Startup Chile Week 7: Constantly learning

The coolest piece about this entrepreneurship thing so far is that I'm constantly learning. Maybe it's because I don't know anything, but whatever the case, I'm an eager learner.

This week I learned about agile software development: scrum, kanban and user stories. I've never played a role in building a technology product before so I find this is all new and very interesting. Pete and I put about 40 user stories into Jira, the platform we are using to track software development. User stories describe software features from the perspective of users. They are written like this: 

As a (role) I want (something) so that (benefit).

An example of this would be: As a user I want to login with Facebook so that I don't have to create an account. 

You do this for every single feature you want to build for your product. As we go through these stories we often run into architecture problems which are neat. I guess that's one reason why programming appeals to me (not that I'm doing any of that at the moment).

These user stories are then sorted into priority order and divided into weekly "sprints" or time periods of work. Pete will begin a sprint on Monday. I will be on the sidelines cheering him on, providing water as needed.

Weekly Summary

This week I met with our "padrino." Padrinos (or padrinas) are connections that Startup Chile arranges for us. They're locals (or in our case an almost local, having lived here for 13 years) that help ease the transition of adjusting to a new city/country/culture. Or as our padrino Shawn puts it, it's the person you call if for some reason you land in jail. Shawn is founder of Austral Group which does MBA study tours to Latin America. He also has an awesome dog with an awesome name - Guinness.

High of the week: I went climbing this week with my friend Stephan, founder of Fairlink. Although I've been climbing twice in Chile, this was the first time I led, which felt great. We both led two climbs and tried a third, harder one, which we bailed on. As we were walking down the mountain waiting for the collectivo (shared taxi), a pickup truck picked us up and we rode down in the open back. I hadn't done this in a while, fun, fun, fun!

Low of the week: It's sometimes funny working the other side of this enabler-entrepreneur equation. Having done research for hundreds of startups, you develop the habit of judging ideas pretty quickly. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong, but if you're negative on an idea you usually keep it to yourself.

This week I got a taste of the other side when I met with a representative from a local mentor network about getting a Chilean mentor. She asked me whether my idea was necessary. So I did some convincing but ultimately I could tell that she had judged My Elephant Brain as being an early-stage company (which it is) that might not have a market. Fair enough. At first I was disappointed because this was the first negative feedback I had received. But upon reflection I actually appreciate her honesty. Until we have market validation My Elephant Brain is not a business. This inspires me to try harder to achieve product-market fit. 

Lesson learned: I pride myself in being honest. I should respect and appreciate the same from others.

Interesting thing: I've been doing a weekly 40-minute hike up Cerro San Cristobal. It's a big hill with a a great view of the city and a statue of the Virgin Mary at the top. It's a 5-minute walk away from where I live so it's super convenient. Usually the scene is a mix of runners, mountain bikers and people walking. This week it was the Immaculate Conception so I ended up joining a pilgrimage up the mountain. 

The pilgrimage.