This year, I completed 3 years with Headstart as a volunteer and its been quite a journey. Over 70 leaders across 9 cities, meeting them as strangers and making lifelong relations, learning the ropes of business, getting into the pulse of the startup community, Headstart has given me a lot.
A little past mid-night, today as I reminiscence about the highs and lows of Headstart as a team, it hits me that we have been around for so long, the little kid who walked into a Startup Saturday in 2009 has come a long way. I would take this opportunity to run you through some beliefs and commitments upon which Headstart stands.
We refer to our city heads as ‘leads’. We believe they are leaders and not mere organizers. If I may quote the Startup Saturday organizers manual – ‘we are not running a media company organizing events, we are a community of entrepreneurs’. Each city chapter is driven by a lead. As they grow, the city chapter grows. Thus each city team has its own life cycle. As new members join into the volunteering team, the baton is passed to them.
Headstart is better known for its monthly event, Startup Saturday, but the folks who have been in the ecosystem for long have witnessed ‘Headstart’. The bi-annual event that Headstart did until 2010 and it was madness. For a kid who has at best organized a fun-n-fair in his locality, a mega startup showcase was a new paradigm all together. And when the team discusses action at an AGM, the talks are about meeting the needs of our customers. Yes, indeed we are a non-profit, but we refer to our community as our customers.
Most Startup Saturday chapters might remain free, but every call with our leadership team talks about making a difference to our customers. We may no longer be doing those mega startup showcases (no reason why we won’t in future), but our intent to make an impact to the ecosystem is the same. Each passing year, Headstart is re-invented and the onus to do the same is on young entrepreneurs who lead us through the change.
As a lead, I don’t work for Headstart, I am Headstart. And these words from who passed the baton to me, sums it up.
(During the organizing of Headstart March 2010 in Hyd, Jyoti from our BLR team referred to me as a co-founder in a communication with one of the partners. I shot a personal reply to her with a couple of HS co-founders marked in cc, clarifying that I am not a co-founder of Headstart… here is the reply from one of the Headstarters)
I would insist to disagree!We all who graduate to the level of shareholders are co-founders of Headstart. Its so because we all have a stake in its success and because Headstart keeps going through re-inventions through each one of us.If we have to get very technical and look at who came up with the idea – it was one person Kesava. He also got the initial team together. In that sense there are no cofounder and only one founder.So Annkur and Jyoti you may have joined the journey later; you are cofounders as much as anyone because you have the responsibility of reinventing Headstart and keeping it relevant as anyone else. It actually more than what others carry because you’ll probably be around for longer than the earlier people.