Accelerators and now decelerators?

22 Oct 2014
| Last update: 05 Oct 2015

There’s a new trend going on right now in the startup world. Well, I don’t know if it’s a trend, or an idea, if it’s a new thing, or yet another buzzword. I will let you decide that for yourself. I’m talking about decelerators. You may be asking yourself what does that mean, so I thought I would enlighten both me and you, and see what is this all about.

Does fast mean better?decelerators

The word accelerator itself makes you think about a rapid development of your business. And let’s face it, that is what everybody wants. You can read this article to find out more about what an accelerator does, and whether it’s a good idea to apply to one. While it’s hard to be accepted by an accelerator, getting into one won’t necessarily guarantee the fact that your startup is going to get funded. In fact, statistics show that very few get funded.

Does this mean decelerators are the new thing?decelerators

Could be. But first, let’s see what are decelerators, and how they differentiate themselves from all the other ways by which your startup can get funded.

We live in a fast-forward world. We have fast food, our phones need to work fast, not to mention our computers. Everything needs to happen right away, because, let’s face it, time is money and we’re not getting any younger, nor are we able to stop the time. In the startup world, entrepreneurs are used to working constantly on their business, so that they grow it as fast as they can, like there’s some marathon they’re running.

Sometimes, I feel like I need to get away from my laptop, even for a few minutes, just to take my mind of a task I’m struggling with. I find that when I concentrate too much on something that I need to do, my mind gets blocked, and I can’t seem to find any solution to my problem. This is when I know I need a break. And most of the time, during my break, when my mind is completely relaxed, I can find the answer to my question. This is exactly the principle a decelerator is based on.

Decelerators are telling you that you need to slow down, and take it easy (I just love Foghat’s song “Slow Ride”). If you keep working at high speed, you will soon be left with little, or no energy, at all. This will eventually slow down your process of developing your startup anyway, so why not take a step back, and focus on what’s really important.

Deceler8 – the first decelerator in the worlddecelerators

Michel Bachmann is the founder, and also the curator of Deceler8. His idea came in a time of his life when he felt overwhelmed by all the things he had to juggle with. He then talked to other entrepreneurs to whom he shared his thoughts, and it was only a matter of time until he made a decelerator become reality.

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In an interview for Your Story, Michel says that “this is the paradox: slowing down will actually help you go faster. As we take the time to review what’s really important – both professionally and personally – we are better able to say no and stay focused on the things that truly matter”. He also says that it’s an ironic thing that most people that are loving the idea say they don’t have time to join in the program.

Deceler8’s first pilot program that took place last year, was a success. There were 12 participants selected from all over the world, and the majority said that it had a positive impact on their life. This year, the program is looking for 12 participants, who fit the profile of entrepreneurs that are in need of some time to focus their energy on the right things. The selection is rigorous, as their “aim is to gather a highly diverse group in terms of entrepreneurial experience but consistent in the quality of what everyone brings in”, as they state on their website.

What does a decelerator program look like?Bali

The program will take place in Bali, on Oct 12-24th. For 5 days, participants won’t have access to the Internet, which could be a little weird for them, but could be a good thing for their mind. At the end of the 12 days, every participant selects a wing-man that will be his savior in hard times. The program also includes yoga, and meditation, which are considered practices that allow people to focus better.

Group conversations will help entrepreneurs find the answers to the questions they have. You will receive feedback from others, and look at things from a new perspective that you might have had all along, but you just couldn’t see it, because your mind was blocked.

3 months of peer-coaching is probably one of the best things of this program, which takes place after the retreat. After the program is over, the participants stay connected through a Facebook group, where they will check how everybody is doing. Also, the group that attended last year will be reunited again at The Burning Man Festival.

Do decelerators really work?decelerators

For starters, Bali is a great place to seek inspiration. For entrepreneurs that come from big cities where they are surrounded by sky scrappers, this might be just the breath of fresh air they needed. Deceler8 wants participants to consider this program “as a starting point for building a deceleration practice that you can sustain when you return home to your accelerated environment”.

It’s too early to say whether decelerators do work, because it’s a new thing, and there’s not much details to work with. We should know the answer to this question in a couple of years.

Would you join a decelerator?

In theory, a decelerator sounds like a good idea. We’ll just have to wait and see if it has good results in practice too. It would be every entrepreneur’s dream to just take a vacation, and then BOOM! All his problems are solved. Unfortunately, many times success comes only with hard work, and with no time to meditate over things.

It’s sharing time now. What do you think about the idea of a decelerator? Would you join one? Or would you change something about what already exists? Could decelerators really help entrepreneurs focus better on their business?

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Ana Darstaru

Content Writer at Squirrly
Ana has a strong sense of pragmatism and realism. Aside from the articles she writes for our lovely clients, she also loves testing new beauty products, and is obsessed with Pulp Fiction.
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