Startups are emotional roller coasters that one minute make you feel like you’re changing the world and the next minute, that everything is falling apart.
For 6 years of my professional life, I worked only at startups. I saw myself as “the coder” — the guy that the brave hired to turn their ideas into real businesses. I never had the inclination to start my own… why would I risk a fairly comfortable life to pursue an idea that may not work?
But then two years ago, I dived headfirst into running a startup — a code school in London — without really knowing what would happen. It was a fascinating, stressful and occasionally scary journey. In a few weeks time, I’ll be doing it all over again with a brand new startup.
The tech industry is the only industry where you don’t need a business model. Imagine running a cake shop that gave away free samples but had nothing customers could pay for? Putting adverts on the wall wouldn’t save your bakery.
Tech businesses can get away with this as they have the one thing most industries don’t: scale. The internet gives tech businesses an opportunity to reach potential customers thousands of miles away from their base.
However this can be an illusion. If your business plan is based around having millions of users that don’t pay for things (or “eyeballs” as it’s called), there’s generally two things that may happen.
Number one is that your startup makes it big and everything will be okay. Number two is that you’ll slowly struggle and spend all your money. The first option is a lot less likely to happen than the second. For some startups, it might be worth pouring your money into buying lottery tickets — it’s a lot quicker, less painful and has more chance of making your money back.
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