On December 16, Red e App’s Product Director Patrick Goodman had a conversation about entrepreneurship and community involvement with Suzanne Bergmeister, Entrepreneur in Resident at the University of Louisville, at Leadership Louisville.
Throughout the discussion, there were three general entrepreneurial themes:
- An idea isn’t worth anything if you do not act on it. People have ideas every day. How often have you told your friend “I have a great idea for an app” but did not act on it? Ideas are great, but execution is the key to giving an idea worth.
- Entrepreneurs live in a world of ambiguity. Every day will be a roller coaster of emotion and tasks, and you must be comfortable with that or you will fail.
- Don’t solve your problem, solve your customers problem. If you want to be successful, think like your customers and provide a solution for them. Have regular conversations with companies in your target market and ask them what their pain points are. In terms of software, there is plenty out there that can be improved on. Figure out what that need is instead of creating another social network.
— Amee Kent (@ameekent) December 16, 2014
After discussing entrepreneurship as it pertains to Red e App, the general culture of entrepreneurship in Louisville was discussed. Louisville, in terms of entrepreneurship, is a young city, so the question was posed to Patrick: What can the community do to support local startups?
Communities can support local startups without working at a startup or handing over cash. In the Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo the option of the red or blue pill: if he takes the blue pill, he remains ignorant of the Matrix, if he takes the red pill, he lives in the uncomfortable world of awareness of the Matrix.
Patrick likes to make a similar analogy for communities supporting entrepreneurs, but he gives a third option … a purple pill.
- You can take the blue pill and go back to your office cubicle – you can be comfortable there and let entrepreneurs fend for themselves (and likely lose them)
- You can take the red pill and become an entrepreneur, or
- You can take of the purple pill. If you take the purple pill, you support local entrepreneurs by using their product and referring other companies to them. You don’t have to give them millions of investment dollars, just help them grow one lead at a time. You just have to take on a little risk to help, not a lot of risk.
With or without the external help of the community, there are some keys to entrepreneurship that are internal. The first key is never give up. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be hard headed and never change your product. Quite the contrary: often it is best to give up on an idea to pursue a better one. This just means never give up on being an entrepreneur. The second key is to put yourself in your customers shoes. You must be empathetic and develop a product for them, not you.
A big thank you to Leadership Louisville for having us, we had a blast.