At 600 feet, the engine stopped, and we’re falling…. fast. Over 2000 feet per minute, which gives me a little less than 18 seconds to do something before we hit the ground. And we have no parachute.
Sitting through hundreds of hours of lectures, reading, studying and talking about theory and procedures, while a crucial foundation before this day, was no comparison to actually living in and experiencing that moment: when I completed my first helicopter autorotation during advanced flight training. My saving grace was that an experienced flight instructor sat next to me, ready to save us had I failed to act, or to correct the controls had I acted wrongly, coaching me as I landed us safely with only a few small bumps. I’m sure the outcome would have been much different without the luxury of having this mentor guide me during my first time through.
This is TI:GER.
It is not some theoretical mumbo jumbo that we may apply one day. Sure it feels like I’m standing in front of an open fire hose, being beaten with excessive information through a heavier course load, massive amounts of reading, many (but relevant, guest expert-led) lectures, discussions and lots of work (including patent filing, intellectual property freedom to operate, industry analysis, and currently working on funding, customer discovery, and a commercialization plan). It is challenging. But what makes this different… better… worth it, is that we are living it, experiencing it, testing it, as we work to try to actually commercialize a cutting edge technology and form a company.
I am humbled to be part of a brilliant team working to commercialize a new additive manufacturing technology (ahem… sorry Margi… “3D printing”) which “prints” lighter/stronger production-grade composites (carbon fiber, Kevlar, etc). Led by the Georgia Tech PhD who invented the technology, Chris Oberste, our “dream TI:GER team” was the first to form this year, taking in incredible talent with our Emory University JD’s Daniel Ledesma and Nathan North and my Scheller MBA counterpart Akshay Saxena. We’ve already made incredible strides towards our goal.
TI:GER is an entrepreneurial accelerator that thrusts you beyond the books into the action.
Just as the flight instructor was there during my initial helicopter flights to increase safety, as we go through TI:GER, we are not alone. We are surrounded by dedicated advisors and current field-expert business and legal mentors, hand selected to match their expertise with our technology. They are there guiding us, helping to prevent us from making catastrophic (or, at least, costly) mistakes, allowing us to learn the process through doing while having a safety net should we falter along the way.
This next year is going to be awesome. I’m all in.
TI:GER Class of 2017