What really is a Startup?
Here’s what I learned about what a startup is
11 months ago I quit my full time job and walked on the road to build a startup named Canvastheta. After nearly a year later I found lots of flaws in our initial process and strategy. That’s why I lately I started to educate myself on building a startup properly. This blog posts are the part of this. I will do a comparison here with Sam Altman’s How to Start a Startup lessons with our approach. The reason of this write up’s is to keep this as a note for us and wannabe entrepreneurs as well as get honest and constructive feedback from the community, so feel free to share your opinions via commenting.
The General idea about startup
- working on an idea with extreme uncertainty and insecurity
- the idea is most likely crazy and very few current people love it
- pretty unique and within 10 years will dominate the world
- you work with people who are really passionate about the cause of working in the project
Now lets find out what Startup isn’t
- the 10,000th offshore consulting farm trying to work in someones project in 1/5th price
- the 20,000th E-commerce site selling dog food or cat’s milk
- getting some clients and depriving your team mates regular wage, every time bargaining about price and cost
- yelling at people everyday this should have been done within two hours which I could have done in 15 minutes
Here’s what we learned founding the 10000th offshore consulting farm
- the clients initially who comes to you either know you personally or doing a favor to you but wait, that’s not they are wanting you to do the work in 1/10th market price with long delayed payments
- instead you will do it, cause you don’t have a portfolio and work to do to survive yourself and fund for your next big idea cause silicon valley funding cycles doesn’t work in third world as well as who are so called Angels in local market want to make you their puppets
- you will also find most of this clients doesn’t have any urgency or money to pay for the project, they are middleman's, you build the project or tool than they try to sell it and then after sometime you can gain 1/10th of the selling price of the tool or software
- you try to do whatever everyone else asks you such as small wordpress fixes to fictitious projects, you work very seriously to meet timeline and after that you loose hold of the guy who asked you to do the work and eventually you find out you didn’t took any advance payments and all of your time become wasted
- most of the times your clients have shorter deadlines such as 1/10th of normal time frame, you work day and night to finish and wait for clients review for next 10 days, cause your client is super busy, he doesn’t have time to review although he told you to finish it 1 day and it was very important for him to you to meet the dateline
- eventually you got hold of some legacy big projects which will generate some solid revenue but as you and your young team can’t help with the project alone, you hire some so called industry expert for consulting with more than 60% of your revenues, finally you found out this expert is only here for drawing pay scale and doing nothing except giving you some bully words, you ended up figuring the project by yourself as well as loosing money. Later after some time, you bring another expert who seems authentic to you, you start focusing on project tasks and client communication, stop loosing track of codebase, pay almost 60–70% of your revenue of your revenue, cause this expert is getting things done through your young team,you go to abroad to meet more clients and find new opportunities, after a month later you come back and find out your long time close expert is missing, not taking phone calls, not replying mails, even though you pay his last debts, request to transfer the latest developments knowledge, your expert slams you “you are a software engineer, you should figure it by yourself”,then you find out most of the tasks that the expert did was elementary, you could have done by yourself and all that great words by the expert that we are hitting Mars with balloons was just fictitious and not so true. All that time this your long time close expert was just bullshitting you and getting paid highly and he ran away when a little bit complex work came in the pipeline.
- Then you become very choosy to pick clients cause people who come to you generally for work, what are their real intentions and do they really want to get the job done
- What are the payment term should be and how you will get value of your time in all cases
So, this is what I learned trying to build a offshore consulting funded product based startup, after launching an early beta of our product loosing money to survive and trying to do some consultancy. Constructive feedback's and comments are welcome.