Following Chicago Ventures Summit and Ascent Conference in New York, we wanted to touch one of the most important topics in both business and everyday life of almost every person – how to fight stress and to succeed. There has been a lot said about embracing comfort. But did you realize that stress could be actually good for you? To discover pros and cons, do’s and don’t’s in the business world and beyond, we spoke with Jason Williamson, VP of Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem, a community that helps emerging startups to succeed in business and innovation.
CN: What are the key differences of your program in comparison to other startup accelerators?
JW: We are not in it to take equity; we are a “give back” community. Our value proposition is pretty unique. If startups can create something interesting, then we can help them understand how to mature into that environment, and that ecosystem. Additionally, they can also engage with our customers and establish their product-market fit.
CN: What are your top three suggestions for startups to survive and thrive?
JW: First, be prepared that the process is going to take longer than expected. For example, once you develop your product, it’s going to take a while to get your first customer. Second, wait with raising money until after you have at least initial product-market fit and first customers. Third, stay focused on your vision. Do not go outside your box to attract a customer.
CN: What are the top three things startups should absolutely avoid, and why?
JW: Don’t take money before you should. Stay focused on your product vision; don’t implement features that are outside your vision. Avoid hires, they will throw you years back – do not get new team members unless they will absolutely fit into your culture.
CN: Most of the time warm introduction means a lot for a new company. What are your suggestions to those who’re planning to approach their first investors or customers without one?
JW: One, clearly state the benefits to that person right away. Explain how you are uniquely, different better. The investor wants to find good ideas—be able to quickly communicate to the investor why their involvement is important to your goal. Know who your audience is; understand the investor’s strategy.
CN: What are your recommendations on how to fight stress and stay focused?
JW: Instead of thinking about how to avoid stress, embrace adversity, struggle and recognize the value of struggle. Struggle is a good thing—it is what builds our character. Innovation comes from struggle. Separate the ideal and reality. Ask how struggle is teaching you and building your character. Be reflective and write about your stress or struggle. Recognize that stress and adversary is a teacher. Recognize the tension and how it fits into your vision.
CN: Let’s dream for a second. If you would be able to have a device with an advanced innovative technology, what technology would it be?
JW: Now that I am in my 40’s, I’ve noticed there is a huge connection between what I eat and how my mind works. I would like a device that is perfectly in tune with my genes/DNK and can provide a piece of mind ahead of what I am eating. For example, it would tell me not to eat this because it will make me feel horrible tomorrow. A brain optimization app right inside my brain.
CN: What could be worse than slow Internet?
JW: I think there is actually a benefit in slowing life down, reading and reflecting.