I love ingenuity. I love creativity. And I love the act of creating something out of nothing. That Big Bang moment when you go from darkness to life is to me, as someone who fancies himself a creator and designer, the most magical moment in the world. Truly. Indescribable. But.
There are three things I love about startups and two things I hate about startups. First, let’s talk hate. I hate the word “startup”. Why? Because it speaks of the impermanence that surrounds the whole concept of startups. Movies like August (a Josh Hartnett flick) and the crazy valuations of companies that have never made an actual dollar, the CEO of company seven, who raised 300 million in capital for companies one through six, none of which ever saw the actual light of day. It’s enough to make an everyday business owner lose their mind. Not to mention their courage. Startups start. They don’t finish. But.

That’s not truly the reality. The reality is that “startups” are the way that really smart, really creative, really ingenious people find their way. In fact, it is the fact that startups fail, and that if they financed or planned it correctly, they can get back up again, is one of the greatest things about startups. Frans Johansson. It’s just a matter of making small bets until one of those bets pays off. This is one of the things I love about startups. The fact that every single moment of every day is spent looking forward. It’s actually one of my favorite things in the whole world. Don’t dwell on the bad. You can’t change anything that happened in the past…ever. Sure, you can use what you’ve learned in the past to change how you act in the future. But you must understand that these are not the same thing.
The second thing that I hate about startups is the valuation process. Startups can often be like poorly thought out Kickstarter concepts. So much money that you couldn’t possibly fail…until you fail…miserably. How does it happen? How can you avoid it? It’s important, at this point, to understand some of the key terms we’re going to talk about. The first term is bootstrapping. I have a lot of respect for bootstrapping. What is it? Well, I use as an example, writer/director/blogger Kevin Smith. When he made his first movie, Clerks, he shot it and produced it for $23,000.00. Let’s just say he made his money back. But HE spent that $23,000.00 (or at least the virtual money he had collected as credit cards) and made that movie. THAT’S bootstrapping. It’s about using the money and resources that you already have to get started. It’s about using equity rather than payroll. It’s about using our basement instead of renting a fancy office space. But.

So many companies out there are coming up with these great ideas (or what they think are great ideas) and then just letting people throw amazing amounts of money at these “solutions” (mostly to non-existent problems that we’ve created just to solve) before there’s even a product. This never happened before the world of startups. Some companies, before they’ve ever made a dime, or in some cases really even made a product, are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. I’d strongly suggest that you check out the movie August (I have no vested interest in this film despite how much it seems that I’m trying to sell you on this movie. I just really like it. It’s really good) in order to fully understand how big a problem that this is.