Top 5 Things I Learned at The EC
1. "People don’t buy what you do, they buy how you do it." - Michael Burcham
This is the principle of the Golden Circle and one of my favorite quotes from EC CEO Michael Burcham, - always start with the “why”. What difference do you want to make? What drives your own personal vision and mission? Why do you get out of bed in the morning fired up, and why should people care? Starting with the “why” is a highly effective tool of persuasion, and following this principle will entirely change the daily opportunities available to you. The truly successful entrepreneurs at the EC are the ones who have taken this principle to heart. You give them 30 seconds just to chat and by the end of their allotted time you are willing to follow them to the ends of the earth - that’s how much their passion and dedication shine through.
2. True perseverance doesn’t come without some degree of personal risk.
Almost everybody working out of the EC understands this statement. These are people who have dedicated their time and often their personal finances on developing their ideas into investable businesses. Some of them have even quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. They are willing to risk it all to make their dreams a reality, and that can be a really scary place to be - always on the precipice between success and utter failure. The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often simply the will to persevere.
3. The importance of keeping a cool head.
Nobody wants to follow a hot-headed leader. Tenacious leaders conserve their personal and emotional strength and the emotional resources of those around them by always staying calm and collected. If you are ever faced with the task of calming a hothead, however, the best way to do so is to keep them talking. The longer they keep talking the more idiotic they begin to sound to themselves. With entrepreneurs, even the tiniest of issues can seem like a major crisis. The leaders who are most successful at the EC are those that never seem frazzled. Recently I discovered that one of the entrepreneurs was faced with a truly make-or-break situation that could have very easily taken a turn for the worst. I was with him the entire week that he was dealing with that situation and I never had the slightest inclination that anything was going on. Had he not told me at the end of the week when he had finally dealt with the situation (and lived to tell the tale), I never would have known - he perpetually maintained his calm and didn’t let the situation affect every aspect of his life. I was very impressed - not sure I would have been able to do the same.
4. Nashville is an awesome place to be right now.
I grew up in Nashville and I lived here for 18 years. I never could have possibly imagined how quickly the city would develop over the past few years. Nashville is the place to be right now, especially for entrepreneurs. The Nashville marketplace has just really started to hit its stride, and I am really excited to come back in the next couple of years and see how much the city has grown.
5. Working doesn’t have to suck.
This is possibly the most valuable piece of information I have learned at the EC. If you hate your job because your real passion is this idea that you’ve been working on and developing for the past couple years, I highly encourage you to take a trip to the EC and just talk with some of the folks there. Everyone at the EC was in the same position as you at some point, but now they are loving life because they are finally able to pursue their passions and dreams. Seriously, work doesn’t have to be boring, and it won’t be if you follow your passions.
Barry Goldsmith is a rising Sophomore at Georgetown University studying International Business and Finance and assisting in Georgetown's first ever startup weekend.