What Does it Take to Start a Startup?

What would you rather do, work a 9-5 job with a decent salary for 40 years or work nonstop for 2-4 years forming a startup?

The regular job is consistent and predictable. There isn’t as much pressure and there isn’t nearly as much risk. The job is the safe way to go.

On the other hand, the potential payout from a startup is enormous. If you succeed, you can basically do what you want for the rest of your life. There are other benefits: freedom, control, fame, and the chance to make your vision a reality. Everyone wants to be the next tech sensation, and everyone knows the chances of making it are slim.

Startups are intriguing, but the details behind them are a bit of a mystery.

What type of people are qualified to form a startup?

Where, when, and how do they do it?

How and from where do startups get funding?

How many have a chance to succeed?

I wanted answers to these questions so I decided to do some digging. Luckily, I found everything I could hope for in Paul Graham’s essay, How to Start a Startup.

If you’re even remotely interested in startups, I recommend reading the entire piece. Graham was a founder of a startup, Viaweb, that was bought by Yahoo. In the essay he details the entire process and throws in his own thoughts on what works, what doesn’t, and what it takes to be successful.

My key takeaways from the essay:

  • You don’t need a brilliant idea to form a startup. What matters isn’t ideas, but the people who have them.
  • Ideally you want between two and four founders. One is no good because there is too much work for one person. Anymore than four and it becomes impossible to make quick decisions.
  • The prime candidates to form a startup are 23-38 years old. Any younger and you won’t be taken seriously. Any older and you might not have the time or energy to work until 3 a.m. every night.
  • Funding usually starts with an ‘angel’ who invests $10,000-30,000 to cover expenses while the company gets on its feet. Later on venture capitalists come in with the big money. All these investors receive ownership in the company in return.
  • The best place for an office is an apartment in a good neighborhood. This is much cheaper and than renting commercial space and more enjoyable than a corporate park that becomes a ghost town after 6 p.m.
  • Startups usually fail because they run out of money. If you want to make it, you need to spend as little as possible. Avoid hiring people and spending lavishly. There is no reason to try to get big fast.
  • Forming a startup means you decide to compress your work life into 4 years or so. This means for those for years you won’t have to time to do anything but work. This isn’t for everyone.

There are too many insights to list them all. If you’re interested, you need to read the whole essay. It’s long, but well worth the time.

I also found a two other great resources.

Getting Real by the 37 Signals team contains a new perspective on what makes a great application and the best way to do it. The basic message is to stay flexible and focus on creating simple, elegant tools that customers want to use.

This interview with Joel Spolsky, founder of Fog Creek Software, also describes the startup process. It ends with a memorable quote:

Don’t start a company unless you can convince one other person to go along with you. If you don’t have two people (or I would even say three) that you’ve convinced to devote their lives to doing this, it’s just going to be a different thing. There are a lot of programmers that are very tentative about starting their own companies. There are a lot of working programmers doing something they hate, with some company that they hate, but they need money to pay the mortgage. So they figure, “I’ll develop something in my spare time. I’ll put in 1 hour every night and 2 hours on the weekends and I’ll start selling it by downloads.” And you say to them, “Who’s your cofounder?” And they say, “My significant other—husband or wife. My cat.”

But because they never really take the leap and quit their job, they can give up their dream at any time. And 99.9 percent of them will actually give up their dream. If they take the leap, quit their job, go do it full-time—no matter how much it sucks—and convince one other person to do the same thing with them, they’re going to have a much, much higher chance of actually getting somewhere. Because they either have to succeed or get a job. Sometimes “succeed” seems like the easier path than actually getting a job, which is depressing.

So there you have it. If you want to form a startup, try convincing someone else that your great idea is worth quitting their job over.


