When I taught the "Entrepreneurial Journey" course at Concordia University, I loved sending my students off with a copy of Linchpin by Seth Godin. For those unfamiliar with the book, Linchpin challenges us to be indispensable to the organizations we serve.
Sounds logically aspirational in a straightforward kinda way, right? But here's where it gets interesting. Godin calls us all to work as artists. He argues that artists do "emotional work." Work that they love. Work that gives them a sense of purpose and, ideally, meaning.
Further, artists ship. They finish projects. Even when they're doubtful, they take a deep breath and push their creative endeavors in to the world.
It's really easy to allow self-doubt and outside criticism to thwart our entrepreneurial/artistic endeavors. Our lizard brains (amygdala) even can scream at us to hold something back just as we're ready to push forward. The challenge is to plow through and unveil that which often scares us.
As Godin admonishes, choose your journey very carefully. Be thoughtful and deliberate about what you work on. But once you're in, unleash your inner-artist and ship what you create -- be it a pitch, a proposal, an idea or a product.
Next time you're uncertain as to whether or not something is "good enough" to unveil, recall Godin's perspective: artists ship. And never forget that you, as a growth-centric entrepreneur and/or executive, are an artist!
June 12, 2014, Austin, TX, USA. Today, we are unveiling Alder Growth Partners. "AGP" provides advisory services, seed capital and boutique consulting to tech-centric businesses of all sizes. Simply put, we help other companies get bigger.
At launch, we're thrilled by, and appreciative of, our amazing group of clients (including Spiceworks, the Linux Foundation and OutboundEngine) and portfolio investment companies (including Banter, Circle Media and Testlio). Further, we are actively expanding in all areas -- new clients, direct investments and extended partners -- both in Austin and where we have presence and/or experience (like San Francisco, Colorado, New York and London).
If you're inclined, we'd very much appreciate it if you'd follow us on LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and/or follow us on Twitter. If you're at all curious about our name, please check out our post.
And please Contact Us if you have any questions or feedback. We'd love to hear from you.
Given that Alder isn't a common name in the United States, where a good deal of our initial client base is, many might wonder why we chose it. And what does "Growth Partners" mean?
First, a bit of a primer on Alder. The Alder tree is a member of the birch family. It's often a symbol of strength, invigoration, protection, support and empowerment. The Alder was sacred to the Druids. In the Welch legend, Bran carried Alder branches.
Alder wood, when cut, can turn from white to red. Given the beauty of its tone and appearance, it is one of the woods used to make Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars.
The Alder tree is resilient to water and grows well near streams and in marshes. Most of the pilings that provide foundational support to structures in Venice are made from Alder.
Alder has a symbiotic relationship with Frankia alni, a nitrogen-fixing bacterium. Based on the relationship, Alder is a pioneer tree, improving soil conditions and providing additional nitrogen for other species to follow.
Given the mission of Alder Growth Partners of helping companies get bigger, Alder felt like the perfect name. It's strength, versatility, beauty and pioneering capabilities all felt like great proxies for our quest.
So, then what about the Growth Partners piece? Well, we focus maniacally on key growth metrics for businesses, including revenue, bookings, renewals/churn, LTV and CAC. We're not pencil pushers nor process-for-process-sake folks. We exist to help companies expand.
Also, we're both a partnership as well as a partnering organization; in other words, our crew collaborates with our clients to produce results. And like the Alder-Frankia relationship (bear with us as hopefully we're not stretching this stuff too far), our approaches are symbiotic.
One other point of clarification: in certain financial sectors a "growth-stage" company can have a very specific meaning. We're not that literal. We understand that growth is pivotal at all stages of a business (which is why you see us working with companies of 4 to firms of 4,000+ employees).
Through the site, you'll see us use the name "AGP" as short hand. And props to the NetMen agency out of Buenos Aires, Argentina for the design of our logo.
We hope that you like the name and design. And we hope you've had fun learning at least a few new facts about Alder wood.
Thanks for letting us indulge our tree-head tendencies here. And we very much appreciate your support as we strive to use the inspirational aspects of the Alder tree to build our company.
Our blog covers topics that impact personal evolution, leadership development, well-being, and company growth.
Steve Semelsberger is the Founder of Alder Growth Partners.