I’m always astonished by the articles that discuss startup failures. There are many definitions, but in the tech community. If you’re not fully funded or have overwhelming user acquisition momentum within the 1st 12 months, you probably fall in the FAILED category. This one doesn’t attempt to cover the whole 90% statistic, but looks at a few side by side cases. Worth looking at.
I am subscribed to The List Serve, it’s a service where 1 member writes 1 email that we all receive each day. Content tends to be very advice oriented, “never give up, pursue your dreams, be happy”. Sometimes it’s confessional. Sometimes it’s instructional. Often it’s insipid. But I still skim it everyday and today there was a Gem so I’m re-posting it here without permission.
So the story goes…..A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing under the pile of cow dung and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Moral of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy. (2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend. (3) If you are happy and warm in a pile of shit then it’s smart to keep your mouth shut!
………and the doctor recommends (I really am one) :-
1) Make an effort to smile everyday, it will help you live longer. 2) Don’t forget how to use a pen. 2) Enjoy your single malt scotch as it was intended…straight and unadulterated. 3) Take time to sit with your eyes closed for atleast 10 minutes…it will open up your mind. 4) Read IF by Rudyard Kipling and Auguries of Innocence by Wiliam Blake. 5) Everything will be alright at the end, if it’s not alright then it’s not the end
Live long and prosper my friends!
Aniruddh Behere Springfield Illinois, USA
Follow them on Twitter @thelistserve thelistserve.com facebook.com/thelistserve
So, I’m 40. That’s not particularly old. But I am fully an adult. I have a 21 year old stepson, and 11 year old daughter, a wife, I used to have a mortgage and I have life and car insurance etc. Young Entrepreneurs constantly portray the mindset of older folks (adults) as having abandoned their dreams.
My take on it is that it comes down to your perspective of the future. As you age, the future becomes less abstract. It arrives, as it were, as it is. In the future you could have been the next Hemingway, except you’re not. You’re a 40 yr old serial entrepreneurial technologist with 2 kids.
In the future you could have invented Instagram and earned a billion in shaky Facebook stock. But you’re not. You still keep track of your hours and you usually invoice some one for Travel expenses and you pay attention to when the reimbursement check is scheduled to come.
So being an adult isn’t about abandoning your dreams. dreams just have shorter shelf life. There isn’t an opportunity to wait 5 years to be the next you. It’s today.
Dreams cost more because they last less long. And they mature into market value sooner. If I dream of being In band at 42. I pretty much need to learn to play guitar today. If I dream of running a marathon. I need to enter a 5k run for next month. If I dream of owning a home, I need to put away 15% of my next check towards a down payment.
So adults haven’t abandoned their dreams, they just have to work harder to have a dream, because tomorrow is today and dreams don’t come cheap. They live or die on what you did this morning.
So, Mountain Lion upgrade generally went fine, but had some real problems with my MAMP stack (Mac, Apache, Mysql, Php). I program in a lot of languages in and keeping my stacks working with current development machine is usually no problem, but I ran into about 3 hours of confusion with Mac Mountain Lion and Apache.
Basically it’s that Stick With It advice you hear so often. I usually agree with most of his insights but this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
FACT=>Most startups fail CONJECTURE => Many go down in flames with debt, unpaid salaries, legal liabilities, broken promises, divorces, friendships ended etc
CONCLUSION => Most startups fail too late.
In my experience startup Entrepeneurs have by definition already got the stick with it gene. They wouldn’t be doing a startup of they didn’t. In fact I would say too many of them have a delusional sense that of they just keep trying to hang on, somehow it will all work out allright.
In fact the best piece of advice I can give is this: When you find yourself with a shovel, deep in a hole, STOP DIGGING.
Practically what this means is that it’s better to retreat when the writing is CLEARLY on the wall, regroup, maybe take a temp job, and come at it again a bit later when you’ve digested what went wrong how your luck worked against you.
So stick with it by all means, but don’t believe the fantasy that if you stick with something that isn’t working, all you need is persaverence.
I’ve been working for a while on trying to develop a toolbox for the Suits I meet to understand the Geeks I work with. One of the most common process problems I’ve encountered in a mangement culture is a complete and total misunderstanding of how tech works, what motivates technical people, and the value that technical teams bring. The reverese is also completely true.
Ask any developer what the non-technical people in their organization do, and usually you’ll get an answer like:
“There are non-technical people here?”
“The have meetings?”
or “I have no frigging clue.”
I’m designing a series of surveys (non-scientific) to suss out the nature of the most common problems and possible solutions. If you’re a Geek, a tech person, a designer (still on the technical side of Suits versus Nerds) please help me out and take the survey.
I’ve had a long running mental list of things I want to eventually do, but I thought it might be fun to post a few examples. This is only an “includes but is not limited to” sample, my list is pretty much endless, No order of priority implied: