In the startup world right now, everyone refers to and wants to be a Thunder Lizard, a Black Swan, or Unicorn, but the only way to identify one is after they have evolved into a Thunder Lizard, Black Swan or Unicorn. But what were they before? You can never identify a unicorn before it is a unicorn, but you can identify a cockroach and hope that it gets blasted with some radiation to become a mythical beast.
Cockroach definition: A startup comprised of resourceful founders who survive no matter what. Their competition ignores them but fears they enter their space. They are nocturnal, good at adapting to their environment and good at collective decision making.
This concept originally stemmed from a startup from our first tribe called Favor, they are in the crowded market of the on-demand food delivery space, but have carved out their ownership of the space outside of California. They did 600,000 deliveries in the last year and are launching in new cities weekly. However, before they had any semblance of success, they lived in every office they had, ran out of money twice, and every time we connected with them, we weren’t sure if they were headed in the right direction, but we always would say “But they won’t die.” And we started calling them “Cockroaches.”
What we realized though, was that they took pride in being cockroaches, and suddenly we took pride in calling our companies cockroaches.
“We’re like cockroaches and the funny thing about cockroaches is they are really hard to kill and no one likes them in their space”
— Ben Doherty, Co-Founder of Favor
Being a cockroach means that no matter what, your company will be here in the future. You are passionate and committed to changing the world.
This is especially true in the block chain and virtual reality spaces. Founders in the emerging tech industries will be tested for longevity over the next years. When entrepreneurs are betting on market growth, but the timing of adoption is impossible to estimate, the best plan is a plan for survival. The best plan is to be a cockroach.