Why do we make this Startup euphoria so dramatic?

The prologue

The latter part of 2011 for me has been reflection.  A good old look in the mirror to see if the man looking back at me was happy, fulfilled and ready to take on the post 40 year old part of life with the same enthusiasm and humour (some may say it’s a little dry to know if it’s humour or not).

I reviewed the spines of the books on the bookshelf, I looked at my Twitter lists, my Facebook friends. I’ve got be happy haven’t I?  Lastly I dug out my big black book of jottings, notes and snippets of information.  I reflected at uVoucher (now parked) and all it was potentially going to do and potentially change the world (yes I fell in to that trap too).

I looked back in the mirror, “you’re mad, delusional and a failure”. Jason Bell, you may join the pile with the other 84% that didn’t get there.

The Wilderness

Startup, bootstrapping, entrepreneur, CEO and other ego fuelled labels are there for one thing, to tell another person what you are.  Depending on your level of ego defines how well you can gel into those titles and project the required levels of marketing.  The real risk is when you believe the title is you and you live your life by it.  Rocky ground on a road to ruin.

It’s a strange badge of honour.  First of all we award it too ourselves with no prior grounding.

The world does need more JFDI that’s for sure.  People who are willing just to get on with it and not spend months on a business plan (though you do need one).  Those people tend to work in isolation or in pairs and just beaver away until they are ready.  Better still the ones you never hear about are so busy selling to post anything….

All technical people struggle with this mentality of sell first then build for service based software. And as much as I battled, struggled with the concept and argued tooth and nail with some (mainly Learning Pool’s Paul McElvaney) I can hand on heart say he is right.  Sell, then build. My tech brain won over my commercial brain and paid the price.

Obviously there are some things you can do that with, a game for example, you just gotta get it out there and measure the response and adjust accordingly.

Agile startups, who cares? Lean startups, who cares? Just sell the idea then build…..

The epilogue

Life is a cattle farm coyotes with the mules, life is a bullring for taking risks and flouting rules. Who needs a safety net the world is open wide. Just look out for the card sharks and the danger signs.” 

There are 60+ business books on my Kindle and I hardly look at them.  There’s one I do look at as it encompasses everything (and I’m not talking about The Book that Garrett Murphy and I worked on 🙂 ).  Most business books sell us a lie that you can make it, the reality is most don’t. Business books sell the dream, buy a book on selling instead, it’s more useful.  The only good book I’ve come across trying to put you off starting up on your own was “The Entrepreneur Equation” by Carol Roth.

The few nuggets from two years of reading and talking to hundreds of people brought me to this.

  • What problem does it solve
  • Who can you sell it too
  • How are you going to charge for it

All that guff about passion is fine, what you really need is stamina and time.  And if you think that you don’t have the time the review what you do in a daily around your daily job/routine. You could pack in another four hours minimum without trying.

Just don’t crucify time with your family, they come first.

Do one thing executed perfect and people will talk about it.  Then you can build it from there. 

I’m not dead, it’s just a flesh wound.



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