Connect Not Protect


I work on 20Skaters, ThreeFortyNine, Ontario Startup Train and a few others. My vanity site is

I always struggle to explain our weekly Founder’s Club. I’m quite comfortable in that, in fact I feel no pressure to explain it. The people involved are comfortable with it’s ambiguity and people not involved can stay curious.

Success requires no apologies, failure permits no alibis“, Napoleon Hill

My simplest pitch for Founder’s Club is that it’s group therapy for those of us crazy enough to attempt to create something new out of nothing. That something new is a business for most of us. Our projects range from web properties to retail stores, restaurants to kid’s toys. Being an inventor, entrepreneur, small team startup etc is a lonely place. There isn’t a lot of us around.

Lately I believe it’s becoming more clear to me why Founder’s Club is so powerful. We all truly have skin in the game. I have always told people not to vet advice they’re given, vet the advisor first. What’s their skin in the game? What’s their downside in the case their advise is wrong? Talk is not only cheap, it can be downright harmful if the talker has no downside.

It’s why I’m highly skeptical of sponsored mentorship. I’ve been on both sides of it. The fact is there’s no real downside if harmful advice is given. There’s only potential upside for the sponsored mentor. In the case of harmful advice, the mentor keeps being paid well to talk, I lost my home. (Hypocrite note, I’ve previously been a sponsored mentor)

Speculative risk taking is not just permissable; it is mandatory. No opinion without risk…Our mission is to make talk less cheap“, Antifragile

I’m not suggesting you avoid sponsored mentors. I’m not suggesting sponsored mentors can’t deliver incredible value. I am saying that they have no downside and that’s risky. Founder’s Club is fundamentally different. We make talk less cheap. We advise each other, we work directly on each other’s businesses, we get our hand’s dirty. What’s said in Founder’s Club stays in the room. People are accountable for their words.

While some of us are working together on our projects, generally we don’t have skin in each other’s games, however, everyone in the room is personally invested in creating new business here in Guelph, KW and surrounding areas. We have mortgages. We’re building businesses. We’re all heavily invested in Guelph being a great city to create a new business. That’s our skin in the game at Founder’s Club. If we’re wrong, we all suffer. We lose businesses, we lose homes.

Getting you to join our Founder’s Club isn’t my point here. It’s that you share, connect and seek advice and counsel with others who have skin in the game. Or don’t listen to me, listen to nature…..

When nature finds itself in need of new ideas, it strives to connect, not protect“, Where Good Ideas Come From