What is your why? - by Seraphim Space Camp mentor, Rafferty Jackson7th March 2019
By Rafferty Jackson
At Seraphim Space Camp, we work hard to make sure we offer the best acceleration tools to our Space entrepreneurs and this is why we’re so proud to have such brilliant advising experts and mentors in our Missions. Today, we’re glad to share insights below that Rafferty Jackson, ex-Beats Executive Vice-President, shared during one of our sessions from Mission 2 about the importance of storytelling for space entrepreneurs and startups.
Let’s celebrate innovation, Space entrepreneurship and the brilliant women who successfully do both.
What is your why?
“There is nothing more captivating than the stars. Since the beginning of time, man has looked up to the stars.”
It is something we have all done - there is not one person who hasn’t looked up at the night sky in wonder and awe. In those two sentences, Rafferty Jackson tapped into that emotion, taken us back in time to the beginning of mankind and across the universe.
Being able to create a story that is so powerful and visual in just a few words is a game changer for an entrepreneur just starting out.
Rafferty was the Executive Vice-President of Beats by Dr. Dre, helping to globally scale it from 125 employees to over 600 while growing revenue in excess of $1B and then successfully selling it along with Beats Music to Apple Inc. for $3billion. She was tasked with leading the preservation of the Beats start-up culture as the company became operationally global and complex. She developed a methodology for infusing all new employees, leaders and partners with “the why of Beats” to ensure the vision of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, the founders, was deeply ingrained in all brand decision-making at all levels and in all regions.
As part of International Women’s Day, we look at some of the amazing female mentors we have had on the Seraphim Space Camp programmes. We were lucky enough to have Rafferty Jackson join us for Mission 2 to engage with our companies on storytelling. Below are some thoughts from Rafferty’s conversation on the “why” of storytelling and we look forward to having her join us again for Mission 3 to teach both the “why” and “how.”
“An exciting change has happened – we are going back into space and going back into space in such an incredible way with private businesses and public partnerships, not just governments. So much has happened since the world followed the Space Race. Cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and streaming happened and now everyone is looking down for stories, necks craned away from the stars. We need to storytell space again. We need to inspire everyone to look up, up to the stars, up to our human potential.
Entrepreneurs in space tech need to behave in new ways to meet the energy of a fast-moving marketplace that is trying to react to support the New Space industry. You have an idea that is often radical and exciting and you are incredibly passionate about it. So passionate, you may have left your job, your school, taken out a loan and left your friends and family behind.
The people on the other side of your conversation, though, may not be as knowledgeable, as experienced or as brave as you are and you really need their attention to move your business forward. You must be able to eloquently storytell your vision to them as carefully as a parent reading to a child.
A pitch is nothing but a story and for you, the founder, the world’s most important story. For those few moments with a captive audience, you need to tell a story to get the listener to believe you; you are going to need to storytell to get exceptional people to quit their current jobs and join your tiny hustle-start up; when you need more money or a change in leadership approval from your Board of Directors, you must storytell to them what is happening and what is going to happen. Everywhere you turn as a founder, you are always pitching and storytelling.
So what do all good storytellers have in common? They all know their why. They know exactly why they are the right person to tell the story and why that story must be told regardless of any obstacles, setbacks or disbelief.
All founders need to know both their personal and company why. When you chose to become a founder, you abandoned the right to drift through life without clear values and without a clear purpose. You no longer have the right to be personally conflicted inside of yourself as to what your why is. You are now taking money from people to build a company. You’re not going on vacation, they’re not hoping you do well, this isn’t a charity, they are looking at you and saying you have a great idea and you are the right person to lead it.
Once you have your own personal why, then you need to decide your company’s why. What is the why that will push you and all of your employees through obstacles and setbacks? What are those beliefs that define the company and its purpose for existing?
Once you have that company why with your personal why, then you have your foundation.
Without this foundation, the company may drift under the current of strong personalities or financial influence and you may find yourself lost, reactive or indecisive. With your foundation set, you will always have clarity and make a clean pitch even under the worst of circumstance. You never have to worry about anything you say being off message.
Your personal and company whys will mature over time - do not worry about perfection. Your personal why should be growing with you as you learn, change, fail and win. Same with the company why. The company why should adjust and reframe with each phase of development from company conception to launch, growth and eventual sustainability.
Stay diligent to both your personal why and professional why and your foundation will always be firm. Find your why. Tell your story.”
From technical aspects to marketing, including scaling strategies and investment-readiness, our mentors and our team cover everything you need, during our nine-weeks programme, to start doing business with our corporate partners.
If you liked this article and want to know more about Seraphim Space Camp acceleration programme, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org