogs in one place. Although competition was fierce, the team won.

“I have a special place in my heart for Startup Weekend to not only teach new entrepreneurs, but creatives, developers, and all minds alike. Startup Weekend is an essential piece for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Louisville. I am really excited that we have it here and am honored to play a part in helping to push the effort forward.”

Forest Giant is proud to be a part of the growth of entrepreneurs in the city of Louisville. The growth, energy, and good that will come from this year’s event and the events for years to come is something we are delighted to be a part of.

About Forest Giant

Forest Giant is company of designers, developers, and strategists driven by opportunities to solve complex problems using software and technology. Learn more about our latest project, Helm, or view our work at www.forestgiant.com. Forest Giant is proudly based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hustle, Tips to Generating Revenue with Startup Weekend

About the author: Glenn Vicary participated in Louisville’s 7th Startup Weekend in 2015..

Startup weekend might be competition, but the experiences you gain are the real prize. It’s a great weekend full of new experiences and connections. This year, startup weekend is located at the University of Louisville College of Business, a great place with history of entrepreneurship. Everyone can read books and talk about achieving their ideas, but why not spend two days making it a reality? Start-up weekend is a crazy blur of working on an idea with people and help making it happen. Each person is unique, which is why startup weekend groups people into three categories; hustler, programmer and designer. This way, individuals can use their strengths, or develop new ones.

Do you know how to convince a stranger to buy a new product? Your widget will need a great website and a way to accept payment. How about making cold calls to find experts to give input in your business’s formation? Now what about within a 48-hour period?

We finally settled on creating a pizza Priceline service. By the end of the weekend, we had created a website, developed a working contract with local pizzerias, received angry phone calls from hotels for soliciting their customers, and most importantly, sold pizzas to people GENERATING REVENUE! More importantly, we had developed a tremendous network of friends and contacts.

It’s a great process, because you are given the opportunity to pitch your own ideas, but also choose which team you would like to work with. Additionally, they always have great mentors who are there to help you develop your project and and skillset. I highly recommend participate in this rewarding opportunity.

RSVP for Startup Weekend #8 today!
Note: Early bird pricing ends Friday, February 12 at 11:59PM.

If you read this post after March 11-13, 2016, always visit http://www.louisvillestartupweekend.org for the next event.

Startup Weekend Louisville Returns On March 11-13

During the weekend of March 11 – 13, Louisville will once again become a hotbed of startup activity.  Startup Weekend Louisville is a 54-hour event with a place for almost anyone – entrepreneurs, product developers, designers, makers, students, artists, engineers, marketers and inventors.  At Startup Weekend they’ll connect with peers, resources and mentors to help them jumpstart their business ideas. The College of Business at the University of Louisville, home to nationally ranked entrepreneurial programs, will host Startup Weekend Louisville.

How Startup Weekend Works

A Startup Weekend is unique – there’s nothing else like it. It’s not a pitch contest, it’s not a hackathon and it’s not a business plan competition. On Friday night attendees with new, undeveloped business ideas can make a 60-second pitch to the audience. After choosing the most popular ideas through a voting process, teams form organically around them. Then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, market validation with customers, and building a minimally viable product. Entrepreneurial leaders from the community offer support and critical feedback on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday evening each startup team presents to a panel of judges who select a winner. To help foster the nonstop startup experience, Startup Weekend includes meals and snacks for participants.

Like most startups, Startup Weekend Louisville runs on a shoestring budget – all of the organizers, mentors and judges are volunteers, and local sponsors contribute money, goods or services to help offset the cost of the event.  Participants can register by visiting StartupWeekendLouisville.org

Louisville’s First Startup Weekend at The University of Louisville

Startup Weekend Louisville will be hosted at the University of Louisville College of Business.  “UofL College of Business students, alumni and faculty share a rich history of entrepreneurship and are frequently recognized in national and international rankings.  We are honored to host Startup Weekend’s budding entrepreneurs and look forward to what they create during the weekend event,” commented Interim Dean Dr. Rohan Christie-David.

Suzanne Bergmeister, a Startup Weekend volunteer, mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville added.  “As the Entrepreneur in Residence, I share with students that no business plan or idea survives first interaction with customers.  Startup Weekend’s format teaches rapid feedback from potential customers so that the ideas can be quickly refined and improved.”

About Startup Weekend

Since its founding in Boulder, CO in 2007 over 1,500 Startup Weekends have been held in over 400 cities around the world. Over 100,000 entrepreneurs have been involved, and over 8,000 startups have been created. Google, Amazon Web Services and Coca-Cola are sponsors.

High School Senior Leads Team JobTrack to SW Lex Victory

Monica and Nerf from team JobTrack

Congratulations goes out to all the teams that participated in Startup Weekend Lexington 2015. We had some incredible technical achievements, including virtual-reality software and 3D-printed hardware. We ate some delicious food and stayed well-caffeinated with drinks from Ale8 and Common Grounds. And we had lots of fun, from building paper towers, to pulling all-nighters getting a prototype ready, and making new friends and potential future business partners. Following in the footsteps of SW Louisville, this year’s SW Lex event was won by a team led by Isaac Rowe (aka Nerf), a high school senior. JobTrack’s team includes Monica Leslie and Will Swinton-Ginsberg.

Our top three teams were:

  1. JobTrack – an eTranscript to connect online learners with job recruiters
  2. IntraFeed – an internal business solution for gathering employee feedback
  3. Lapper – advanced human / dog shared hydration device

These teams scored higher on the judging criteria, which included Customer Validation, Execution / Design, and Business Model. Our top 3 teams will go on to represent SW Lex in the Global Startup Battle – Champions Track. Lapper was also recognized as the community favorite team, while PikaPic received honorable mention from the judges, and VReader was highlighted for its Big Idea and technical achievement.

A few stats on this event:

  • 68 total attendees
  • 45 participants
  • 28 ideas pitched on Friday
  • 9 teams formed
  • 7 startups presented on Sunday
  • 7 sponsors
  • 6 organizers
  • 6 coaches
  • 3 judges (from 3 cities in KY)

The story of last year’s winner, FinanceU, should serve as a reminder to all our teams of what can grow out of Startup Weekend. Since SW Lex 2014, FinanceU has entered other startup pitch contests, raised over $15k on Kickstarter, and launched a fully-functional product.