My experience at a startup precinct (Lighthouse)
I had promised to post this earlier but held back for a variety of reasons, one being the fact Lighthouse had pivoted from its original goal of becoming a start-up community / hub within Sydney.
But I decided now would be a great time (even after 4 months!) as I wanted to give light on how awesome of an idea and program it was as it focused around bringing the start up community together and education to early founders.
As something started by Annie Parker (Founder of Muru-D and current CEO of Fishburners):
‘Lighthouse’s vision was to create a large-scale, high-density, values-driven, startup community in the heart of Sydney’. A place where high-performing teams would thrive. Where startup aspirants would be inspired. Where educational institutions and organisations could operate knowing that they are closely integrated into a buzzing community.
To me, it was an opportunity for beginner founders like myself to learn from veterans on how to execute, test and begin the foundations of a startup. With incubators and accelerators dominating the startup horizon in terms of programs, when the opportunity to learn and be part of a FREE pilot program focused around educating was posted on Sydney StartUps, I pounched immediately.
Getting an offer like this was something exciting to me and especially my team where none of us had previous experience running something properly. The most amazing thing was that the participants ranged from students all the way to seasoned directors.
Marketing Stacks, Lean Canvas, Testing, Guest Speakers, MVPs and MORE — all in 4 days?
I mean it was an education program on steroids to put it simply. One of the amazing things about it was that not only were they giving us resources and help but also telling us to execute by the next lesson. This forced us to get out of our comfort zones and actually start doing and doing.
Too many times I have heard friends ‘I want to start a business’ or ‘I have this great idea!’. BUT how many of them actually started testing the idea let alone executing?
Probably not that many which leads to my key takeaway from the LightHouse program.
Test, Test, Test and DO
The key takeaway that all of us learnt was this cycle: test, execute, change the product based on feedback and then repeat. There were many stories on how failures resulted in an idea not being tested enough, especially wasting valuable time and resources on providing a solution for a problem that didn’t exist.
Being agile and testing your hypothesis such as doing surveys and going out on the street are ways you can prove your idea works. The more you do it, the more validation it gives.
But the main point is to just do it.
What’s the point of having a brilliant idea in your head if you’re not going to do it? Yes the startup road is tough and to be honest, quite sensationalised at times BUT if you have the passion and guts to go for it, then why not?
For me, Lighthouse was an amazing experience and provided me a solid foundation in pursuing my startup idea. Even though it has been discontinued indefinitely, the content I learnt especially the slides I received, I still use today. I personally believed it was something the startup community needed, not only to have a central hub (which the government is now pursuing) but also to provide education and resources to early founders.