Over the last month, ExitEvent saw an avalanche of invite requests. You might be reading this from your co-working space in the valley or New York or some mid-western hub in the making, and we couldn't be more thrilled to have you. But in the Triangle area (Durham and Raleigh), where we're located, ExitEvent is working on all kinds of new offerings - advertising, need-fulfillment, mentoring, etc., and we've got a monthly beer-fueled anti-networking event called the Startup Social (next one is September 18th), that attracts the vast majority of entrepreneurs and investors in a 50-mile radius.
Anyway, my point is that ExitEvent is more than just a content play, and we have a rather large and growing network. People want to be a part of it.
Last week I had to throw in some automation to put more of the "verified" behind "verified entrepreneur," not because people were coming to me with franchises and ponzi schemes, although let me tell you, they do, but mainly because a lot of people will say that they're an entrepreneur but won't give me any evidence.
And I need evidence.
The goal of a startup is to innovate, make new stuff that solves problems, and then sell that stuff.
This is not a lifestyle.
Back when I first started this little experiment about a year ago, I either knew personally or could get to 95% of the entrepreneurs that were coming to ExitEvent and calling themselves entrepreneurs. Today I can't. We're getting requests from, well, startups in co-working spaces in the valley and New York and mid-western hubs in the making, which is SO FREAKING AWESOME, but ultimately, I need more information than: "Hi, I'm Johnny and I'm an entrepreneur."
Hi, Johnny. What the hell do you do?
Oh, also, I've got other people doing the verifying now. Unpaid interns. They also think they're entrepreneurs, and they're working hard and not getting paid, so they're pretty much not cutting anyone any slack.
My point is, entrepreneurism is more than just saying that you're an entrepreneur. Kind of like being a writer is more than calling yourself a writer. I mean, you can, but write on a deadline and keep it fresh and entertaining, and make sure that your audience number always, always trends up.
Oh, and get paid for it.
There. Now you're a writer.
Startup isn't a hoodie and a dream. It's staying up late Friday night into the 3:00 a.m. Saturday range stitching together pieces of a technology that hasn't been invented yet, when the other piece of technology that you were building off of just informed you that you had exceeded its limitations.
There's no glory in that. There's an upset stomach, itchy eyes, and kids jumping on you three hours later because it's the weekend and they've got more energy than half-a-dozen Red Bulls. You didn't have a beer Friday night because you had to stare at data and code. And when you wake up on Saturday and gather your brain, you remember that all of your insurance and banking friends are just getting started on their golf foursome.
You, on the other hand, have to go fix that effing thing because you went to bed with it unfixed.
This is the awful, unExitEvent side to being a part of a startup.
And this is why I started ExitEvent. I believe that's what's going on now in the entrepreneurial universe is not a lifestyle, it's a culture shift. I'll repeat it like a mantra: This isn't a fad, it's progress. And I believe that I want to be there to help shove that pushcart of progress forward, and this is the means to do it.
For me, anyway.
So for now I'm doing the most helpful thing I can for these entrepreneurs, which is, as was told to me again recently and volleyed right back to you on this website, "putting them in a room with other entrepreneurs" -- physically via the Social and digitally via this network.
It's working. And I really hope you'll be a part of it.
Just tell me who the hell you are and what you do. And please don't be all horked off if I or someone else sends you an email asking you for a website address, a product description, some proof that you've jumped into the fray.
Ideas are easy. It's the execution that makes you an entrepreneur.