‘The Butterfly Effect’ and a Startup

Day 16

I’ve always been mesmerized by the theory of Butterfly Effect, and how true or far fetched it is when it comes to real life situations. In my personal experience, I find this theory eerily plausible.

However, as founder of a startup, IRememba, I do believe that it holds 100% true for a Startup.

Slightest flutter of a butterfly can cause a storm
“Lorenz attractor yb” — an info graphic created by a computer program from data sets or formulas
Butterfly Effect is the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

It refers to a concept, that small causes can have large effects. Initially, it was used with weather prediction, but later, the term became a metaphor used in and out of science.

The name, coined by Edward Lorenz for the effect which had been known long before, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state can result in large differences in a later state.

Chaos was summarized by Edward Lorenz as: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

So, what does ‘Butterfly Effect’ has got anything to do with Startups?

When you’re in the concept stages of an Idea and are about ready to execute, the crucial decisions that you make at the earliest inception of your startup, may have detrimental results.

Let’s talk some examples:

  1. How well did you define your Idea/Concept for your startup?
  2. How much did you validate your Value Hypotheses?
  3. How much did you research the market (Product-Market fit)?
  4. How much did you vet your competition?
  5. How much did you think about Value versus Sale?
  6. How much do you know about your target audience?
  7. How much effort did you put in trying to gather the right team to execute it?
  8. How much did you think about the longer term vision (read 5–10yrs)?
  9. How much did you think about your company culture?

I can go on and on and on…

But, if you think of it, all these decisions made in the really really early stages of your Startup, can have a HUGE impact on how it might turn out in the longer run.

Hence, the Butterfly Effect! — small decisions made initially, can have large deterministic consequences in future, yet almost impossible to determine how exactly.

So, next time you’re ready to make a decision for your startup, no matter how small it might seem, remember “The Butterfly Effect”


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