Why some startups succeed and others fail? Most importantly, how do you define success and failure and can you possibly be successful by challenging the status quo of innovation and startup value creation? Those are questions that I attempt to answer with a few things I’ve experienced through my own experience building a technology and marketing company from scratch. It all boils down to this: make sure your partners have skin in the game.
Success and failure. Two distinct outcomes and it is just as hard to do both right.
How do you define a success or a failure really depends on how high your bar is set and what are you willing to do, feel and explore in the quest to making your business work.
Find your drive and make sure it can support you through thick and thin
For some that drive to make it happen is the dream of seeing their vision implemented and alive in the form of a product. For others is the sheer need to prove that they can make money from the very beginning of the startup. For others is a way of life. But why would you want such a tough life? Why risk it when you have the opportunity of stability and a paycheck every two weeks with a comfortable office overseeing the bay? The answer for me is simple. The option of being a mid-career manager scares the shit out of me. Plus I need the challenge of diving into the unknown and coming out the other side with the experience of having figured it out. And potentially the upside that it represents. That seems rather incomprehensible for some but for me it is the natural next step.
The opportunity to be the best in the world
A startup represents the need and opportunity to create something unique. Something that no one else in the world can do it quiet your way. The opportunity to be the best in the world at one thing.
Seeking the coveted upside of sweat equity
In the grand scheme of things, people will remember your company by a great liquidity event. Going public big time or being acquired makes people remember the success or failure of a company. It doesn’t matter if you created Friendster, the first social networking ever, if you don’t transform that into tangible value, then your company might not matter.
Let me know what your thoughts are — I would love to hear your thoughts and experience.