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Letter from 3 Day Startup CEO Cam Houser

By June 1, 2018News

The first time I ran a 3DS program and I needed to get everyone’s attention I just yelled over everyone.

Eventually, I figured out the “slow clap maneuver”. The way it works is you walk up to a team of students and ask them to join you when you start slow, steady clapping. Now that you’ve got some co-conspirators, everything flows: the intensity and volume of the clapping builds as the rest of the room realizes something important is happening. They start clapping along. Before you know it, everyone is clapping faster and faster in unison until it swells to a crescendo.

Now you’ve got everyone’s attention. Instead of straining your voice, you’ve worked with a small group of folks to get behind a shared effort that galvanizes a much larger group of hearts and minds. (Sound familiar?)


Do you hear that?

That’s me, starting a slow clap.

After a decade leading 3 Day Startup, the organization has reached a different level. At this new level, Director of New Projects Alexis Taylor is the best person to head the organization. She’ll succeed me as CEO, and I’ll take the role of Founder/Chief Innovation Officer exploring opportunities we haven’t had time to really dig into that will help 3DS continue to grow our impact.

3 Day Startup turned ten this year. I’ve been with the organization since its inception and held the CEO role for the last 8 years. After running 500 programs with 13,000 students in 30 countries, the organization has changed the entrepreneurship education landscape. Our work delivers transformational learning, engages the business community in innovative ways, and leads communities to brighter economic futures.

Two years ago was the first time I started wondering if the CEO position was the best fit. Leading the org had uncovered new areas of opportunity that the CEO role wasn’t allowing me to pursue.

At the same time, a rising star was demonstrating her ability to rocket 3DS forward.

As the founding CEO of 3DS, I know better than anyone what the potential of our organization, its message, and its potential for world-changing impact. I also know that no one I’ve ever met embodies the 3DS spirit like Alexis Taylor.

Alexis joined the 3DS community in 2013 when she led a phenomenal 3DS program at Creighton University in Omaha. Her impact was immediate and outsized: From her work launching engagements in new continents, regions, and countries, to creating large government partnerships, to driving outbound sales processes, she has been a hugely positive force on the org.

In the past year, Alexis has led the delivery of a major extension of our longstanding State Department work in Austria, won new deals with our partners in DC that elevated the trajectory of our educational offerings and impact, submitted major funding proposals to exciting global partners, represented 3DS at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, and adapted the 3DS model for workforce development contexts. All of this work and more has allowed us to expand our current engagements and build the foundation for new initiatives with impactful partners.

3DS’ future is bright. Alexis has the skills, the drive, and vision for the next phase of the organization’s life where we can take our impact further and farther across the world to help more and more communities thrive through entrepreneurship.

As for me, I am still 100% committed to 3 Day Startup and its next phase of growth. My new role will focus on projects that add innovations to our current offerings, amplify our thought leadership, and build programming that advances the mission of 3DS.

Alexis is about to take center stage and do some slow clapping of her own. I’ll be clapping along with her.

Entrepreneurially yours,