Jodi Goldstein: “The ultimate success of startup programs requires a long term strategy and a safe place to fail”
Accelerator and incubator programs are often make-or-break, one-and-done opportunities. Companies enter with a set goal of preparing for demo day or an award ceremony, and they build their businesses and polish their pitches for that singular event.
And then what? Demo Day is not the end, it is just the beginning.
What we have built is different. Our theory is that the traditional accelerator model, while an important component to the ecosystem, is not enough.
Today, I’m beginning the long journey of scoping, testing, and building an idea that hopefully will see the light of day — a new content brand and platform dedicated to content creators in marketing.
Along the way, I plan to document some of the things I’m doing and learning that might not normally get shared publicly. (This is my contribution to the “build in public” movement that’s become so popular in the startup world, from platforms like Product Hunt to apps like Buffer to companies like Gimlet Media. Here’s a great explainer of this idea from Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover.)
Facebook, Google and Twitter have to deal with outrageous amounts of spam and abuse. They hire teams of engineers to stop trolls, outwit bad actors and otherwise keep their walled gardens free of misanthropes. It’s a costly business.
Pete Hunt, Josh Yudaken and Julian Tempelsman worked on anti-fraud technologies at Facebook, Instagram and Google; they dealt with phishing, hacking and other challenges on a daily basis. Huge teams of Full-Time Employees, or FTEs, are charged with stopping these attacks at other companies, and it’s easy to imagine millions of dollars per year being spent on the problem. When Hunt, Yudaken and Tempelsman realized that most startups couldn’t afford to have anti-abuse teams of that scale, they quit to start a company called Smyte.
Now, the knowledge of the world’s leading experts is available as an API for a fraction of their former salaries.
One of the first engineering teams I was on had a lot of micromanagement. The tech lead did (unsolicited) reviews of everyone’s code, and also gave implementation tips for new features down to the “you should write a function called XYZ” level. If you’re not an engineer, that’s akin to giving a writer a list of paragraphs to include in their short story.
Senior developers on the team were frustrated by this level of micromanagement, but I thought it was great. My main programming experience was in college, and having a smart tech lead tell me exactly how he would implement each feature was a wonderful learning opportunity.
Technology. It has been a hobby of mine since 1981 when I fell in love with programming, applications and online games. My brain is wired for logic and for problem solving and computers have always helped me fill this compulsion.
And since I was 13 years old I have been accustomed to the debate about the limitations of technology or rather the downsides of being overly obsessed with gadgets, devices, software or applications. Every hour of Zork was an hour not on the soccer field or basketball court and every chat in Prodigy or CompuServe was an in-person chat not happening. I was blessed with a healthy extraverted side to accompany my inner computer geek so the balance never had negative consequences.”