How TechStars and Tech meetups remind me of MFA programs and sewing circles

So we’re heading to week three at TechStars, and while the problems we want to solve have changed, the products wer’re building have shifted 180 degrees.On one hand, this is marvelous–we’re going to get real products into the market and used by customers sooner than we thought; on the other hand. 

But as we narrow and focus our ideas to deliver something small, I am also working to make sure our product strategy and our actual roadmap remain large, so that we don’t narrow our business as we focus our releases.  Managing this process in myself makes me wonder if companies who are successful through TechStars will end up with very similar approaches to development and iteration, and that in turn, makes me think about the days when I thought of goiing to grad school to get an MFA in Poetry(which I never did.)  Back then, one of my concerns was that I’d lose my own voice and sound like an “Iowa” writer. Will this be a similar thing? I don’t think so, but the comparison–and how influenced I am by the very smart, common sense feedback and great perspectives the mentors share–does make me smile.

On a similar note, I’m thinking about how the kind of meet up I am in the middle of right now, hanging with a bunch of programmers and their Apple machines, around a big table in the back of The Cup, is like a digital sewing circle (sorry, guys.) We’re all working, focused on our machines, and yet there is an easy comraderie and some shared talk and chatter. It’s good energy, lightening the load of the day with companionship and shared purpose, and a  change of scenery (some of these folks work together and this is the satellite office.)