We tend to glorify the startups too much. As Steve Blank says “a startup is a temporary organization designed to find a scalable business model”. What this actually means is that each day you spend in “startup mode” is a failed day. You still haven’t found the scalable business model!
You should celebrate the day when you’re no longer a startup. That means you’ve succeeded.
(Thanks to Gullfot for inspiration.)
Update: got some feedback on this elsewhere and I would like to point out that I personally love the startup phase. The problem is that the startup itself must leave this phase as soon as possible. This creates an interesting tension between the entrepreneur and the startup which is one of the reasons you as a startup entrepreneur should build a system, not a product.
Lean Startup-guru Eric Ries talks about a common ailment amongst the startups he meets: Stealth Disease:
They are too afraid to show something imperfect to the world or are afraid that a competitor will steal their idea.
I would like to highlight another common sickness that is sort of the flip side to the Stealth Disease: the First Mover Paranoia – the idea that your product has to be absolutely unique or else you will fail. Any sign of a competitor doing the same thing or something similar will immediately kill the startup idea as the founders become morally defused.
You would have thought that examples such as Google (not the first search engine), Facebook (not the first social network) or Amazon (not the first online book store) would eradicate this disease, but no, it is still very much present and viral. I see the symptoms of it all the time – and yes, I have myself also been infected from time to time.
I wonder how many startups or potential startups fall victim to these two diseases. The First Mover Paranoia is extra vicious since it strikes so early. Often long before the execution of the startup idea is even started.
The cure for the First Mover Paranoia is to not view competitors as impassable roadblocks but as a verification that the idea actually works and has a market. That is in fact great news! Now the challenge becomes to find holes in the existing market (geographic, pricing, quality etc.) or to improve on what the competitor is doing.
Tough, but less tough than trying to bring something completely new to the market.
Jag har börjat samla ihop en snabböversikt över svenska startups på Sweden 100. Fokus här är antal och hastighet, dvs så många som möjligt (där är inte så många just nu men jag lägger till fler löpande) och inte så mycket information om varje. En bild och en mening ska räcka för att man ska förstå vad det handlar om.
Förebilden är Emily Changs eHub där diverse Web 2.0-tjänster listas.
För en djupare dipp i den svenska startupmyllan rekommenderas Arctic Index som täcker hela Norden och har betydligt mer information om tjänsterna och personerna bakom.