The ‘Weird’ Startup Investment Game You Need To Stop Playing

By | March 3, 2016
In the United States, we elect a president every 4 years.  One candidate
can serve two terms, for a maximum total of 8 years in office.  Now,
around two-three years through any given president's first term, a
common trend prevails:  Legislative agendas generally become less
ambitious, previously polarizing views are swapped out for those that
are more middle of the road, and messages which were previously more
laden with detail and precise figures degrade once again into
campaign-esque rhetoric.

What the heck is happening?  In short, another election cycle will soon
be upon these presidents, and they need to start thinking more about
getting re-elected than continuing to push through any work their
currently tied up in.

The exact same phenomenon happens with startup founders, except that
their term is a burn rate runway, and their election campaign is a quest
for further financing.  If you find yourself heading up a grand idea,
and it turns into a company, the way of business these days is,
ironically, not very business-like at all.  In fact, instead of focusing
on profit margins and costs of operation, most founders are focused on
obscure and multi-measurable metrics like 'growth' and the like, aimed
at figuring out they can make the numbers, any numbers, impressive
enough to secure another round of funding.

If you find yourself in this exact scenario with a company that you're
heading up, it's important that you know that, for the rainmakers who
founded the biggest, most disruptive companies in the world, these
thoughts never even crossed their mind.  Indeed, there has recently been
a reversal, in which instead of achieving something great in order to
secure wealth, people are working on the premise of securing wealth in
order to achieve something great.  Forgive the clich, but did
Zuckerberg start his 'The Facebook' website in his dorm room in hopes of
securing millions of dollars from Sequoia Capital?  Hell no!

Founders these days who want to not find themselves with a valueless
company in three years' time, need to get comfortable with the idea that
they are still running a business, they still need to act and make
decisions based on the premise that if they are not profitable very,
very soon, they're out.  Most startups fail.  Of those that don't fail,
the vast majority will be steady, sustainable businesses that can
catapult their founders into the upper middleclass, but they won't be
Facebook, they won't be Snapchat.  And they won't be a household name. 
And that's OK.

The narrative that everyone has to be a tech founder that turns the
market upside down is overhyped and, ironically, not the path to its own
realization for most tech world heroes.  Instead, the most common path
to greatness is a stellar work ethic, a mental resilience to
discouragement, and a passion and drive that's the stuff of legends.  So
the next time you see that some Silicon Valley hotshot just closed a
$200 million C-series, just remember that there is more than one path to
I look forward to your success

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