The Three Common Startup Terms I Despise and Why

Startups are beginning to gain a lot of traction. Lol, Startups are becoming the in-thing for young people to be involved with. Before you think I’m about to soil your darling “startup buzz”, let me stop you. I am a tech entrepreneur myself or training to be one at a very prestigious school somewhere in Africa. I love the startup scene both home and abroad and I’m constantly in awe of what a handful of people coming together can achieve with a common goal and purpose.

With investors, it has even become more electrifying. They are like oxygen to your startup. Sometimes, you absolutely need them for your survival. With these factors combined, I feel like these 3 terms i’m about to explain to you have and continue to stifle the birth and growth of potential game changers in Africa.

I might be wrong but this is my opinion, so bear with me and try reading to the end before you tell me how crappy you think what I’m saying is.

These are the terms in no particular order:

1. Billion Dollar Market Size

Before an investor puts money into your startup, they want to be convinced. That is normal, after all they are putting their money into you and your startup and they need something to hold onto BUT when all you want to know is if its a billion dollar market size, that can be really stifling. There are a lot of good ideas with capable teams that have been flushed down the “startup sucking toilet” simply because the market size isn’t up to a billion dollars. They see the likes of Google, Facebook, Slack and want to compare them to startups coming out of Africa forgetting that the two continents are not the same and the problems that plague this continent have long ceased to be problems in other continents. On the other hand, there are ideas that seem like they might never amount to much but it surprises everyone. Everyone starts from somewhere and i think making people conjure a billion dollar market size to please you is simply bullshit.

2. Is Your Business Scalable

Believe me, I want to be able to serve the entire world. I want my startup to reach the entire world but it might never happen and that’s fine. In life, there are always outliers. In this case, it will be Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the list goes on BUT there are some companies that are built to only serve a particular market; be it a country, or a continent and they are built to do it absolutely well.

3. Passion

Passion is a very fleeting emotion. I use the word fleeting purposely. Fleeting in the sense that you might feel love for something this day and the next you are on to something you feel so strongly about like the previous thing. Passion is a very deceptive emotion. I have fought with the notion of ONLY working on things you are passionate about and I have read sooo much on the subject. They are arguments in favor such as

You can never really stick to something that you are not passionate about when the going gets tough

or statements like

your passion is what keeps you.

While I believe all these to hold some ground, i don’t take them as the ultimate truth. What I believe is that you should seize an opportunity when it presents itself.

Oprah Winfrey once said that opportunity is when preparation meets luck.

When these two things meet, preparation and luck(timing) and you begin to second guess because you don’t think you have the passion for it when you haven’t even started doesn’t make sense to me. Stop these false messages. Love for something can be nurtured and grown. Trust me, if you constantly think of your business and make it grow and enjoy seeing its growth and it excites you to see your progress as a startup, whether you started out as having no love for it at all, it is bound to manifest. After all, the Google guys(Sergey Brin and Larry Page) were actively looking to sell Google. When no one wanted it, they saw an opportunity and they took it and look where Google is today.

Stop basing all of your choices on Passion. It is a fleeting emotion. It can be acquired and it can be lost.

Personally, I think entrepreneurs should create startups to seize opportunities, to solve a problem and make some money while at it.

Like I said before, these are just my opinions. Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to recommend this if you enjoyed it. Thanks

Special thanks to Segun Adeyemi and Yinka Akinbobola