Earlier this year, startup champions from Comcast NBCUniversal and Technical.ly met with over 1,000 founders and their supporters.
Being a modern entrepreneur can be difficult. It’s difficult to get started. It’s difficult to stay motivated. And it’s difficult to find answers to the never-ending list of questions that inevitably arise: How do I network? Do I need a social mission? How do I transition to becoming the CEO?
These were all issues Tomorrow Tour organizers focused on as they traveled across the country in early 2016. Startup champions from Comcast NBCUniversal and Technical.ly met with over 1,000 founders and their supporters at stops in Philadelphia, Denver, Miami, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta.
Their learnings were compiled to create the Tomorrow Toolkit. It’s an all-inclusive ebook that reflects and expands upon the best practices and strategies driving today’s startups. Or, as Technical.ly’s editorial director and cofounder Christopher Wink describes it, the toolkit is “30,000 words that let first-time or newer entrepreneurs have a better sense of how they can access the community tools that make their startup experience better.”
Wink broke down four ways that the Tomorrow Toolkit is a unique resource for founders and would-be founders today.
1. It’s designed to be an all-in-one starter kit
30,000 words may sound like a lot, but the ebook is designed to be more like blog series than a textbook. And that’s how it reads: most chapters share lessons through stories about real people, and sections are broken down into easy-to-read bullets and sections. The guide’s also inclusive, written for the tech community as well as founders of all backgrounds working in today’s uniquely collaborative era of entrepreneurship.
2. It challenges common narratives
While all the countless videos, articles and blog posts about small business can be invaluable, they can also devolve into an echo chamber of less helpful advice. The team wasn’t afraid to go against the grain, especially when they found that many tour participants shared their views about fundraising.
“Our country’s become absolutely obsessed with the idea that raising outside funding is the end-all, be-all successful company,” Wink says. “One thing I kept hearing on the tour is, ‘Hey, I think we’re too obsessed with saying everyone should raise funding — that’s not true. I do think funding’s important, but I don’t think every company should do it.’ That is something that is distinctly different from common narratives, and an important one for people to get.”
3. Its purpose is to educate, not to promote
The toolkit was a true collaboration combining Technical.ly’s extensive reporting and Comcast NBCUniversal’s expansive experience — all to give back to the community. Both teams were aligned in their vision to include a diversity of voices in the guide. Wink even credits Comcast’s Open Possibilities team for bringing up the importance of having a social mission ingrained in the identity of every startup.
“I have no patience for things that aren’t real and are just spin,” he says. “We’ve seen corporates plan for the press release first, but in this situation Comcast planned for the product first. This is a cool project that has actual substance, that people should actually use, that Comcast actually played an important role in.”
4. It’s still growing and changing
The toolkit represents four months of traveling, researching and writing — all built on years of meeting and working alongside small businesses across the country. And it reflects thousands of connections from Technical.ly and Comcast NBCUniversal’s respective teams. However, wheels are already in motion to update and expand the ebook as team members revisit entrepreneurs from the tour.
“We’ll be updating the toolkit with things we’ve heard from participants, and we’ll be getting more feedback,” Wink says. “It’s a living, breathing project that will hopefully continue growing into the future.”