How To Get Into Flow As An Early Stage Founder

Gerrit McGowan
by Flow Research Collective
August 1, 2023
"There will not be Flow and there will not be Success, if you don't have Intrinsic Motivation." Gerrit McGowan
Gerrit McGowan


Gerrit McGowan has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. He is the founder of the Syntegrity Group, KULA.com, Effectuate Ventures, the ICELab Innovation Center, the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, and numerous other short-lived ventures.

When not building his own businesses, Gerrit is helping others build theirs - having coached over 1000 founders and nascent entrepreneurs across five continents. He is a mentor for Techstars and Alchemist startup accelerators, creator of the ICELab Accelerator at Western Colorado University, and is currently launching his latest accelerator at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.

Gerrit’s background is as diverse as his taste in ventures. He spent his teens and twenties as a competitive athlete, working for numerous environmental think tanks and nonprofits along the way. But a whitewater trip to Africa during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis profoundly altered his trajectory, redirecting his focus to the aid and development community, where he devoted the better part of a decade advising the United Nations and its partners in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

In 2010, Gerrit’s career path shifted once again to launch his first venture-backed startup, Kula Causes - a marketing-tech Software-as-a-Service that provided technology for cause marketing initiatives like MyCoke Rewards Donate to Schools, Kellogg’s Points with Purpose, Red Robin Eat Up-Give Back Rewards, and JetBlue’s TrueGiving. It was on this startup journey that Gerrit became aware of the psychophysiological challenges of startup founders, sparking a passion for helping entrepreneurs maximize their health and well-being through stress and uncertainty.

Today, Gerrit contributes his energy and experience to research on the physiology of optimal human performance, using wearable fitness trackers and daily-diary reports to identify the antecedents of flow among startup founders. But chances are, you’re still more likely to find him exploring whitewater in his kayak, chasing powder on his board, or riding trails near his home in Germany’s Middle Rhine region.


Steven Kotler: Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.

He is the author of nine bestsellers (out of thirteen books) and has appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, TIME and the Harvard Business Review.

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