I'm sorry, that's an old cliché, but the thing about clichés is that they so often become that because they hug the truth. Consider this quote, from Nate Alder of Klymit Technology. He's talking about how his team approached venture competitions.
In preparation for each event we would spend our nights at the hotel refining our presentation based off of practice round judges feedback and stay up rehearsing our presentation as opposed to going out late drinking with the rest of the students from other schools.
We have always treated this as a serious business from the beginning and not just an extracurricular activity we do for fun on the weekends but we have sacrificed a lot of personal time, social life, entertainment, grades, and even other job opportunities to make this company a success.
We just have so much fun with it that it makes up for all our other sacrifices. Before each event we always made sure we had gotten plenty of sleep, ate a health meal, always avoiding alcohol, tobacco, or any other substance that could impact our minds or bodies. All these things combined really helped us stay relaxed and focused to perform well and have a lot of fun doing so.
Hmmm ... I think we've got something there. Work hard? Success? Correlation.
I saw Klymit three times last month in my month of judging venture contests. They took second place at Rice University, tied for first at the University of Oregon, and second place again at Moot Corp (University of Texas) in Austin. Klymit has innovative new technology that uses inert (as in complete harmless, already in the atmosphere) gases as insulation in ski jackets. The insulation is adjustable, so as the day warms, you can set your jacket to cool. The company has an impressive management team, and agreements already in place with major clothing vendors. It's an exciting new venture. The team, by the way, comes from Brigham Young University. And the business plan started (can't resist adding this) with Business Plan Pro.
And the plot (or the cliché) thickens too, with the fact that NeuroBank, from Carnegie Mellon, won the Moot Corp in Austin. NeuroBank took third at Rice University in early April with a combination of a new technique to harvest brain stem cells from the spine (instead of drilling a hole in the head) and a cell bank storage offering borrowed from techniques used to store human eggs, etc. Between the Rice contest in the first week in April, and the Moot Corp in the first week of May, NeuroBank went out and developed a waiting list of people ready to subscribe as soon as the service is available.
So there's that same theme: work, luck, reward, and all that.