GET THE BOOK BY
ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

50 Responses to What Does it Take to Start a Startup?

  1. Stephenpep says:

    viagra over the counter generic viagra buy viagra online usa

  2. Jamesgreat says:

    cialis ingredient tadalafil does cialis lower your blood pressure

  3. Travisshoob says:

    how much will generic viagra cost viagra without a doctor prescription viagra cialis

  4. Eddievor says:

    how to overcome ed naturally male erectile dysfunction ed treatment natural

  5. Jamesspura says:

    viagra without a doctor prescription canada buy viagra cheapest generic viagra

  6. Jamesspura says:

    cheap viagra generic viagra viagra coupon

  7. Jamesspura says:

    cheap viagra generic viagra canadian viagra

  8. Jamesspura says:

    canadian pharmacy viagra canadian pharmacy viagra viagra 100mg

  9. Jamesspura says:

    buy real viagra online buy viagra generic cheap viagra online

  10. Ernestjiz says:

    best medication for ed cheap ed pills new ed treatments

  11. Ernestjiz says:

    pet meds without vet prescription generic viagra legal to buy prescription drugs without prescription

  12. Ernestjiz says:

    how to get prescription drugs without doctor natural ed treatments ed meds

  13. Ernestjiz says:

    ed meds online ed meds online pharmacy ed tablets

  14. Dannymug says:

    cialis headaches afterwards tadalafil legitimate cialis by mail

  15. Dannymug says:

    cialis 5mg coupon cialis for sale cialis professional

  16. BruceBep says:

    buy ed pills prescription drugs buy canadian drugs
    pharmacy medications

  17. BruceBep says:

    ed in men ed medications online natural ed
    cheapest ed pills

  18. BruceBep says:

    errectile dysfunction best canadian online pharmacy drugs causing ed
    cheap ed pills

  19. MichealRot says:

    https://ventolin100mcg.com/ generic ventolin price

  20. MichealRot says:

    https://amoxicillingeneric500.com/ amoxicillin 500 mg brand name

  21. WilliamMedlY says:

    buy generic drugs online buy generic drugs from india

  22. WilliamMedlY says:

    tadalafil pharmacy tadalafil pharmacy

  23. WilliamMedlY says:

    cheap tadalafil tadalafil

  24. StephenNup says:

    viagra from india buy viagra viagra online canada

  25. RobinSeike says:

    medicine erectile dysfunction buy Zithromax best online pharmacy

  26. RobinSeike says:

    cheap ed pills Prednisone pharmacy drugs

  27. RobinSeike says:

    viagra without a doctor prescription canada cheap viagra buy real viagra online

  28. RobinSeike says:

    cheap pills online best canadian pharmacy ed medicine online

  29. RobinSeike says:

    where to get cialis sample buy cialis 30 day cialis trial offer

  30. RobinSeike says:

    switching from tamsulosin to cialis buy cialis how long does 20mg cialis keep in system

  31. RobinSeike says:

    legal to buy prescription drugs without prescription canadian pharmacy online ed medications over the counter

  32. RobinSeike says:

    viagra over the counter viagra pill viagra viagra no prescription

  33. RobinSeike says:

    best erection pills canada drugs online generic ed pills

  34. RobinSeike says:

    cheap erectile dysfunction pills online buying ed pills online prescription drugs without prior prescription

  35. RobinSeike says:

    how to overcome ed naturally buy Nolvadex top erection pills

  36. RobinSeike says:

    cialis without a doctor’s prescription cialis coupon code cialis erection penis

  37. RobinSeike says:

    ed treatment drugs canadian online pharmacy cheap medications

  38. RobinSeike says:

    ed pharmacy best online canadian pharmacy home remedies for ed

  39. Traviserony says:

    best treatment for ed: how to get prescription drugs without doctor best ed pills

  40. LarryCague says:

    where to buy zithromax in canada zithromax for sale cheap zithromax prescription

  41. LarryCague says:

    treatment for ed canadian drugs without prescription ed medications online

  42. LarryCague says:

    cialis coupons 2019 lowest price cialis cialis patent expiration

  43. LarryCague says:

    viagra without prescription over the counter viagra discount viagra

  44. LarryCague says:

    cialis 20mg price daily use of cialis cialis for daily use

  45. LarryCague says:

    buy zithromax online fast shipping zithromax z-pak price without insurance zithromax 600 mg tablets

  46. LarryCague says:

    buy generic zithromax no prescription generic zithromax india zithromax online australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.