Stories of startups inspire everyone.
When you are joining MBA, one is asked a question “Why MBA?” Participants can always give an impressive answer but the question is more an introspective one to ponder. It has to be answered by ourselves within. Honestly.
Same with startup.
Popular reasons why many look at startups excitingly:
- Quick way to make money. Extraordinary money at that.
- Glamorous media coverage of funding updates. Must feel like king.
- No boss to deal with. One can take all the decisions and do what mind says.
- Solve a societal problem. Bigger the better.
Most of it is untrue. If you look at risk vs returns, stable jobs will get you better monetary outcome with less risk.
If you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Engineer’s have a coding complex. Many rush to write code the moment they get the idea. While the activity gives you a feeling that you are doing something in the right direction, you are just keeping yourself busy.
Many engineers are introverts by nature and do not like pinging an unknown person, introduce self and ask for feedback/favour. So writing code gels with it. It gives a feeling that we are making progress.
There is a story about a vulture and hunter.
Hunter is walking next to a tree and the vulture perched on tree asks him, “Are you going for a hunt?”
Hunter replies, “Yes”
Vulture says, “Can you please do me a favour? Can you please not kill my birdlings?”
Hunter says, “Sure, describe them to me”
Vulture says, “They are the most beautiful birds in the world”
Hunter says, “Sure, I will remember that” and he makes a move.
In the evening, when the vulture sees the hunter returning with vulture’s chicks that he has killed, vulture asks him, “You told me that you wouldn’t kill them?”
Hunter says, “You told me that they are beautiful. These are anything but”
Vulture says, “For every mother, their kids look most beautiful in the world”
End of the story.
Beauty is in the eyes of beholder. Same with idea too. Once we have our own idea, we get attached to it a lot and think of it as our gift to mankind. It has a tendency to suspend objectivity. This trap can be very powerful and a wrong idea has a tendency to sap couple of months to years and drain all energy in the process.
First time founders aren’t very comfortable discussing their idea with anyone. They think the world is out to steal their idea. Nothing can be further from it. Everyone is busy doing their own activity and can’t drop everything they are doing to steal your idea. And no one can replicate your passion for your idea.
Validation: Talk to potential customers, describe your idea and ask them if they would use your solution and pay for it. This is a very clever hack to understand market for one’s idea. In case you are not able to find anyone to talk who can use your idea, how can you find potential customers to sell it to?
To summarize, we have outlined few mistakes first time founders make which can cost months of time.
We will add more learnings in coming posts.