This is part of an ongoing series of posts by our Entrepreneur in Residence, Kosta Ligris, focused on guidance for the student teams taking part in our MIT delta v accelerator.
“Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.”
-– Idowu Koyenikan
I remember my first vacation after I had started my firm. It was the furthest thing from relaxing or enjoyable. My vacation just turned into work from a remote location I wasn’t prepared to take time off.
I remember the first time I taught a class. I was nervous. I had reviewed the outline and my notes and rushed into the classroom. I was asked questions I didn’t expect. I wasn’t prepared to teach that class.
I remember my first organic chemistry exam, and I wish I could forget it and erase it from my mind. I wasn’t prepared for that exam.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
-– Benjamin Franklin
There are moments in our lives, personal and professional, that should give us a great sense of accomplishment and pride. These moments should be fun and provide us with a lifetime of memories and stories.
I remember walking out of the second day of the bar exam 40 minutes before time was up. Eyes looking at me march up the aisle in the World Trade Center Boston. My tense shoulders dropped, and a smile of relief and joy appeared as I pushed open the doors to the foyer. I was so happy; years of preparing for this exam had led me to this moment. I was prepared for that exam.
Nothing will give me greater joy than to see each and every team pitch on Demo Day. Some of you may have heard me playfully complain that all my friends and family spent this summer in Greece. I got pictures, videos, and FaceTime calls from the beach.
But if I could do it all over, I would once again spend my summer working with you in delta v. If I have contributed to you, your teams, your business … I am honored to have played a role in your journey.
Thank you for letting me push you, challenge you, and even bet against you (for motivation). I have learned so much from this cohort and our speakers, staff, and guests. If I can impart some advice in this final EIR reflection to the 2019 cohort … always be prepared.
Finally, know that building a business is stressful stuff. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and certainly not for the weak of heart. The highs are high, but the lows are low.
It can be lonely; it can be frustrating. But never forget that it should be fun. Laugh at yourself, pick yourself up, shake it off and learn the lessons. And again, above all, always be prepared. Expect the unexpected, in fact, plan for it. Practice pitches, interviews, and scenarios as well as how to react to surprises and challenges. You really can never be over-prepared. But remember to not get so lost in your work that you never get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
-– Elbert Hubbard
No hyperlinks this week to stories. No TED Talk for you to watch. No podcast recommendation. Just an ask:
Make us proud over the next couple of weeks.
Prepare and lean on us EIRs and each other for help. When people ask me “what is it like to be a mentor or an EIR?” I tell them it’s the 80/20 rule. 80% is motivating people and 20% is actual advice.
So in closure this week, read a little Dr. Seuss – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“You’ll get mixed up, of course,
As you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
With many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s
A Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”