What did you learn in 2012 that you will carry forth with you into 2013?
“Play in the area that you’re the best at. Everybody is going to be better at one thing than other people are, and worse at a lot of other things. Focus on what you’re best at. That’s what you should be focusing your day to day and career around–the thing you’re good at, and not necessarily the thing you’re trying to get better at.
“I feel like the whole idea of improving yourself in areas you’re weak in is, well, less valuable–you should dominate the areas you’re strong in. For me, I love starting and getting things off the ground. I think operating a stable thing is not in my wheelhouse. There are people who are great starters; there are people who are great growers; and there are people who are great managers.
“It’s difficult [leaving Techstars’ day-to-day operations]. Anytime you’re heads down for years working on something it becomes your baby. And when you step away from it, there’s a significant emotional void. That is, until you have a new baby that you care about and love just as much. In my career, I’ve done this two times, maybe three. It takes a toll. But each time is emotionally a lot easier than the last. I mean, look, you go from one day deeply deeply rooted in something, to the next day totally removed from it? That’s going to have an emotional affect on anybody. I ran a startup for two years, for example, and when I left in 2009, we were 24 people deep. But the next day after I left, they kept going, even though I was gone. It’s a weird feeling. But understanding that you have to make choices for the long term and not for the short term is the way to work through that.
“It’s really easy to stay in a comfortable position. But for me, we’re all surrounded by people who are taking massive risks in their lives, and trying to disrupt very, very immovable companies and industries, and really putting everything out there. So on the one hand, I think it’s easy to just go with the flow. But on the other hand, being surrounded by such inspiring entrepreneurs, it’s also easy to get the bug to do something new.”
More Lessons for 2013 from some of today’s most innovative business thought leaders here.