Why to do a startup?

Why to do a startup?

Posted by Aditya on Sun, 2008-03-23 12:27 in

I have been one of those individuals, who has been saying, “I’ll do something on my own”, since forever. But of course, with time you gain a bit more maturity and ability to put things in to perspective in this broader framework of life.

I am a regular reader of Hacker News, just for the richness of the content and opinion of all the smart people out there. It has a fair number of startup hackers, as it has been initiated by Paul Graham’s Y Combinator, that boot straps a selected few ideas. This community gives some fascinating insights on startups, and in general the people associated with them. The pros and cons of doing a startup, the timing, and the execution strategy are discussed quite often on this group.

I believe the fundamental reason of a person to do a startup, or join as one of the first few employees, is probably one of the key factor that determines the success of the venture for them.

The typical reasons that I have come across of doing a startup are:

  • Money
  • More freedom to do things your way
  • Chance to have an impact on the world
  • Fame and recognition
  • Self satisfaction of doing your own thing, big or small

It is imperative that the person is very clear what his/her prime reasons are for doing a startup. If one wants to play devil’s advocate, one can easily give counter points for each of the above reasons and alternate ways of achieving them.

Doing a startup, is a tough thing, and one has to be fundamentally convinced that it well worth the effort, and the time (could be years), to take the plunge.

Here are some of the counter-points on the above listed reasons, that one can think through:

What is the quanta of this wicked thing that would make you feel, oh yes, i got what I wanted out of it. Of course the figure would vary as the time goes on, but is it 5 million bucks, 10 or more? Why is that you need that money? To have a luxurious life? To be able to pursue your passions outside work? So, is startup the only mean to achieve it, can’t you do all the things you want to with a smaller quanta, over a period of time?

More freedom
Yes, it means more freedom initially when you are choosing your idea and in case of software, execution strategy for its development. If you are good at your skills, there is a high probability that you would be in control of the execution strategy for development of your software probably anywhere. And we all know, one has to work as per customer needs, once your first release is done. Often, the freedom and leeway available in a startup, goes down at this stage.

Impact on the world
If the intention is to develop something that would be an incredibly useful piece of software for all, is it possible that it can still be done as an Open Source project? Or is it that you actually want to monetize the idea so have to go the startup route.

Fame and recognition
Let’s accept it. Humans love being appreciated and recognized as ‘successful’. Are you doing the startup just to get ‘that’ peer recognition?

Self satisfaction of doing your ‘own’ thing
Okay, it’s hard to call upon the devil’s advocate for this point :-). If one is really convinced that startup is the only way of satisfying the inner need of doing their ‘own’ thing, and running the show albeit on someone else’s stage doesn’t go with one’s idea of a warrior knight, then just go for it.

The essence here is to be very clear on what you want, and what would make you most happy. Are you willing to put in all the hard work, the time, and ready to go through the emotional roller-coaster, knowing it is the thing that you wanted? A lot of sacrifices need to be made as startup founders, are you up for them and think they are all worth the best years of your life?

If yes, Bravo, and Good Luck!

Why not?

I read somewhere “There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those”—Anonymous.

If your heart lies there why not pursue those, just because someone failed at it or just because it is not a pragmatic approach or just because someone wise playing devil’s advocate and is asking you not to :). Even if the venture is not a "success" (success is relative, so difficult to define) the experience of it will be. You will be rich with learning, ideas, thoughts and memories which would be priceless and totally worth it because many times journey is more exciting than the destination is itself.

Posted by Charu (not verified) on Sun, 2008-04-20 12:22
To me, the roots of a

To me, the roots of a startup has to be in some kind of a creative idea, at least at the stage at which it is a "start-up" and the rest should follow depending upon its strength and other sundry factors.

Posted by Monica (not verified) on Fri, 2008-06-27 10:28
I agree the root of the

I agree the root of the startup has to be an idea, but that post was targeted more towards people who want to do a startup, (and hopefully pick up the right idea when it strikes them). In software, typically there are lot of ideas always floating around, and often the successful startups are actually not based on the initial idea they start with ...

Posted by Aditya on Fri, 2008-06-27 10:29
Startups looking to attract

Startups looking to attract potential talent to work on their next big idea, check http://www.workforastartup.in - a definite source to find potential talent for your budding startup.

Posted by Chetan (not verified) on Thu, 2009-04-16 18:15
Re: Why do a startup

Mostly, its the situations that pushes one to pursue a start up vigorously. You left one important reason of why people would want to do a start up - They are so frustrated with working (not working?) in the so called big companies!! that they would invest all their life's savings to do something meaningful on their own... the meaningful part depends on the person...

Posted by excitingip.net (not verified) on Thu, 2010-10-07 22:11