Posts Tagged start-up
First let me start that this is one of my pet peeves and not meant in any way to offend anyone or specifically point to any one person, organization or company.
With that out of the way… Why the F*** does everyone think they are doing a startup nowadays?
Startups are all the rage at the moment. On the world markets the headlines are mostly about startups going public and new emerging companies taking control of markets. They even pop up in regular news now and then when new apps or new concepts are released. It’s all about Silicon Valley in San Francisco, CA, USA. So much even that in London there is a roundabout nicknamed the Silicon Roundabout. On top of that HBO started this year with a new series called “Silicon Valley” that follows a startup.
But why am I so pissed of about it? I’m gonna be complete goth/emo/hipster about it and just say it. Making it popular killed it!
As I’ve been doing start-ups for a while now I’ve been getting more and more into the business that makes a start-ups succeed or fail. Over the years one thing does strike me over and over again. Some mistakes are made over and over again. I have found many times that problems can come from an imbalance between searching for solutions and making sure you keep your eye on the prize.
So, It’s been a while since I posted something. With good reason, it was a big transition time for me. I left my work at Smallrivers in Lausanne, Switzerland. Had a house guest for my last weekend in Lausanne and after that moved my thing over to the Netherlands to figure out what I would be doing the next. So what to do next? Well a friend was working as a CTO on a project and they wanted me to help them out. So at Exvo and Tolq I spend a couple of weeks working with them. At the same time one of my investments came back to me and asked if I wanted to join in. Michiel Roukens (the Owner of OWNR) was desperately looking for a technical guy to help him out. Thus I became CTO for OWNR as a side project. At the same time moving to London for Quipper, So we’re back in sync with the current time. Well … at least sort of …
There is an interesting wave of less work, more life mentality change going on in the technology business. This is not new and it has been happening in waves if you look across the borders of the one business paradigm. Research has been done and experiences are shared. Henry Ford was one of the first to publish a big research about the subject and the measure was set at an optimum of 40 hours a week. Is that so? I know people who need more space and want to work less to be more productive. Others are completely the opposite, work hard for a couple of months and take a full month off to do other things. Some are even doing work just for fun.
Some people swear that working long and inconsistent hours gives them more freedom to think about things. Not restricted by the 9 to 5 hours and allowing themselves to continue in a flow when they are in it. Others find that time at home and quiet time really helps them prepare for a productive day. Others try to mix the two. But is it time that ultimately helps us the be more productive, or is it something else?
In a world of high speed, high complexity and high quality we need smart people to work on smart and innovative solutions. But even though smart people come together at a start-up it can completely fail. Not because of the lack of skill but almost always the lack of culture.
More an more start-up entrepreneurs try and work with remote resources and have the smartest people work on their ideas. Sometimes it works out and things get created but in the start-up work many things go wrong on a simple mismatch of culture. Experts do not know how to work with one another, maybe do not share the same goals and visions. In a small company these things are more important than in bigger ones but a strong company culture can really skyrocket production speed and result quality.
But why is a good developer able to create bad results when the culture is wrong? Why will a normal developer do really good things when in a comfortable cultural environment?