Lunch, Luck & Spidey Sense: Ty Shattuck at Startup Grind Buffalo

Ty Shattuck paid Buffalo a visit recently. The managing director of Aethon Technologies, and former captain of the Canadian Air Force, stopped by d!g last Wednesday for a Startup Grind Buffalo talk that covered a wide array of topics, ranging from ideal business partner traits to his favorite superhero. Here were four highlights from the evening:

1. "The first philosophy of being an entrepreneur is getting out there and trying your idea with real customers.” Shattuck was adamant that entrepreneurs go out and ask for peoples’ opinions, rather than assuming they think it’s a great product. He likened it to a scientific hypothesis. Just as you need to test your hypothesis, you need to test your product. It doesn ‘t even have to be costly! Take a couple friends out to lunch and ask for their opinion – it’s a small investment that will go a long way.

2. Host Eben Piazza asked Ty which superhero ‘s technology he’d like to sell. Shattuck said, “Superman has the most core technologies, but that’s not scalable. Batman has lots of cool toys, but he’s a dark guy, so he’s probably not coachable. Spiderman, though… he has cool nanotechnologies, and he’s a young kid, so I’d go with him.”

3. When asked about cities known for entrepreneurship and tech, Ty asked, “Why would you want to be the next Silicon Valley?” He encouraged the crowd to go do their own thing; to forge their own path, and stand on the shoulders of their predecessors to build something even better.

4. To wrap up the conversation, Piazza asked Ty, “If Buffalo is to succeed, what is one thing it needs to do?” Ty simply said, “Be more lucky.” What he meant by this was to have a wider perspective, and to not just let opportunity knock, but actually answer the door. The University of Cambridge did a study on self-proclaimed ‘lucky’ and ‘unlucky’ entrepreneurs. The lucky entrepreneurs were the ones who took more chances, while the unlucky entrepreneurs were the ones who were more averse to risk. Shattuck advised the audience to step out larger cities’ shadows and not be afraid to take a chance.