I’ve been secretly excited (as excited as I get, which seems marginally interested to most folks) about this new thing I’m doing. Starting January 14th, I’ll be working in the Hackstars group for Techstars here at the Cloud branch in San Antonio.
If you don’t know about Techstars, you can read up here, and here. Roughly, the program this year goes down like this. A group of young companies will be in town for about three months. In that three months, they’ll go through Techstars’ brand of startup incubation. They’ll get professional mentorship from some of the most successful people in the game, and they’ll get advice and help with all sorts of stuff crucial to being a viable business in their respective industries. Hackstars, the little crew that I’ve been jumped into, will be there as support for development and production so these companies can get their shit together and go out and be somebody. It seems that typically, the Hackstars group consists of a small group of professional skill level people, who also have this wandering samurai ethos. The aim is to have people who have deep knowledge about some things but are mostly kind of generalists. Me. All day, erryday, bruh.
I’ll be working mostly as an art director and will be teaming up with some other guys to get production of stuff figured out effectively and efficiently for our group of startups. If I could stop being such a cynic for a moment, I would tell you that this is basically a best-case scenario for me work-wise, because I love doing design, hate doing production work, love meeting new people with cool ideas, love helping them tighten things up, and hate long term commitments when I know I can give someone what they need with a short term contract. I also only want to work with people who have useful things to sell. My days of helping to promote shit nobody needs or even wants are behind me. Also, I won’t do work for people I think are dicks. This Techstars-Hackstars thing meets all of my criteria for doing work.
I’ve already met a few of the people I’ll be working with, and everyone seems pretty cool. Real talk? They all seem much less douchey than I would’ve expected, but admittedly, I always expect everyone to be a douche. The Managing Director here, Jason Seats, who’s also a cool and moderately normal guy, put me in touch with the guys who worked as Hackstars last year and they were all really helpful and just cool guys. Their testimonials have me looking forward to getting down with program. I was a bit leery in the beginning because I know that new companies/programs of this sort can sometimes be cult-like in nature. There’s typically a lot of weird team-building stuff going on, directed play, and/or personality duplication. So far at least, I haven’t noticed anything at Techstars that leads me to believe I might have to drink tainted Kool-Aid. While there will almost certainly be some dorky team-building exercises involved, I’m gonna just roll with it, and try to act like I’m not too cool for it, because honestly, I’m not. Plus, how else are you supposed to get to know and somewhat trust people in such a short amount of time, without really being in some serious shit with them? I’ll leave it to the team-building pros to figure it out. I just have to draw a line at falling backwards into some group of strangers’ arms. Three-legged races, oddly enough, I’m down with.
There are supposedly metric shitloads of perks coming my way in being a Hackstar, which I won’t get into now, since it’s mostly rumor. I can say that I’ve been given a kelly green zip-up hoodie. Yeah; a kelly-motherfucking-green hoodie. Seriously, I would’ve prolly joined just for that. Besides the hoodie, I’ll be meeting a bunch of people with whom I’d probably never have the chance to share a zip code, let alone a room or table. I’ll probably bring donuts and extra cigarettes, because that’s how you make friends. There—the secret to my success is out.
So, here’s to a new year and a new opportunity, both of which are all I’m ever really hoping for.