TechStars: Episode 8: Your Best Friend

I hope you are enjoying the TechStars video series as much as I am.  This week’s video – Episode 8: Your Best Friend is a special one.  Early on Jeffrey Kalmikoff of Threadless has a great line which is “give me your pitch, but give it to me as if you are giving it to your best friend.”  I’ve gotten to know Jeffrey over the past year and I think he’s as brilliant as this line is, although you need to think about it for a few minutes to really understand it.

Much of the video explores the lives of Nate and Natty of Everlater.  They get punked by a couple of girls during the video (fun!), but there are some important and touching moments between each of them as well as Natty’s folks.  If you step back from it, you realize most of the video is about friendship.

Creating a company from scratch is a bitch.  I’ve done it a couple of times and participated in the creation of many other companies as an angel or VC investor.  Yesterday I was sitting with a young, first time entrepreneur who asked “what are the most important characteristics I need to have to improve my chance of being successful.”  I responded with two old saws – he needed to be intensely passionate about what he was doing and he needed to be singularly focused on creating his business.

When I watched the TechStars video later in the day, I thought about this conversation and realized I could have given his a simpler, but more abstract answer.  He needed to treat his startup the same way he’d treat “his best friend.”