Last week I had the honor of being one of the Kurtosys representatives to True University. The University consisted of two days of classes, lectures and networking activities meant to increase engagement among employees from companies within the True Ventures portfolio of investments.
Kicking off the event Jon Callaghan, a True Ventures partner and co-founder, stated that he hoped the University would be an opportunity for all attendees to “learn, connect and grow.” This dedication to lifelong learning, creating connections and inspiring growth amongst their entrepreneurs is a reason why True Ventures is a top tier early stage VC firm and it was apparent at True University.
The structure of the University, the passion of the hosts, the desire of the attendees to engage, all in conjunction with the entrepreneurial energy being exuded by all, would have made it difficult not to learn, connect and grow:
I participated in classes on scaling, finances, culture and hiring that taught me the importance of instituting the correct metrics to create predictability and keep your team focused on the company goals. I learned the importance of managing growth and distributing responsibilities, in addition to creating a culture that attracts the best possible people and harbors commitment and dedication.
I listened to interactive lectures by Vivek Wadwa, Om Malik, Jeff Veen and Dan Ariely that taught me everything from the average entrepreneur is actually 39 years old, married with kids and probably socialized more than studied in college to the importance of setting up preconditions for success during disaster times and how this structure can help manage anxiety. I learned how constantly being connected with “mini computers in our pockets” gives us access to information, which changes our decision making process and general productivity affecting the economy in more ways than one. Lastly, I learned the human brain is built with short term views and the importance in business to create long term view behavior.
The University gave me the opportunity to connect with people across varying industries and career paths. The True Venture team was constantly available and happy to talk while walking to lunch, in a classroom, after a lecture or during one of the receptions. The team seemed to be as happy to be there and as engaged as us entrepreneurs/employees were.
Many of the speakers participated in the classrooms beyond their session and took questions and provided advice to the “students”.
I particularly enjoyed hearing about the adventures and lessons learned from employees who work at such companies as Urban Airship, Milk, MessageBus, Smarterer, GoodReads, StockTwits, Fitbit and many more.
I believe you could feel and see the growth of each attendee as the two days progressed. By the second day new friends and connections were made, teams were collaborating both with other portfolio companies and internally around how to spread and share the knowledge acquired and everyone seemed to be reinvigorated with a new sense of purpose. I believe the new sense of purpose was built off of inspiration and momentum to continuously work to be better and do more, individually and as a company.
The inspiration and momentum had been sparked by the energy of the True team, the speakers, the representatives from other portfolio companies, the thought provoking nature of the sessions and the collective knowledge shared by all. I believe when Jon said he wanted us to “learn, connect, and grow” he wanted the process to come full circle creating inspiration and momentum that we would then bring back to our offices to help others and the company as a whole learn, connect and grow. Isn’t that the underlying factor in a successful company, constantly learning, connecting and growing?
Instead of tracking us down for overdue Library books, upon matriculation we walked away from True University with books to read, notepads to fill, connections to keep, ideas to implement, but most importantly the inspiration and momentum to keep working hard to build the best possible business for employees and clients alike.