Kudos to Mass Challenge for supporting startup companies

The Apple Garage: Startups may no long start in a garage, but fortunately the spirit of building something from nothing is alive and well.

I’ve always loved working with startup companies. Nothing beats the thrill of working side by side with a founding entrepreneur, trying to build a company from scratch, or defining a brand for the first time.

I’ve also been really lucky, having worked on the launch of Lotus 1-2-3, Smartfood Popcorn, Monster.com, Oxygen Media, Lending Tree and most recently Springpad. Not to mention a bunch of others who weren’t quite as successful.

So when the AdClub of Boston asked me to talk to some of the top startups in the world, according to the Mass Challenge, I jumped on it. Mass Challenge is a very cool idea, a competition that attempts to identify the most worthy new ideas, from all over the globe. The collaborative effort involves dozens of organizations collectively committed to igniting a global startup renaissance and supporting entrepreneurs.

This year’s contest filtered 440 entrants from 26 countries and 24 states down to 110 finalists. When all is said and done 10 to 20 winners will receive grants between $50,000 and $100,000 toward launching their business.  Great idea.

On Monday, I’ll join Fran Kelley, CEO of Arnold Worldwide; Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace; and others from Beam Interactive and Shift Communications in advising these startups on how to brand their companies.

We need entrepreneurs. New companies. Fresh ideas. Whether they become future clients, products and technologies that make us more productive, or simply sources of inspiration for our own continued growth. They might even serve to light a fire under our asses should those asses get too comfortable in our current situation.

I’m going on Monday because I expect to get something amazing in return. A rush of adrenalin. A chance to hear about new ideas.  An infusion of energy that comes when you get in a room with a bunch of people determined to create something great despite odds, obstacles and uncertainty. Having done the equivalent once with Mullen, I’m always jealous.

Need a dose of energy? Tired of the slow pace of committees and corporate decision making? Want more responsibility than you’ve ever had before? Find a way to work with, or for, a startup. There’s no money, no time and nowhere near enough resources.  But you’ll get to find out just how creative you really are. And probably have the time of your life.

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