17 Things Only Accelerator Graduates Understand

Accelerators are the entrepreneurial equivalent of band camp – away from reality, stuck with your peers for all hours of the day, putting up with dubious living and culinary conditions.

But there’s no more tightly-knit group than the marching band kids, right? After finishing an accelerator, you join that illustrious group of entrepreneurs who have survived it. Accelerators may all be different, but there are certain universal truths that graduates know. “Remember that one time during the accelerator?” Why yes, yes they do.

Here are 17 things only accelerator graduates understand:

“You can live on corn nuts, pizza, and tea for a surprisingly long time.”

“Your idea has already been done, but there’s this really slim chance you can do it better so obviously you should put your life on hold to do it.”

“Your family will still love you, you impractical idiot.”

“Having an automated service send emails out to friends and family periodically so they don’t forget your name.”

– Kate McKeon, CEO of Prepwise

“Hearing ‘Go ahead and give your elevator pitch’ 15 times a day.”

“Countdown clocks”

“Is there a deal for that on f6s?”

Pitch practice, pitch practice, pitch practice”

– Eric Mathews, CEO at Seed Hatchery Accelerator

“If you’re in the Midwest and an accelerator grad, you may just be the only person you know that knows what an accelerator is.”

– Jim Snediker, founder and CEO of Stock Mfg. Co.

“Whenever you get sick or have an odd temporary condition, like a pimple that wasn’t there before, you’ll secretly wonder if it’s because of all the ramen, Dominos, and Papa John’s you eat every week.”

“You start caring about things you never cared about before, like a startup’s stickers and magnets.”

“You read and debate about articles in publications that non-tech, non-startup people don’t read, let alone ever heard of (I’m looking at you, AlleyWatch and PandoDaily).”

“You have had a borderline meltdown and unjustifiably snapped at your innocent roommate, family member, or wide-eyed puppy.”

– Layla Tabatabaie, cofounder and CEO of BarterSugar

“Free office space, squatting in a random office, fights over the conference room, wedding is taking over the place for the night, ‘Dang it forgot about One Million Cups this morning,’ my mentor is smarter than your mentor, ‘Yay! Free pizza day.’”

Wade Anderson, cofounder and CEO of Novi Security

“I sometimes forget that other people work 9-5 on weekdays.”

“When a member of the cohort has a great accomplishment, I find myself split between being happy for them and jealous of them.” 

“Today, I decided not to do any work at all, besides taking care of those emails, fixing that bug, practicing my pitch, and a few other things. It’s so nice to take a day off like this.” 

Ryan Cooke, CEO of Phase

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Written by:
Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.
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