Why and How I Made the Leap into the Boston Tech Startup Scene [Update]

By John Capecelatro

As I continue to help build the Startup Institute, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on where my path has taken me since writing my original post in November of last year. Since January of this year, I have been a part of the TechStars program here in Boston. Initially working as an associate under Katie Rae, Reed Sturtevant, and Aaron O’Hearn, I moved over to help the same team build SIB, where I am now head of student life, among other responsibilities.

The past few months have been a wild ride. From learning how to cold call, to putting together action plans across several disciplines, my time spent in the tech startup community has been one of my most valuable educational experiences to date. I hope that the below original post can provide some better perspective on what was useful for me when I first got into the tech startup community here in Boston.

October of my sophomore year at college rolled around. I remember the night distinctly. Ryan and I were having a conversation about life after school, when I came to the realization that I ultimately wanted to carve a unique path through life, meeting awesome people, forging lasting and productive friendships, and creating some cool things that will hopefully be valuable for a few people. To me, this just wasn’t feasible in the finance world. I then set my sights on the tech startup scene, a place which has always held a distinct cache of coolness in my mind.

In one short month, I think I’ve made significant progress in getting myself immersed in the tech scene in Boston (and a little bit in NYC). Ryan has been an awesome resource, and a great mentor to me. Aside from his assistance, I’ve drawn on these tools to help in this process:

Reading: Lots of it. I got back into the Twitter game and follow a ton of cool people and organizations (e.g. Fred WilsonJason Calacanis, BehanceTechStars, to name a few) – they all offer great snippets of information on the tech/biz scenes.

Skillshare Classes: Although taught in a variety of different disciplines, many as of late have had a business bent. As an aside, conferences are also very informative (check out the Mass TLC Unconference!)

Coffee: the lifeblood of the entrepreneur. And coincidentally, the elixir of meetings and good conversation. I’ve met MBA’s, entrepreneurs, and fellow students over coffee, with the goal of learning more about what each person is doing, what has/hasn’t worked for them, and just generally trying to connect and form productive, mutually-beneficial working and personal relationships.

From my experience, the startup scene offers those interested the ability to punch above the belt in a major way. What I mean by that is from the very beginning, interns and entry-level workers are placed in a dynamic environment, where they are able to learn concrete and valuable skills (e.g.marketing, sales, biz dev). This is another element that attracted me to the startup scene. These skills and experiences are not necessarily available from the onset in other more traditional career paths.

I wake up each day with the drive to learn something new, even if it’s just something small. I’m constantly motivated to get in the game and just get shit done. I thrive on these challenges and goals, and am so excited to see what the future is going to hold. I strongly encourage anyone even considering checking out the tech scene to reach out – you never know until you try.

Photo by Jingni Wei