In February, I had the opportunity to be a host for the Small Group Meetings during the Creative Destruction Lab’s (CDL) third session for this year’s group of ventures. It was a rich experience being able to be a fly on the wall and hear these talented and creative and thoughtful mentors try to help burgeoning entrepreneurs. It was interesting listening to the discussions because often they would revolve around people rather than around the actual problem that is trying to be solved. For example, phrases that I heard repeatedly included, “let me connect you with someone I know in this area,” and “have you contacted [this person]?” The mentors seem to know of someone who can help in almost any situation. They also sometimes provide “tough love” to the entrepreneurs, and always offer useful comments.
I think CDL is great not because of the technology, but because of the caring, helpful, and committed people behind it. We are fortunate to have the only Risk stream in the system, and to have incredibly high quality mentors from around the world (including Switzerland, Portugal, and Israel, as well as the U.S. and Canada) participate in CDL-Risk at Wisconsin.