Going Back to (Startup) School

Never stop learning” is a trustworthy adage that everyone can agree with. But what I’ve discovered is that there are two types of learners out there, the first are those that are proactive in their efforts to continue learning and then there are those that are less so.

It’s not that the latter group doesn’t continue to learn – they do and they can learn a ton! Most folks fall into this group as they continue to build relationships, grow their career, and encounter new challenges through the work that they already do.

But the first group of learners take it up a notch as they actively seek out opportunities outside of their normal, day-to-day work and activities and actively plant themselves in the pathway of new learning.

I fall into this category and love to learn new things and the more distance there is between what I know and what I don’t know is particularly of interest and is exhilarating (like learning more about video editing/production).

One of the attitudes that I try my best to have when I encounter new things is one of an open mind and perspective. This is fundamentally more easy with new stuff than lessons that I might (wrongly) believe to have already learned.

A great example of this dynamic is a class that my cofounders and I signed up for called “Startup School” via YCombinator. In short, even though we’ve put together companies before, we can never stop improving our company-building skills. One startup (or 10) doesn’t make me an expert!

We applied relatively last-minute and was excited to be accepted into their first group of cohorts. What’s nice is that they’ve opened up the curriculum publicly, so I’d encourage you to follow along:

Startup School Online: First Lecture and Speaker List

Even though I had seen the first lecture previously Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook, Asana) came back and did it again and was open to fielding Q&A from the crowd.

What is not public is the community portion on the backend where we’ve been slotted into cohorts that’ll take the class together and conversate around the topics and challenge each other to keep the gas pedal down.

We’re using a private, Slack-like system called Mattermost:

The hope is to also find time to meet some of the rest of the cohorts in-person and I know a few geographic meetups are already scheduled. I can’t wait!

I know that I have a lot to learn when it comes to putting together a product that people love and building a company that people love to work with and for. And I can’t imagine that I’ll ever stop learning to do these things better.

What are you doing to expand your own personal and professional horizons? What are you doing to grow your own experiences and level-up?