I binged on Pranav Vora’s podcast, The Protagonist, this week. Pranav is founder of Hugh & Crye, a really cool startup men’s clothier that targets lean and athletic men. The podcast contains interviews with the founders of nine DC-based startups. I finished the last episode yesterday and here are some thoughts on why you should give the podcast a listen too:
1. You will get at least one new idea for your business. I got some ideas around business development, software-as-a-service, and team structure.
2. The entrepreneurs do a great job telling their stories – failures, successes, and visions for the future. There was little to no hype in the conversations, just a lot of authenticity. It’s always nice to hear the journeys other entrepreneurs have gone through.
3. Your belief in the power of entrepreneurship to strengthen this country will increase 10-fold. Donna Harris, founder of 1776, does a great job explaining this belief as being core to the creation of 1776, and her past work in this space. The other entrepreneurs serve as great examples of what is possible with hustle.
4. Feelings of nostalgia for the startup community in the city you previously lived in will die down. When I was in Atlanta, Atlanta Tech Village was still under construction, I had no idea who Paul Judge was, and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was advocating for a bill to create a state-run venture capital fund which morphed into a fund of funds. Fast forward two years, and Atlanta Tech Village is hosting all sorts of cool startups, I consider Paul Judge a virtual mentor, and the Invest Georgia fund should be getting $10 million this quarter to begin investing in VC funds. This has had me thinking about making it back to Atlanta at some point – daydreaming. The podcast snapped me back to attention. There is a lot of great work to do here in DC.
5. Your feelings of encouragement because you are not a 21-year old whiz kid with no family to keep you from drinking Mountain Dew at all hours, will increase. Several of these founders are married, have children, and are older. I found it so helpful to hear their perspectives on family life and business.
6. You will feel a sudden break from the matrix of oversized dark suits and poorly-made rubber soled dress shoes that can be DC, if you let it (At least for the men. Women dress pretty well here.) The wave of optimism in the interviews is like sitting on your bed after standing at your desk for 12 hours (I’ve really got to get that couch built.)
7. You will feel a slight tectonic shift away from the gorilla that is Silicon Valley. I have been excited about the burgeoning startup community in Atlanta. Boston has an established ecosystem and New York has been making serious waves for the past decade as well. The DC startup community is nothing to sneeze at. Donna Harris does a great job outlining DCs unfair advantage over other communities.
8. You will get a better sense of the players in DCs startup ecosystem. I had heard of most of these companies, but finished each interview with a better understanding of why DC made sense for their business, and the value they provide to the startup community and to the border DC environment.
9. Pranav does a great job asking questions. His management consulting background definitely comes through here. For example, he consistently asks the founders to define certain terms they use, something that I found really helpful in understanding their world views.
10. Well, there are ten episodes, including an introduction to the podcast from Pranav. Why not listen to them all?
There’s 10 solid reasons to give The Protagonist a listen. You can find it on the iTunes Podcast app as well. Also, be sure to check out Hugh & Crye. Great clothes. I kind of wish I were a little smaller (not really) so I could fit more of their clothes.