Several days ago, Mark Suster wrote an excellent post on Learning to Say No to Meetings. I agreed with him wholeheartedly, as saying ‘no’ is still not something I’m great at. I truly want to help fellow entrepreneurs, as I know how many unknowns there are, and how much a little bit of help can save a lot of time (and, yes, this is despite my $1,000 entrepreneurship advice offer!)
In the early days of TeachStreet, people like Andy Sack (and his Tuesday morning Startup Coffees), Jason Mendelson/Brad Feld’s Ask the VC blog, Jason Kilar, Gregg Spiridellis, Dave McClure and others all helped with advice to my stream of questions and worries, and I’m trying to Pay that Forward.
But, if you’re an entrepreneur, you need to be able to learn to work thru those No’s. It reminds me of a story about a young Allen Iverson (or, it could have been some other lesser player like Tim Thomas). But, this basketball player was having trouble working around/through screens, and his coach was screaming at him that great players find ways to get where they need to go, and that’s all there is to it — you don’t see Michael Jordan or Magic being screened regularly, so get smarter, work harder, and just get where you need to go. More succinctly, Just Get It Done!
Several weeks ago, a young entrepreneur, Andrew Maguire told me about his startup, InternMatch — the gist is that there are large volumes of students looking for internships (and it isn’t just during the summer break), and the incidence of multiple internships has only been growing over the last 20 years. They aspire to create a best-of-breed service to help connect interns with great experiences at startups.
Anyway, he asked for help, and at some point I just had to say “No” to more intros and advice. But, he’s continued to send updates, press mentions, small questions, regularly attends Hops and Chops, and does a number of other/friendly actions to keep himself in the conversation — that is, he’s fought thru the screens, and is getting more access than if he’d just accepted the ‘no’. What’s even MORE, I actually admire his tenacity, because it’s one of the 149 different skills that successful entrepreneurs have to have… Andrew just doesn’t let no stop his progress — congratulations, Andrew, you get an ‘A’ for politely ignoring my Nos!