Ever tried to drink from a firehose? Believe me you don't want to.
Starting a business is in many ways no different: you're drinking from a firehose of blogs, podcasts, books, courses and forums, an overwhelming amount of information that often leaves you more confused than when you started.
Here's a better way.
This is about you and helping the entrepreneurship ecosystem, not me.
When we say internship the first thing that comes to mind is mindless work companies don't want to pay for and throw at interns in exchange for a line on their CV.
That's not the point here.
You are not working for me. At best you are working with me. But really you are working for the startup community at large and yourself.
I'm on a mission to give back and support entrepreneurship because where I come from lots of things are broken and the existing powers don't care to fix them. I believe that entrepreneurs can shake things up by innovating and, as a business bottom up movement, get where governments and big companies don't dare to go.
If you look at startups as your chance to be rich and famous since you couldn't make it as a rock star, I wish you best of luck and you can stop reading here. Really, not judging anybody and I truly wish you the best, but we're not compatible so no point in working together.
I started SpikeLab to help people that need support right now, right where they are. This internship is no different: you don't need to move, go to an office or anything like that.
I worked and managed remote teams for most of my life so I know that not only it's possible, but it's also incredibly beneficial if you know how to work with it. Don't worry, you won't miss water cooler conversations and I promise you will be highly engaged if you want to.
When I started my first business I picked up as many books, blogs and podcasts I could and devoured them. I wanted a strong foundation and a sense of understanding what I was going to do.
After about 6 months of absorbing everything I could find instead of feeling more secure about the product I wanted to build I was more confused.
I guess this is why so many entrepreneurs just ignore the questions and go ahead and build stuff. If only it worked (and I admit I tried that too, no dice, just wasted time and money).
I had a tons of questions and nobody to ask. That turned out to be the biggest limiting factor of my career to that point.
We often praise heroes as the super humans that don't need anybody else, the geniuses at the top, but what I learned is that the top dogs are actually the ones with the strongest network and who most often rely on a selected group of peers to ensure things play out the way they thought.
Building a strong network of friends and collaborators is to date one of the most useful things I've ever done, but the process has nothing to do with fake networking events where people go to shake hands and exchange business cards.
You build a good network by being helpful. One of the most important gigs in my life, co-running the Lean Startup Circle, and one of my dearest friends, Tristan, both materialized after I volunteered to help moving tables and cleaning up for an event.
And I've heard similar stories over and over again when I asked how others got crucial opportunities.
And volunteering isn't just a matter of entering somebody's grace, especially if they are the kind of smart people you want to hang out with they'll see through that limited intention if that's all you have.
More importantly it's an opportunity to see someone experienced doing what you hope to do yourself. On top of that you often get exposed to that person's network and start to create new relationships.
If you couple this with personal initiative and a lot of homework you can see how it's the perfect recipe to fast track your success.
That's all I wanted and needed back then when I was just starting out. But there was no such option. I had to fight hard in order to create an opportunity for myself. This in a way was a good exercise and on the other end it slowed me down quite a bit as I spent a lot of time running down the wrong path.
This internship is your chance to save yourself that pain, get to practice hands on how products are built and get exposed to a ton of startups and other people in the ecosystem.
I hear you, who am I? my name doesn't figure in Tech Crunch or any other trendy startup news website, but believe it or not I'm actually pretty happy about it.
If that's a problem for you and how you assess the opportunity that's perfectly fine, it's a good sign we shouldn't be working together.
Still, here's some of the stuff I've done/am doing:
Glad you asked.
I'm doing this for you, not myself.
I know it's weird, when people say internship all we can think of is unpaid work companies want to dish out to fresh grads.
Not my case.
As I tried to explain I just want to give an opportunity to my younger self and save to someone else some of that pain I had to go through. If you can get up to speed faster it means you can get sooner to do awesome things for others.
First of all Spikelab is one person and a bunch of collaborators so you'll get a lot of attention. I care about all the people I work with from those I mentor to those I'm building this very program with. You'd be joining that group. We will have a lot of 1:1 time where you can ask questions and we can talk about whatever you want.
To the extent I can I'm happy to invest money to buy courses or other things that might be beneficial to your learning and the work you'll be doing. Most common thing I've done in the past is to get people courses on Udemy and similar stuff.
I worked most of my life remotely so I don't care where you are nor when you work. What matters is the quality and punctuality of what you create.
It's useful to find some common time to chat and connect, but otherwise I'm not going to micromanage you in any way or form.
I always have a ton of different stuff to do so expect a lot of variety. To mention a few things I would pass on if you were to start today:
As you go through those projects you will learn:
It's pretty simple. You need to:
that's it, not asking for the moon.
For time requirements see the section below.
The internship is as long as you want with a minimum of 6 months and 10hours a week.
The min of 6 months is because with less than that you won't be able to even complete a single project and learn the real stuff. We will move fast, but good things take time, please step out of the bubble of overnight successes if that's where you're at.
And you can't get that done anyway if you don't have 10hrs a week. For many years I worked in the evenings after work, about 4 hours and then at least a full day if not more over the weekend. That's ~30 hours. If you can't even get to 10 I don't see how you're motivated enough.
If the min is 6 months the max is whatever you want. Some of the people I mentored have become collaborators and then started their own business. Ultimately I've no idea how this will evolve and I'm open to anything, but I want to avoid that either of us wastes time.
You read all the way, congratulations, please proceed to the application form.