The following note was shared with the MassChallenge team earlier this week. Scott has been - and will continue to be - such an incredible powerhouse in the innovation community. As he leaves MassChallenge to begin a new venture, Scott reflects on his time at MassChallenge, his hopes for the ecosystem, and his vision for the future.
This is my last communication with you as a member of the MassChallenge team. After 10 years, I’ll be leaving MassChallenge to launch a new venture called Bequall. Thank you for all of your contributions to MassChallenge and helping this place be a haven for entrepreneurs and those that believe in their potential to positively impact the world.
I’ve seen a lot of people come and go through the years, but I’ve learned that we now have something in common that will forever bind us. Our shared commitment and contributions to the mission at MassChallenge. Our efforts and commitment make us part of something that we can continue to engage with, be inspired by, and connected to far beyond our tenure.
As stewards of the MassChallenge mission and community, you all contribute to helping build a brighter, more hopeful, and optimistic future because you are helping founders at an important inflection point in their development. You are helping accelerate and increase the potential trajectory of their business. This community is filled with people that see problems and commit to doing something about it despite the challenges and hardships they will face personally as they push a massive boulder uphill. If you believe as much as I do in them then I encourage you to help in any way you can to play a supportive role in helping them achieve their goals. Time spent with founders has exponential returns for you and for them.
I often think that a connection at MC not properly made or stewarded was essentially fruit dying on the vine. We all have value to give and what’s truly unique at MassChallenge is that it gives you the power to do so in an easy and efficient way. My last act as the Chief Growth Officer to is a request to keep engaging. Now more than ever I believe that entrepreneurs are needed to address challenges and create jobs and hope. They are dedicated to making the future better. We have an opportunity to support them and inspire them to ensure that as they build that future they make sure it is just and equitable for not just their customers but all people. They will need your knowledge, connections, and resources to make the future they see become reality.
Thank you for everything and I look forward to continuing to be involved with the organization for years to come just from another side of it.
For those of you who don’t know my story at MassChallenge, I started as a volunteer and held a number of different roles throughout the company.
There were a few things that helped guide me in the beginning that I wanted to leave you with and decide how they might fit within the organization that you will continue on with as its stewards:.
- 10X: This was a concept that we often spoke to our startups about. There are so many solutions out there, but the ones that will truly make an impact need to be 10X bigger, 10X better or 10X more impactful than current alternatives. It’s part of the inspiration for hosting over 100 companies and choosing a $1M award for the Boston program. Other competitions or programs helped 10 companies and awarded at most $100K.
- Execute: Ideas are cheap and plentiful, but executing is rare. This is something that truly differentiates great founders from others. We gained credibility as an organization because we took on hard problems, worked with others to find solutions, and then tried it and executed against it.
- Accountability: There’s no one else working on what you are so don’t drop it. As a small non-profit we can’t afford to not have everyone in the company maximizing their contributions and impact within their roles. I loved this as an early employee because I felt empowered to make decisions and push things forward. I knew there were people around me to help advise and support me, but if I didn’t get something done it just wouldn’t happen.
- Urgency: We used to say the competition was the lie that we tell the world to make everything else work. We really do give away prize money, but the competition creates a sense of urgency for startups and stakeholders to accelerate connections. It also had the function of making MC better. It created a sense of urgency where we had to “launch” every year and the deadlines helped us keep priorities right. Running the process year after year gave us intense knowledge and expertise about how to maximize the value of the process for participants and not create burdens on them.
- Watering hole: MassChallenge is an amazing watering hole, not a water cooler for people and connections. Embrace that and determine how you can help foster these connections.
- On life’s journey, it’s not the places you go it’s the people you meet. I’ll be forever grateful for all of the people I have met at MassChallenge and I hope they will feel the same way about me. Until we meet again.