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How can I prove myself when trying to achieve ambitous goals?

I'm currently developing an MVP for a startup of mine and will be applying to some accelerators near the summer. How can I prove myself when trying to achieve such a goal while just being a HS senior? #software #internship

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Adam’s Answer

The fact that you are leaning in and being entreprenuerial at your age is a proof point. Soon you will be applying for college/university admissions and this can only help your application status.

If you are looking to move directly into your career, this will be the first of many learning opportunities.

As you apply to accelerators, remember to emphasize the value of your MVP can bring:
1. Does your MVP satisfy the users' emotional concerns? Does it make someone's life better or solve a business challenge?
2. Is your MVP logical? Does it improve margins or drive efficiencies? Look at cost benefit analysis (CBA).

Remember to set your goals as a waypoint, and then go about falling in love with the (often iterative) process of making those goals a reality.

Thank you for your insight. I will definitely take this information into consideration as I continue my learning process! Agang D.

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Abhishek’s Answer

This is a case where I will say let the work be the proof. Make sure to focus on learning and completing the MVP.
The experience of having a project of your own is very rewarding let alone a startup.

Regardless of the result of this venture make sure to take stock at the end of it, on what you learnt, your wins, losses and mistakes. This will help you understand yourself better in the context of the process and gauge yourself.

Any such experience is a stepping stone.

In the interview for VMWare(Final year of Undergad), my interviewer asked me the one thing I did during my undergraduate that was unique and showed my capabilities.

I cited an exercise from summer after the second year, where I had used the knowledge from Cryptography MOOC I had taken of my own interest in that year to reverse engineer the obfuscation an android multi language dictionary app had used to retrieve a dictionary between two languages I needed for the project I had been working on.

The Cipher had been Vignere and my learnings in Java (from 1st year) and Crypto(2nd year MOOC) came together for me to achieve this goal.

I have also had the same question during my last two years at work. Although I have not been able to innovate the way I wanted from myself, with my team as bootstraps fast in projects, keeps tabs on projects across product, shows ownership and helps out whoever he can, whenever he can. (Take this with a grain of salt, since we don't always know ourselves that good :D)

Abhishek recommends the following next steps:

Make note of areas of excellence during the journey
Make note of weaknesses and failures
At the end of a phase or project revisit and see what you can improve

Wow, this answer was very helpful, thank you! I had the same question as the OP, and had some ambitions with very little experience. Only now, have I decided that it is time to take a step forward and ask professionals in the industry so I could develop my passion. This advice will every helpful when trying to obtain an internship in junior year, but I am willing to put in the work and reflect on the journey. No matter the task, I know that I will make mistakes, but I also know that many big figures have done the same, and even more! With this mindset, I need to explore as much as I can so that I will be able to show off the skillset and ethic I have acquired with these experiences. All the best! Aun M.

Very helpful indeed, I have saved your recommended steps for later use. Thank you for sharing your story. Agang D.

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Gabriele’s Answer

My suggestion about your MVP is to focus on customers value and needs, focus on the Problem space before going directly to the Solution space. Which customer problem is your product going to solve? Is there any another product on the market addressing the same problem? Did you identify people underserved needs?
If you have the right answers to these questions, then you can proceed analysing the solution you want to give to this problem: which are the mandatory features that your MVP needs to have? Which are the others that could delight your customers? Etc...
Doing this exercise properly, you will prove your value to any stakeholder interested in your project.

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Devika’s Answer

Hi Agang,

First off, you should know that you're doing much better job than other HS students. Trying to get MVP for a startup starting at young age is proving your grit and determination. I am very sure if you keep your hard work consistently, you'll be able to get an internship.

From my experience, people like to hear story, so if you could package your experience starting from the problem statements you are trying to address with this product you built and continue with challenges you faced and how you overcame them. That'll make the listeners gain some empathy and that's how you engage them and prove your values.
Practice on storytelling; how you package the whole experience is also a skill that'll take you further.

Good luck!

Devika recommends the following next steps:

Practice storytelling to demo the MVP

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Shiju’s Answer

I think the key is constant communication and not being afraid to try new things. If you are developing for a start up, you should already know that they don't have the big timelines or usually not the big budgets of a big firm. In such scenario, try to keep the feedback loop short. Meaning, develop something, show it to the stake holders, get their feedback early. This will make sure that you are on the right track and closer to the goal. Its ok to fail, but I would rather fail fast and then try a different approach, rather than wait for the whole project to complete and then get the feedback.

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Maren’s Answer

I think it's really important to establish yourself as a dependable and hardworking professional. If you want to earn the respect of those who will be involved in making your startup a success, you have to have something substantial to show. People prefer to see that you are producing an outcome rather than just talking about your goals, so whatever you can do to support your efforts in the early stages of your startup and prove that you have something worthwhile will be helpful in showing you're someone worth doing business with! Kudos to you for being so ambitious even while still in high school! I am sure you are going to go big places!