Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RE: Startup Accelerators

We are respectfully dropping out of the application process. As I found the request for a coding entrance exam both insulting and irrelevant.

Nothing stands between and entrepreneur and a successful enterprise other than his own follies. Therefore, I'm finding it more and more concerning that accelerator programs are inserting themselves as the educational institutions of entrepreneurism.

The obvious analogy I'm drawing is between accelerators and higher education institutions such as universities. Both promise hard assets such as access to knowledgeable individuals, invaluable network creation, and tool set for a promising career. They also both promise soft assets such as "the time of your life". There are, however, many negative sides to higher education.

I primarily want to focus on the fact they create a barriers to entry that may be difficult for some individuals to overcome. These people maybe incredibly intelligent, creative, or energetic to fault. They may not test well or function in a class room environment. Sadly, such individuals may be disregarded via standardized testing or traditional grading methodologies.

It is exactly these people who are changing the world through entrepreneurism. Call them "the dreamers", "the crazy ones", whatever, but they are the ones who invent the future.

I find it absolutely reprehensible there is a trend of startup accelerators seeking to streamline the process of validated entrepreneurism through the use of standardized testing, essays, applications and other admissions processes parallel to systems that have already failed the exact individuals who need affirmation, funding, and mentorship.

Furthermore, I believe metrics collected via standardized means will do nothing to ensure successful a startup, and hence a strong investment portfolio. Building a great business is an art; building great software is an art. If you are going to invest in art you have to love the art, the artist, or both. Investors and mentors for startups have to be as visionary as the entrepreneurs themselves.

Thank you very much for considering our application. I wish you the best of luck in finding meaningful products and driven visionaries.

JBG

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