Somehow I missed this one, but last week Jerry Colonna wrote a great post, “Mind Your Elders”.
In the post, he calls out the importance of “elders” in a startup ecosystem.
But, most of all, it needs Elders. That is, Mentors, coaches, Angel Investors; people who can serve informally and formally as guides. Their roles vary…from providing the seed capital to germinate ideas to providing a steadying, calm demeanor making the roller coaster of the startup experience just slightly easier to bear. “An Elder,” I say in my talks on the subject, “isn’t merely someone with grayer hair. It can be the CEO of the company next door who is two months ahead of you in their fundraising process. It can be the CTO of that failed company whom you bring in not just for their technical capability but for their experience in having lived through a failure and knowing that there’s life after failure.”
I couldn’t agree more.
We’ve seen elders engaged in NYC for many years now and the payoff is quite clear. Founders helping founders as angels, advisors, holding open office hours or various mentorship programs.
We didn’t have enough engaged elders in the Cambridge and Boston ecosystem for a long time. It was a hole that everyone felt. One of the reasons I feel better about the local scene is the emergence of connected elders. Its fantastic but we need more.