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Another Silly Startup Analogy (diegobasch.com)
52 points by seank on May 30, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



The best startup analogy is that of a band. Everybody is in one, or if not, they want to be. A lot of work and sweat is invested, often after hours. If you get kicked out, or the band breaks up, you start another. Everyone dreams of making it big, but few do, and a lot end up making a lot less money than they think they will due to the record labels (VCs). But the dream lives on.


I think this is a good one for some [romantic] relationships as well.

The goal is not always to be together forever and/or marry, just to keep making some timeless/edgy/groovy music together.


There is a (very good) movie about that analogy: The Commitments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Commitments_(film)


That's when someone realise and came up with the idea of American Idol and screws up the whole process.


Techcrunch 50, Demo day?


>> Everybody is in one, or if not, they want to be.

Nah - some people leave the band, look back and just shake their head saying "yeah those were some pretty crazy times".


What is it with this recent, rampant meme anyway? "Oh, startups, it's all luck". Some people just seem determined to denigrate even the idea that hard work, blood, sweat, tears and sheer force of will can lead someone to success.

I don't buy it. I don't think that was ever true, and I think it's even less true today.

Today we can run startups with far less overhead and at far lower cost, thanks to open-source, cloud computing, social media and other developments, and we can build profitable, successful startups without necessarily needing to build "the next Facebook".

Thanks to @sgblank and others in the Lean Startup community, we have developed much more detailed processes for going from Idea -> Company -> Company with Customers, leaving less to happenstance than ever before.

The Internet - Angel List, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hoovers, and other resources, make it easier than ever to find customers, partners, investors, resellers and the like.

I keep coming back to this old saw, which - despite being a total cliche - has the ring of truth to it:

The harder I work, the luckier I get

or maybe this one:

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity

Closing thought:

They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

...

The money is out there, you pick it up, it's yours. You don't, I got no sympathy for ya[1]

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kZg_ALxEz0


> Some people just seem determined to denigrate even the idea that hard work, blood, sweat, tears and sheer force of will can lead someone to success.

I think the bigger issue is that there are a lot more people that invest hard work, blood, sweat, etc. and fail than people who do all those things and succeed. It's still silly to say it's all luck, but I think it's fair to say that luck (by which I just mean circumstances that cannot be predicted or controlled by the founders/workers) plays a large part in success.


I think the bigger issue is that there are a lot more people that invest hard work, blood, sweat, etc. and fail than people who do all those things and succeed.

I should have explained my position a bit more clearly... what I'm getting at is that, in business, you don't ever fail the way you do in this game show scenario. In the show, you get one shot at the "win" and you win or lose, do or die, game over. In Real Life, as long as you're breathing, you get to keep trying. Failure is never final. If Startup A doesn't succeed, you take the lessons you learned from it, and do Startup B. The only way you ever really fail is when you run out of time.

Given that, I posit that if you are dedicated, determined and persistent enough, you can usually find a way to success through "blood, swear, tears and sheer force of will".

Yes, "black swan" events can come along and cripple you, but I'm treating those as outliers that aren't significant for the point of this conversation. You may, of course, disagree with that position.


Have you read the post at all? He's saying that it's hard work, blood, sweat, tears and sheer force of will... and then, luck.


Have you read the post at all?

What do you think?

He's saying that it's hard work, blood, sweat, tears and sheer force of will... and then, luck.

Yes, and I'm saying he's wrong, that this analogy is badly flawed.


You may want to consider these facts:

- I'm 43 years old, and I've been in Silicon Valley for 15 years.

- I've been intimately involved with a number of startups, in different capacities.

- My latest company was a 7-year ride before we sold to LinkedIn.

Many startups I knew were killed by unfortunate and unforeseeable events. My own startup would have died if one of many unpredictable life events that happened to me before or after the journey had instead occurred during.

Startups are very fragile endeavors, and all the hard work in the world can amount to nothing if you don't have a significant amount of luck (or avoid bad luck, if you prefer).

For every guy like me who got successful, there are a number of other guys like me who did all the right things and didn't. Such is life.


Right, I get that. What I'm saying is, failure isn't final in startup-land. Unless you're dead, you can try again. This isn't at all like the analogy presented by TFA, where you get one shot with the key and you either win or lose. Also, in Real Life, there are degrees of success, it isn't binary where you either win or lose with no in between.


Just to confirm, because I fear the game show has a loophole, what is preventing you from eyeballing the key when he picks it, memorizing the notches, then you have a much better chance of getting the correct one. Prisoners have been known to memorize notches on a key in order to build duplicates and break out of jail.


The correct key wasn't put on full display, and the kids didn't really get much time to look over each key to pick the right one. He may have been able to determine the head shape in that time, but not much else.


I was a contestant in that show back then. I did win the skill based game and got to the final round. I was absolutely certain that I was going to pick the winning key (it's nuts to think that, I know). It's funny how even that is similar to startups.


Nice analogy. Feel that way all the time.


The analogy fits.


I don't see it. In the game, you pick one key, right? And it either works or it doesn't. It's totally binary, and total chance.

Success in business doesn't work like that. As long as you're alive and aren't dead broke and destitute you can keep trying (keep pulling another key) and there are degrees of success... you might only build a multi-million dollar company and not a billion dollar company. OK, how sad. Or maybe you get acquired for just enough where you, as a founder, walk away with a million even. What a tragedy.

And finally, I believe that skill matters, and that business success is not just a question of chance. Sure, and unlucky "black swan" negative event can short-circuit you, but you don't necessarily need "good luck" to succeed. You can chip away at it slowly, grind, build, grind, build, sweat, bleed, grind, build, and work your way up.


The point is that some people grind, build, grind, build, sweat, bleed, grind, build their whole lives without ever getting that stroke of good luck that brings success.


Depressing analogy :(




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