“Fail fast!” sounds hip and catchy to innovative adults, but to most students it just sounds scary. When we emphasize creativity, experimenting with new ideas, testing our ideas in the market, and not knowing what will happen, that sounds exciting. If you tell me: You’re probably going to fail and that’s OK, I’m wary. But if you tell me: Let’s try to do something cool, and if it doesn’t work out, no big deal, I’m intrigued. It’s a small semantic shift, but it’s important.
This incubator is truly an amazing experience that will teach you so much about entrepreneurship. I highly recommend this program to any high school student who even has a slight interest in entrepreneurship because the content learned is so valuable.
In last week’s post, I shared strategies for helping student entrepreneurs learn to talk to strangers. That post was mostly about building confidence and self-awareness, so that our teenagers are not intimidated by the Customer Discovery process—and even learn to enjoy it. This week I want to tackle another aspect of talking to strangers: Teaching students the ability to adapt and adjust during conversations with adults.
The most important takeaway I had at Quarter Zero was how much impact a young entrepreneur could do. This program was built on the idea that young adults can change the world through entrepreneurship. Before Quarter Zero, I was often told that I was too young to make any sort of impact due to my age. Many of my peers in my incubator had also experienced this. When all of us came together in the program and tackled huge problems like addiction, stress, and more, it made me realize how much influence this generation could have on the world. Quarter Zero gave me the tools to unlock my entrepreneurial potential and I absolutely can not wait to see where it takes me next.
In the Lean Startup process, student entrepreneurs are expected to talk to strangers—both teenagers and adults—not once or twice, but over and over again…
I can confidently conclude that my outlook on the world has been significantly modified through what I learned this past summer at Quarter Zero. Had I not clicked the Facebook post out of curiosity, I would have missed an incredible opportunity to amplify my passions and grow as an individual and team player.
For many high school students, working on group projects is torture. It always seems to go one of three ways…It’s no wonder students object when we ask them to work on teams for their entrepreneurial ventures. It’s so tempting, as the teacher, just to let them fly solo…
Of all the lessons I learned at Quarter Zero, from scaling a startup to dealing with the obstacles along the way, my biggest takeaway was more of a realization: the validation that I’d found where I belong. Quarter Zero provides an experience for young entrepreneurs unlike any other by bringing them together for the first time in their lives. As an alumnus of the Catapult Incubator, I can say with full confidence that this was truly a summer like no other.
So, your students have identified a meaningful problem. They’ve validated it with customer interviews. And they believe there’s a solid market for a solution. Good news! They are finally ready to develop their minimum viable produce—aka their first iteration of a real product or service. As the teacher/coach/advisor, you’re excited to see what they come up with. Finally, it’s getting real! But then they propose their idea, and your heart sinks because you’re pretty sure their idea is a bad idea.
After an entrepreneur has invented something cool—like the Keurig coffee maker, the car cup holder, the Yeti mug, or Uber—it seems impossible that no one had thought of it before. Didn’t we realize how much leftover coffee was getting wasted in large carafes? Didn’t we spill all over ourselves while driving? didn’t we complain about taxis?