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Boston Startup School
Steve Percoco and Caren Cioffi of Brightcove lead the Boston Startup School marketing and sales tracks on a lesson about communication with each other in the workplace.


Being a founder is difficult, to say the least. You spend countless hours working on your idea, forget to eat and shower, lose sleep, and your friends have submitted a photo of your missing face to milk carton companies. You have even applied to a few startup accelerators, but haven’t had any actual success. It’s frustrating because you keep iterating and improving the product. If you’re already doing these things, how can you develop the best company? Easy. Work on developing a better founder: yourself.

A company’s idea is important, but not as important as its leadership. Perhaps what’s holding your company back is that you aren’t at the professional level necessary in order to effectively build a successful, profitable startup. So how do you improve your own personal and professional development?

Recent programs have been developed that are aimed at teaching highly applicable skills for the entrepreneurial tech industry. If you’re committed to becoming a web developer, then Dev Bootcamp can teach you Ruby on Rails in just ten weeks. Of course you will learn the skills to code, but perhaps more importantly, you will learn how to be a professional coder. Maybe you’re interested in product design or want to pursue a career in marketing. In that case, you’re going to need Boston Startup School. With tracks in product design, marketing, sales, business, and web development, BSS takes a holistic approach to teaching skills. Focused on recent college graduates and career-changers, Boston Startup School will lead you through six weeks of intensive curriculum about in-demand skills, guide you through workshops on personal growth, and teach you how to network at a high speed.


Aaron O’Hearn, former program manager of Techstars in Boston, now co-founder of Boston Startup School, says that the program is a great career move for both current founders and aspiring entrepreneurs:

Going through Boston Startup School shows the community that you’re serious about making your company successful because you’re committed to learning the skills that will make it all happen. We will challenge the way you think about your business and you’ll learn how to operate in a lean startup setting. Along the way, you will meet dozens of people who will support and fight for you and your vision.

Katie Rae, managing director of Techstars in Boston, sees the program as a great opportunity for founders to grasp, in her words:

The systematic way of thinking about progress. Early in your career, these concepts are foggy and Boston Startup School can bring clarity.

Katie Rae’s partner in Project 11 and Techstars, Reed Sturtevant, echoes her sentiments and says that these programs help founders listen well and learn quickly from peers and colleagues who both push and challenge.


After you develop your own skills through Boston Startup School, there’s no better way to learn how to lead an early stage startup than to actually work for one. Kailey Raymond, co-founder of inLieu Giving, attended Boston Startup School and then joined the team full time as their Customer Success Manager. “I aim to become a better founder, first, by being a better learner,” Raymond tells us. Between the skills Raymond learned in the sales and business development track and working side-by-side with O’Hearn, she discovered what really motivates her and just how far she has to go from here. “I have already learned more than I could have ever imagined. Sales, marketing, operations, development, you name it. If I want to experience it, all I have to do is ask. And what better way to learn than by doing?” Find a CEO or founder that you admire and become an employee of their company. BSS believes that there’s no better way to learn to be a founder than to work for one.

We’re admitting students in to our Fall class which starts November 5th. You can apply here or learn more about the program and why it might be for you. If you can’t commit to a full time program, companies like General Assembly and Intelligent.ly provide single day classes and workshops on specific subjects. The important thing is to keep moving and challenging yourself. If you cease to learn, you cease to improve.

Kelly McDonald