Thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, and tech.


It’s Going To Be Long, So Why Not Enjoy It

In my view, starting off on a long trek is like launching a startup. You know from the start that it’s going to be a long haul but instead of being stressed, multitasking all the way and trying to control everything, you embrace the journey because of the mesmerizing length, impending beauty, and pure discovery. That mindset could be the difference between succeeding with your venture or failing.

Too often enough founders and their teams are caught between two dilemmas, completing an enormous daily todo list with overarching time and budget constraints and, maintaining enough perspective to see if what they’re trying to achieve is really solving their customers needs. The natural reaction to a severe time & constraint situation results in a permanent state of micromanagement, hypertension and loss of direction exactly as if you got lost in the woods or long trek in the wilderness. This difficult to control state-of-mind finishes by isolating the team from the very outside world that their future depends on and this happens regardless of whether they are in an accelerator with other teams or sharing office space. The outcome is usually failure and inevitable finger-pointing which is counterproductive for growth.

I acknowledge that many startups are on an IV drip and that doesn’t make for a healthy outlook on any project, but when you’re on a trek, similarly you have only so much food and water. The primary difference between the two is that at the outset, in most cases, the goal for a trek is just arriving at the “destination” and maybe there lies the clue to how to better manage the difficult route of any startup.

When you plan a trek, you generally start by setting a single, definable, destination. Then you factor in the course and other variables like season, weather, distance per day, shelter and food. While at first glance this doesn’t look like a very serious project (compared to a startup) it actually necessitates an impressive amount of research, calculation and experience to pull it off. After all, if things aren’t well planned, you don’t have the right equipment and enough food and you haven’t accumulated the right experience, your life could be put on the line. So all things comparable, why not do the same with your startup?

Set that unique goal and then assemble everything you need to get there. One you’re “out the door”, you will feel a sudden lightness of heart as well as a defining insight towards your plan. Things become simple. During your journey you’ll end up being much more relaxed, still focused on the task at hand, but enjoying every step of the way and truly benefitting from the discovery of both yourself and of those around you. If something comes up, you’ll be able to react calmly, take action and change course if necessary but never losing site of the destination. And when you do get to where you had planned there is a moment of truth that anyone who has ever trekked understands, you reached your goal.

It might not be appealing to someone else or not recognized because it didn’t follow some particular route, but it’s what you planned to do and you completed it. You’ll be proud of your achievement and it will be forever at your side for the next leg of your journey onward.