About a year ago, I was given an once-in-a-decade career opportunity: Join Adam Sachs & Dan Osit to help start Ignighter.com, an online group dating website, at Techstars, the startup incubator program based in Boulder, CO. Techstars typically takes a small equity stake in your company in exchange for a small amount of seed money, a summer of office space, mentorship, and connections.
While others have written extensively about the value of the Techstars program, from the perspective of their companies, I was in the somewhat different situation of evaluating my decision to leave my corporate job and join Ignighter at Techstars.
I made a weighted pro/con table of the options. Staying in Pennsylvania would be safe & conservative. I would continue to wallow in bureaucracy, process, suits, & ties. I would have little or no say in my workday or the work I was doing. Going to Colorado would be an adventure. There would be a complete vacuum of process, bureaucracy, and it would be completely up to my team & I to define how Ignighter.com worked.
With the benefit of hindsight, it was a no brainer to make the switch. At the time, it was a tough decision to pack up my life and move it across the country. In the end, the value came down to one last thing: If I joined Ignighter, I would like what I was doing for a living.
I’m a strong believer that when you truly & passionately enjoy what you do, money & success can and do follow. I work 40% more hours than I did before. But, that’s okay, because I relish it. I’m learning new technologies & APIs, meeting new interesting people, and defining a new niche, every hour of every day. I now feel a true sense of ownership for my work, myself, and a real sense that I control the destiny of my career.
So, if you’ve heard that Techstars applications are open, and you just gave them a passing glance, thinking it was too much of a long short, take another look. Applications are open now.