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Episode Info: “You have to go through it to get to it.” – Sly Stone So, you’re building a company, are you? There is a lot of noise out there about startups, entrepreneurship, venture capital money, and the like. It would seem (with only slight exaggeration) that there are more books, podcasts, and thought pieces on the “startup journey” than there are new companies. Granted, some of it is practical information worth paying attention to, but where do you go when you’d like to be more introspective about what you’re creating in the world? In the following pages we offer a set of exercises that should help you see your young company in a more expansive light. Starting at Your Philosophical Center we dig into the values, mission, people and associations you make along the way. Then on to Fresh Perspectives with some fun techniques founded in open-mindedness including visualization, using constraints, mind mapping, and even deja vu . Then we come back to earth with The Tactical, our most useful survival techniques for hacking through the day-to-day and having the endurance to stay standing. We’ve built our company around a cause we really believe in, with people we trust and respect. Our hope is that the things we’ve learned along the way can help guide your entrepreneurial experience, and even help you enjoy the process. Before we started our company Next For Me we were time-tested Silicon Valley professionals known for our work in online communities, user experience, and research. After years of contributing to successful Fortune 500 companies, as well as participating in our share of startups, you might say we were quite independent-minded. We weren’t necessarily looking to start something new. But the market signals pointed to something big and meaningful that we couldn’t ignore. If we had planned to start a company, we could have followed the traditional Silicon Valley approach of hammering out a “minimum viable product” to win over venture capitalists, then we would try to prove a certain growth trajectory to get the capital to keep going. But we’d been down that path before, where there is a financial agenda and outsized obligation to an investor to fit a market into that equation. Lucky for us, this time, it didn’t work that way at all. We were becoming aware of bias against older workers in our world of tech. After working together on many successful projects for over twenty years, we had entered the aging demographic ourselves, and we were starting to run into roadblocks to new job opportunities. Not surprisingly, we were starting to see that age bias extends well beyond the tech industry. There are 120 million Americans over the age of 50 and many are ill-prepared for a time without an income, especially since we are now living 20 to 30 years longer. So there is an urgency about staying relevant in the workforce at a time when the workplace is explicitly looking for younger talent. Add socia...
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