A few months ago I read a book called The Start-up of You. One of the primary takeaways I got from the book was the value of networking. Surrounding yourself with a community of high-quality peers and mentors is the finest way to increase your own value. The book calls this "I to the We". In other words, success depends on your individual capabilities and your network’s capability to magnify them.
But, there's a problem. Building a network of high-quality relationships isn't easy for a young professional. Most colleges do a very poor job of helping you build a long-lasting network large enough to be of long term use. While in school, students are immersed in a huge network, with built in peers and mentors. But for most, that network is broken up after leaving school.
So, how can you build a new, more permanent professional community? Companies like Praxis, and Capital Factory. These two businesses both function as incubators for Start-ups.
Praxis is a College substitute and apprenticeship program. In other words, it's an incubator for the Start-up of You. Praxis helps you build yourself up. They won't hold your hand or do the hard work for you. But they will place you in contact with the kind of people and ideas you can use to spend the rest of your career using "I to the We".
Capital Factory provides the exact same service, but for Start-up businesses. They provide the resources for young businesses to grow, from office space to mentors who have been there, and done that.
The service provided by companies like Praxis and Capital Factory is exactly the same as the service provided by good parents for their kids. Our earliest social network is seeded and nurtured by our parents. They provide the tools for their children to build valuable relationships with peers and mentors. Guiding growth and facilitating learning is the core of all great incubators.
Far from being just another silicone valley buzz word, I think Incubation is the best possible method for any young person, or business to grow up.
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