Blogging from “inside the dungeon”, Recap First week at China Accelerator

In china business by Michael Michelini11 Comments

Have had my head down and been working like a maniac this week. Exciting, and maybe upsetting some people who seem to have been used to me doing free events – but I have no regrets at all for enrolling in this startup incubator! The value only a few days in has been amazing.

My assistant Amy, and some others have maybe warned me to not bog too much about what is going on inside the “startup dungeon” – as there have been some discussions of confidentiality and respecting the other team’s privacy – but I will speak more on my own experience and team and allow those other team’s to have their privacy (maybe they can pay me to promote them, haha).

Doug (IT co-founder) and I flew up on Monday afternoon from Shenzhen…one of the worst airline experiences I’ve had in a while… 6 hour delay….passengers refusing to get onto the connecting flight in Nanchang city airport until they wre compensated for the delays, and then finally arriving to Dalian airport at about 2am on Monday night / Tuesday morning. We were supposed to sign the lease for the apartment monday, but due to this delay, had to rent a hotel that night and move ito the apartment on Tuesday. Rented a no-frills apartment in the outskirts of town (near the facility in IT park), but my main criteria was to be walking distance to the facility so that I can work like the maniac that I am.

The program started on Wed Aug 1, and teams were coming in Tuesday and Wednesday – 10 teams (startup companies) are here – and to respect their privacy I won’t disclose their ideas and team members. We prepared the power point below. We have 4 people for our startup, Weibo Agent, Doug for IT, Gabree for Operations, Amy our loyal assistant and account agent (my rel life Weibo Agent), and me on marketing and business development.

Weibo agent slides from mikemichelini

So Wednesday was heavy on “getting to know each other”, we also got into practicing our elevator pitches, advice on selecting advisors and mentors, and more information about the program structure and schedule.

We will be here until Demo Day on Oct 31 – which is in Beijing.

We are going to GEEKS ON A TRAIN, Aug 16 to 20, from here to Beijing and Shanghai. Really exciting news!

Thursday things were mostly in the office working, getting to know the teams, setting up the desks. I think another awesome thing about this program is the other awesome people in the program as well – its a wide range of backgrounds, both Chinese and foreigners from Europe, north america, Southeast asia. technical and marketing. We have been sharing skype user names, weixin, making group chats, wikis to share resources and ideas. I’m sure even after the program these relationships will help us greatly.

And we have been going through the mentor directory, selecting which mentors we’d like to talk to, and what kind of help we can ask of them. I’ve already interacted with a few, and they really respect you when you say you’re in this program – it pre-qualifies you as someone who is really serious about their business and taking their startup to the next level.

Friday night (last night) we had some fun and attended the Dalian Beer Fest – getting out of the office environment with the other startups helped us bond a bit and break down some of those “getting to know you barriers”

So I’m typing this 4pm on a Saturday from the chinaccelerator office, and there are other entrepreneurs here working away as well – that is what I want, a positive environment of other hard working people to motivate me and challenge me.

Others have been saying they feel like they are in school. I guess I miss this structure. Also having others to compare with and watch their progress versus yours motivates you to work even harder.

I’ll keep you posted, here are some photos of the office and apartment I rented.

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    1. its a good environment , but with great power comes great resposibility…. lots of pressure to deliver over the next few months.

  1. cool Dalian looks nice is that BLUE SKY I can see? 

  2. Awesome. Geeks on a train in Philippines would be too short a journey 😛 ….. makes me think of “GeekJeep”…

    Perhaps the structured environment is what you need to be truly creative? Sometimes too much freedom can be overwhelming/too undefined to know where to start…

    1. geeks on a boat would work best in philippines haha.

      but yes… this nurturing of structure is good … but also the other startups in the same room…. with weekly progress meetings makes it competitive as well so you.habe milestones etc

  3. You should be happy its not geeks in planes AFTER that experience, haha. Trains are fun. Just sit in another persons seat and fall asleep. The Chinese will not dare wake you and they will sit in someone else’s seat and screw up the whole seating eco system.

    I think this is going to be a great experience for you guys and will be life changing at the very least.

    1. thanks Attila,
      yes, i think our west coast startup roadtrip a couple months ago was also life changing for both of us. this is what its all about, finding people who are motivated and have the similar goals. that is already what i am noticing here in the incubator, being around other hard working people has really inspired me and pushed me even harder

      yesterday we had a round table and all talked about our startups, hearing the progress others are making really got me excited to try to excel even more.

  4. Go Mike!  Dalian is one of the top places I’d like to visit in China, considering it appears to have the largest IT base in China.  Dalian Commodity Exchange is there as well.  There seems to be lots of capital and talent flowing towards there.  At one point, I had considered enrolling in Dongbei for their mandarin language program. 

    1. hey Dave,

      thanks for keeping tabs with me on my blog. yes – in dalian i have really noticed the improved air quality. welcome to stop by, got some extra space in my factory dorm near the dungeon. haha

      but yes, one big advantage here in dalian is the technical center, it has been a city for it outsourcing for japan and korea, and there quite a few universities that are focusing on technical, looking to hire some interns from universities soon


  5. Lemme know if you notice a lot of Japanese in Dalian… I think it has historically had a lot of Japanese connections there..

    I randomly met a Filipino Martial Arts practitioner from Japan while in Bacolod last weekend, who is also married to a Wuhanese and does biz in China…

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