Draper University Experience. Notes by Sergey Faldin.

Sergey Faldin 🇺🇦
17 min readJan 31, 2019

I had a lot of fun doing the Draper University ‘Hero Training’ program. In many ways, it changed me. It still does, as I continue to reflect on my experiences 6 months after the program ended.

A lot of people ask me whether my startup launched, whether I got funding, etc. The answer is: that’s not the point.

In fact, as one of the program leaders told us, 9 out of 10 businesses that launch or are conceived at DraperU don’t last another 2 months. And I was no exception to this rule.

The thing is, ‘having your startup launch’ or ‘get funding’ or ‘get exposure’ are all good things, but that wasn’t the point of my trip to DraperU last summer. And I guess it’s not what most of the students get out of the program.

What you really get out of the program is thoughts. Ideas. Insights. Connections. Getting to know 47 people from 25 countries. Living, sleeping, working, (spoiler: almost dying during Survival Week) together. That’s what’s truly valuable when you are 20–30 years old. Forget about your ‘exit’, learn! You’ll get there eventually, why hurry?

The program changes you. Being among amazing people changes you. Jumping in the ocean with Tim Draper himself changes you. Talking to 2–3 millionaires per day and living for 1.5 months in the very heart of Silicon Valley changes you. And it continues to do so as you go through life and reflect on your experience many months (and, I guess, years) since.

Because I am somewhat of an idea nerd (someone who just can’t go on and not write down random ideas and insights in his Evernote), I documented each and every day of my DraperU experience. I selected the best notes from my Evernote and organized them below to obtain this looong Medium post. Hope it’s useful and thought-provoking for people who haven’t been to DraperU and is a bit nostalgic to my fellow classmates (hey team!).

Without further ado, here we go…

“You are never prepared. So just GO!”

…yelled Tim Draper, billionaire and a 3-rd generation VC, jumping in the pool with his suit and shoes on.

That was my first day and my first lesson on entrepreneurship.

Be it building a business, giving a keynote speech, etc. — you are never really ready. You can be 80% ready, but not a 100%. And that marginal 20% gives you a pain in the ass. So…

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Sergey Faldin 🇺🇦

Honest thoughts. Unpopular opinions. Not necessarily true or smart. | The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Meduza | muckrack.com/sfaldin | Subscribe: sergeys.substack.com