The topic of the speech I gave at ALEV schools last week was "entrepreneurship in the IT sector". The conversation basically consisted of three parts and I would like to share the first part with you in this article, the '3 principles that make a startup successful' in the second article, and the one with the theme of 'happiness' in the last article.
When we think of 'entrepreneurship', most of us think of the following stereotypical story: One introvert (nerd), the other socialite (visionary) two college buddies decide one day to drop out of college, lock themselves in their garages, start writing some code, and become rich in 5-10 years. Between these two extremes is often garnished with capital raised and multi-million dollar purchase offers that were rejected at the very beginning: Our heroes first dared, then persevered, and finally achieved their dreams.
So why is entrepreneurship sold to us this way, while statistically 90% of startups fail?
Success is a dish best served cold
Because stories of failure are of no interest to anyone. The story of the teenager who couldn't withstand the constant discouraging guidance of the people he values most –his parents– to keep him from chasing his dreams, the efforts of his elders to 'get him on the rails' (see: getting a job) , and the condescending attitudes of his friends; who gave up on his mobile app after 1-2 years, whose download statistics weren't bad at all: This story has no place in the media.
If that kid kept chasing his dreams even for 5-10 years, let alone 1-2 years, he would first lose the financial support of his family, then he would probably get married, and at the end of every day he couldn't make enough money, he would have to first look in the mirror and then face his wife and children, whom he couldn't provide.
Take a look at Amazon's stock price chart: Almost no movement for 12 years. Twelve-years! Are you ready for such perseverance?
What type of fuel are you running on?
There is only one part of that romantic story that you have to consider, which is that the venture was founded by two people who characteristically complement each other (more on this in the next article). Erase the rest from your mind;
Entrepreneurship is blood, sweat and tears.
And in order to survive, you need to start with the right motivation:
- Do you refuse to work for someone else, and wish to be your own boss? (Do you have enough experience in all areas of your business from A to Z?)
- Have you observed an unmet need in the market and are you looking to seize this opportunity? (Are you ready to work on a product that you think others need, but don't need yourself, for a lifetime?)
- Or is your goal just to be rich? (Do you want this or do you need it?)
Even if you successfully pass this test, none of these will likely suffice. Your basic motive, your sacred purpose, your fuel... must be so flammable that it will pass all kinds of tests (especially that of 'time'), wake you up every morning with the sunrise, and knock again on every door that shuts in your face.
Or are you one of those casual wannabe entrepreneurs, who go like "I don't have such big goals; let me do what I love, I'll just have enough"? Then here comes from Joan, the goddess of Mad Men:
Sometimes when people get what they want, they realize how limited their goals were.
Be careful what you dream of – you don't wanna go back to the starting line in the middle of the run.