How Running Around Cambridge Helped Me Learn Something About Startups #Quest10

This past Thursday, I convinced two of my classmates to join me in The Quest for Innovation (www.questforinnovation.com).  I found out about the event through meeting people at the Startup Bootcamp that was held in MIT Kresge Auditorium a few weekends before.  I wasn’t fully decided on coming to the event or not, but it helped a lot on me making a decision when Michael Gaiss (@michaelgaiss) of Highland Capital sent me an email regarding coming to the event (and assuming 3 others from that list of “College Students to Meet” on the Boston’s edition of Startup Digest curated by a friend of mine, Jason L. Baptiste [www.jasonlbaptiste.com]).

The Quest for Innovation is (in my own words) a social scavenger hunt event in Cambridge with its primary purpose being for its contestants (like me) to find out about all the innovation in the tech industry that has occurred in the last couple decades.  Cambridge’s own starchild startup, SCVNGR was a co-host and also the platform that we used to complete all the tasks and challenges involved in the task.

When my two classmates and I got there on Thursday afternoon, there was already a good size crowd there (around 150-200 maybe?).  I was able to meet and see some cool influential and innovative leaders of Boston/Cambridge area like the aforementioned Michael Gaiss, Bill Warner and Seth Priebatsch the “Chief Ninja” of SCVNGR, and many others that I am failing to mention here.  We came into the event just to have fun, meet like minded individuals, and run around Cambridge.  I read a couple blogs and posts from last years contestants including last year’s winners from DartBoston and I got real excited about how fun the event actually seemed.

A one-hour-and-forty-five-minutes-event-summary later, I found myself tweeting “havent felt that much kiddish harmless excitement in a very long time.”  Truthfully, it was one of the most fun events and I literally found myself running all across Cambridge like a kid laughing with my classmates about how silly we were trying to solve the riddles.  It was our first time so we didn’t have any crazy strategies we used and we had to really use our brains for some riddles.  We weren’t able to make it to the afterparty at SCVNGR because my classmates had to go back on campus for work and I didn’t want to be late for my first DartBoston’s Capitalize event at NERD.

We thought we did well but we didn’t think we would win.  My team got an email today from the host, Michael Gaiss informing us that we actually placed 1st in the Quest.  We actually won.

But the story of this post isn’t how my team and I managed to win the SCVNGR Trek.  The reason I am writing a summary/post about this event is because of the lessons I learned that I will be applying to my current startup, nuSage (www.nuSage.com) and for the rest of my entrepreneurial career (aka. life).  For some of these upcoming lessons/pointers, I’m sure you have heard it countless times including my post on lessons learned from StartupBootcamp.  But outside of that, I hope you were able to finally realize how important these factors exactly are.

I’ll add the brief explanations of how I experienced these startup lessons during the Quest soon.  I’m a bit backed up on work currently.

  • Complementing Skill Set Within Teammates is CLUTCH
  • If something isn’t working, even though it sounds like it should work (aka. great concept), STOP!  Change it.
    • Admit when you’re wrong and learn from it.
  • Find your ONE THING that you have that your competitors don’t.  Don’t ever stop doing that ONE THING.
  • No one’s going to appreciate what you are doing, but don’t doubt yourself.
    • Everyone’s going to ask you “why?”.  Be strong in believing yourself.
  • Kendall Square is amazing. :)

So with that said, be thankful of all the resources that is offered and all the innovation that happens here where we live in Cambridge/Boston-area.  With all this #angelgate crap going around in Silicon Valley, I think it’s time the public rids itself of Boston’s old, crusty, Rt.128 image, not to mention a wrong image (excellent post by Scott Kirsner) and realize that Boston is in fact the most innovative place in the galaxy.

I am proud to call myself a Boston-area entrepreneur and student.  This place oozes of amazing history and entrepreneurial talent.

Tim Chae


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