Lean Startup Machine Day One Review: 48 Hours Without Sleep Starts…Now!

Lean Startup Machine NYC Day One is over, it went quickly, was unbelievably intense, invigorating, and inspiring. I now have a team of people I’ll be working with to create a business we all think is very exciting! I only have a few minutes to write this post as my schedule in NYC is a bit insane (however isn’t it always!) so let me review what we did last night.

I arrived at AOL’s Corporate HQ a bit early, okay, really early, which turned-out to be a good thing as I was able to help Bryan and Trevor get setup. They had a good selection of wine and beer with pizza on the way. As the minutes passed the room went from empty, to full of entrepreneurs and energy.


The event started with a name game, which I thought was pretty creative. You had to come-up with an adjective using the first letter of your name that describes you in some way. I went with “Motivated Morgan” and met a Super Steve, Nible Noah, Seductive Sebastien, and Dynamic Duane, to name a few. At the end of the game they asked who could remember six people. Myself and three other people got to the front and I think 3/4 of us were able to name six. Definitely a great ice-breaker and helped everyone feel more comfortable with everyone.

After that we went through the agenda for the event and then broke-into teams for a game that I think all of my Domaining buddies will get a kick-out of. The name of the game is Half-Baked Startup and the concept was to have two people say different words, then a member of the group combines the words, adds a .COM, and then pitches what kind of business it could be.

My favorite we came-up with was definitely StickerPhantom.com, more of a funny one than a viable business, the idea was that someone would secretly put a sticker on someone’s back while they’re walking around a city like NYC. You would then go to StickerPhantom.com and you could see who had been stickered and even sticker someone yourself and post it. Yes, it’s a bit obtrusive, and not something that would really catch-on, but it was a funny one to come-up with. Of course, like the Domain-geek that I am I have registered StickerPhantom.com purely for nostalgic value!

This was a really great exercise to get the creative juices flowing as people had to come-up with business ideas on the fly. It was also a great way to bond with some of the other people at the event.

Next we were told to call-out concepts we were interested in forming a team around, I threw-out “crowd-sourcing” and soon myself at a table with about six other people. We all had time to pitch our own ideas and give feedback. This was a really great way to get some instant feedback on your idea and hear other ideas that are out there.


After this we had a truly incredible opportunity to hear from Dave Tisch, the Managing Director of TechStars NY and a entrepreneur and Angel Investor himself. This was by far one of the most interesting and inspiring talks I’ve ever heard, period. Dave shared his experience from the VC/Angel Investing-side and talked about what companies look for in entrepreneurs, companies he had funded, mistakes made, and lessons learned.

Next, those of us that wanted a chance to pitch in front of Dave wrote our name on a sheet of paper and passed it to the front of the room. Dave drew names out of a hat (okay, no hat, it was actually a backpack) and entrepreneurs had the chance to pitch their ideas while Dave, well, chewed them to pieces! This isn’t a bad thing, feedback is so critical and having someone like Dave hear your idea and tell you how it might fail, or why it might not be worth your time is incredibly valuable. I would like to thank Dave for his time and sharing everything that he did, I am sure he is one of the busiest guys in NYC and it’s incredible we had the opportunity to spend some time with him!

The night ended by us forming our teams and then heading out for drinks to discuss our ideas more and bond with our teammates. Our team has a great dynamic, we are all passionate about the idea we have and share a common interest in fitness with over half the team being runners.

Tonight, the insanity begins. From what I can tell, we won’t be sleeping for the next 48-hours. Our mission – to build the business (the MVP – minimum viable product) in less than two days. That’s why they call this an entrepreneur’s bootcamp. It’s going to be intense, action-packed, and full of great lessons we can learn from each other, as a team, and from the mentors that will be there to help us in our journey. I feel electrified with excitement and have come to terms with the fact that last night was really my last night of sleep for the weekend!

Stay-tuned, much more to come!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton