Epic Sprints, Mermaids, And Other Mumbo-Jumbo
Don't stop me now: We passed our epic sprint!
Of course, as soon as I apologized for sending what was supposed to be a monthly newsletter on a weekly basis, my accelerator threw a wrench in my plans to annoy you for a third week in a row, with the two most terrifying words in the program: EPIC. SPRINT.
An "epic sprint" is Founder Institute lingo for a seemingly impossible assignment that you have to complete. Pass, you get to remain in the program. Fail, you face the chopping block.
The first part of this epic sprint was a custom-designed torture test (wait... am I in The Bad Place?). My personal quest was to get a minimum number of customers to sign a Letter of Intent saying they intended to subscribe to Jade.
At first I wondered why this was such an epic task, since Letters of Intent are usually non-binding. How hard could it be to get some people to sign a legally unenforceable fantasy-contract, right?
WRONG. It was hard. Think about it this way: giving a company your email in exchange for a discount code doesn't mean you're legally required to buy anything, but you still don't give your email out to just anyone. (And I wasn't even offering anything sparkly in exchange.)
I managed to get enough signatures just in time to prepare for my next chopping-block experience: the pitch test.
Those who passed their custom test were then required to deliver a 3-minute pitch presentation to a panel of Founder Institute mentors. The mentors rated each pitch, and only those with an above-average score were invited to continue.
TL;DR: I passed, and now I need a nap.
You want thingamabobs? I've got 20!
After each pitch, the mentor panel grilled each founder and provided constructive criticism on their presentation. I had scoured my presentation for potential questions about sources, statistics, and methodology, but I still got one question I wasn't expecting:
"What is legal tech?"
I felt like The Little Mermaid—like I had been saying "dinglehopper" when everyone around me knows it as a fork.
It never occurred to me that the concept of legal technology is a foreign one to most people. For anyone else who's been wondering, let me take a step back and explain.
"Legal tech" is a category of technology that's designed to help lawyers work more efficiently. There are different kinds of legal technology out there, like software for tracking your time or automating your contracts.
Poll: What other startup words are confusing?
Being in an accelerator in general has made me really conscious of how much jargon there is in the startup world (starting with when I shared my excitement about getting into an accelerator and realized hardly anyone knows what an accelerator is).
So I'm asking for input from startup and non-startup readers alike: what other startup and tech terms do you wish people would explain better (or stop using altogether)?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org—let's roast some jargon!
See you next month... or next week... or on the other side of my next epic sprint. Accelerators are unpredictable.