The purpose of this blog is to share my framework and toolset of strategies that I have created and use in my role as a professional coach - working with startup tech founders.
You can use this toolset and perspective on growth in your world too. That’s why I am sharing it.
My hope is that I challenge you to be better at self coaching your inner founder mindset. And I know what I am about to share here will give you superpowers in your capacity to serve other founders.
Blogs are a great format for telling stories and sharing information. Unfortunately I’m not good at either. My dyslexic, multi modal, mind seems to work better when training and coaching. My speciality is to study, build and improve environments that produce growth.
I mention this because as you read, watch, or listen to Digital Athlete Notes it may feel intense - much like the experience of working with me as a coach. But the only way I know how to show up for founders is through the vehicle of coaching.
That’s what this conversation is about, having an impact through the art of coaching. We can all be better at it, together.
If you want to widen your perspective on growth beyond the general startup BS we teach founders about how to start and build companies, Digital Athlete Notes will hopefully be an enjoyable monthly newsletter for you.
How this newsletter works
I am going to show you coaching through the lens of my world as a professional coach. I’m writing this story in real time as a series of notes. This the first note, the master note.
Each month I will build more defined chapters into the story. I’ll update this note specifically to reflect the expansion of the story.
What I am about to share with you is all built around a framework I invented in 2018 called the Company Model.
The business world most certainly didn’t need another model on growth, but the coaching world in business did.
I designed the Company Model to underpin the process of moving founders in more efficient ways so they can grow with more control.
The hero of this story is the founder
As an ecosystem we can and should try to understand founders better - for no other reason than founders need us more than ever. There has never been a time in history where being a founders has such a lower barrier to entry and incredibly high barriers to scale.
Over the last two decades the ‘founder’, the 1st and most challenging position of a company structure, has become a seat on the buss more people are wiling to try.
Becoming a founder is a natural career evolution in 2023 for many subject matter experts who probably don’t think of themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’.
And in the context of bringing gender and diversity balance into the founder role across industries, there really has never been a better time for us to rethink how to better influence founder development.
It’s no longer ok to accept the narrative that startups have a high failure rate.
Things need to change, things can change, and I say that because for last 20 years I’ve been studying and practicing being the athlete and then the coach in both sport, and technology growth companies.
If we can consistently and reliably coach athletes to a professional level in every sport on the plant, we can do a better job at coaching digital athletes to get to $10m ARR consistently - so they at least have a shot at a being a professional founder and changing the landscape of business more broadly.
The details of what I’m about to share are contrarian
This blog is not for everyone. It’s for founders, and for people who support founders.
Real founders are athletes. I exist to help athletes design and play their game more efficiently.
What’s interesting is that in sport when an athlete presents themselves to a coach wanting to improve their game, the coach generally acts with consideration to the athletes long term path of growth.
In startups we’ve got it all backwards.
Founders present to us each day wanting to ‘win the Olympics’ in their chosen market, and as an ecosystem we often just tell them to run faster. We encourage founders to impress us with their growth. We invest in early signs of random growth. We give founders growth tactics and we we even have positions in companies now that are responsible for growth. The startup world is obsessed and confused about growth.
Athletes don’t focus on growth. They focus on foundations that control growth.
Ever since closing down my last venture backed startup as an ‘injured’ burnt out founder all I see in the ecosystem todays are founders who are ‘x’ number of bad decisions away from irreversible injury too.
Growth is the wrong conversation to have with founders. Founders rely on what we say to them, and for this reason we need to move the conversation away from growth and focus on performance. We need to help founders understand and build company performance.
That’s where this story of digital athlete notes starts.