In Q1 of this year, I had the pleasure of running Techstars Cloud alongside Jason Seats. It was a crazy time in my life, I was recuriting and going through applications for Techstars Boulder, I temporarily moved my whole family to Texas for the Cloud program, and I had a new baby just barely a month old.
I was really there just to be a resource for Jason as he ran his first program – making sure he avoided the same mistakes we all made our first time through. I quickly realized that not only did Jason not need my help, but he was going to fast outpace me as a Managing Director. Let me tell you why Jason makes such an amazing Techstars Managing Director, and how if I were an entrepreneur, I’d take my company through the Cloud program.
- Jason’s an entrepreneur himself with a successful exit under his belt. He’s fought the battle. He 100% knows what you’re going through.
- Jason’s a deep thinker. (Contrast this to me. I can think deeply only if you get my attention long enough for me to submerge into your problem). He thinks about everything. He looks at it from multiple angles. He comes up with multiple hypothesis. He frequently argues with himself until he comes up with a position that he thinks is the right one. I LOVE this approach in entrepreneurship because he purposefully looks around at all the data and thinks critically before making a recommendation.
- He dives in, all the way. He’ll be in cell ZZ4892 of your spreadsheet if you let him. He’ll interview hires with you if you want. He’ll sit on customer calls. He doesn’t just roll up his sleeves, he puts on the freaking dry suit and gets all the way in. It’s awesome and inspiring to watch, and his teams love him for it.
- He wears his emotions on his sleeve. So if he’s not happy with you, you’ll know it. If he’s proud, you’ll know it. You never have to worry about him “grinfucking” you.
- He’ll calls them like he sees them. This is sort of the same thing as #4. You can rest assured that he’s being 100% honest with you, at all times, about everything.
- He’s not sympathetic, he’s empathetic. He’ll feel your pain right along with you.
- He has the respect of everyone he works with. EVERYONE. When we were interviewing him for the position, I tried hard to find someone who would say something negative about him, or say what his weaknesses were. (I had basically already decided he was our guy, I just wanted to make sure we could build in support around his weaknesses). I talked to probably 15 people, even ones he didn’t know I was talking with, and not one person said anything bad about him. And it’s true. I have zero bad things to say about the guy. Why is this important? Because when he picks up the phone to call an investor/mentor/customer/whatever on your behalf, people will answer the phone.
- He’s a monster executor. This actually surprised me about him. Usually the thinker guys aren’t the executor guys, but he is.
- He’s uber-responsive. I don’t think he ever has more than 3 emails in his inbox. It stresses him out to see that little red number there. Don’t believe me? Send him an email and test it. I bet he responds within minutes.
- He wrangled mentors like the best of us. He’s great at getting the mentors bought in, participating, and deeply engaged. Just awesome.
- He’s a software engineer. He speaks your language and can help think through architecture, scaling, and more.
- He’s instinct and gut on things is spot on, even on the business side.
- He talks in metaphors. I love this quality. It’s hilarious and awesome and creative. I miss the daily metaphor from Jason.
Jason is going to kill me when he reads this. But this isn’t to flatter Jason. This is to spread a little of the Jason magic to entrepreneurs that aren’t sure the Cloud program is the right one for them. I bet that it’s the best thing you ever do for your startup. Hurry – early application deadline is October 14th, with the final deadline being November 4th. Apply now!