Spare Time Zeros to Spare Time Startups
You know you have a lot of time in your hands, when you have a glass of half filled rum cola in your hand on a week day or if you’re hitting the bar by 5p.m. Thats time better spent elsewhere unless of course you’re celebrating a small win or not.
If I am given a magic wand right now, I would fix spare time zeros.
FINALLY FIX UNEMPLOYMENT?
Its like how do you fix unemployment right? The idea that startup building are only for developers or app nerds are so cliche and so backwards, and the common folks understand just a little bit. And only if you throw in a bone like how much you can get paid or how will you get paid. Otherwise it won’t really register in their minds.
I wanted to throw it out there that there is indeed startups to be made on your spare time. We at Contrib.com recognize that if you want to hire the best of em, you really can’t and its attributed to the fact that they are already employed or running they’re own companies. Thus we shifted to the part time theory.
PART TIME THEORY
The theory is that people who are best at what they do, could come in at any point or stage of a startup and start contributing for paid service orders or for equity in which case is what we are going for at Contrib. And thats only on your part time.
The flawless entrepreneur could get up in the morning, check of his/her tasks for the day and proceeds to do his 9 to 5 and come in at around 7 or 9, after the boys and girls are asleep and proceeds to crack his part time startup with the rest of his global team. Thats what we see and how we envision the part time theory working for Contrib.
But alas, information assymetry can kill the theory.
THE KILLER : INFORMATION ASSYMETRY
We realized that because of information assymetry. Laszlo Block, SVP, People Operations at Google, talked about information assymetry in his post where one has better information than the other party.
For eg. I wanted to form a team for Applications.com and automatically I know who I need and what skills they should have. In Contrib, we can invite people into specific teams and proceed to manually interview them if they are fit for the role. (This is by the way a time-killer and we are still looking for ways to remove this from the equation.). I invite them and they come in to a skype interview with really nothing for preparation. Once I deliver my pitch to get them to understand that they will only be getting this x after this y, they take on the offensive and tells me that they have better things to do with they’re time than be associated with a fledgling company like mine. Me on the other hand knew how valuable that brand is if he help build it.
If they only knew what applications.com or that brand could be in the right hands. It could be worth millions. I already know it but they don’t.
HOW TO GIVE THE RIGHT INFORMATION?
It might be the flow? Information overload? But this is one part of the calculation that we just need to figure out. You might have some ideas so please do pitch in.
STARTUPS CAN BE BUILT BY YOU AND ME
Its easier than you think. Lean startups can be built by ordinary people like you, me and Joe from your favorite bar.
There are a lot of tips on how to build startups holding a day job. Search it on google and there will be 252 thousand results but for us we attribute it to 5 things.
Idea. Product/Brand. Team. Execution. And lastly momentum.
BUILDING A STARTUP ON YOUR SPARE TIME IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK
I wanted to include a post from Hacker News.
“Building anything of value tends to be difficult; doing it in your spare time is incredibly difficult.
- In spite of you best efforts, you will be too tired after your day job.
- When you’re “in the zone” you won’t be able to work on your start-up. When your working on your start-up, you won’t be able to get “into the zone”.
- You won’t have long enough blocks of time to get large chunks done.
- Your attention will more easily be diverted to other things (the day job).
- It takes so much longer to have a deliverable, you will lose momentum and interest and get easily distracted or drawn to something shinier.
So what should you do? 3 things, religiously:
1. Determine your “Big Fat What”. Have a precise definition of exactly what you’re going to build. That’s right, you must write requirements to yourself. Following the path of least resistance simply won’t work for a part-time start-up because you will never be able to sustain enough momentum. Writing requirements forces you to have better discipline and better plan, and it’s also the kind of work that fits nicely into those 2 hour blocks of time you have during the week.
2. Determine your “Big Fat How”. This is when you translate your requirements into technical specs. You know, program definitions and flows, page layouts, data base schemas, etc. Yes, again you will be writing specs to yourself. Steps 1 & 2 are kinda like linear algebra; you’ll spend a lot of time doing seemingly mindless unnecessary steps to get to the where you really want to be…
3. Build it. You do this on weekends when you have large enough blocks of time to crank. But your capability to build will only be as good as your preparation. As you struggle with Step 3, you’ll appreciate Steps 1 & 2 and get better at them. Then you’ll be surprised at how much progress you can make building in your spare time.”
So determining all these aspects brings me back to using your spare time to build startups. There are a lot of accelerators, incubators and one of them is Contrib.com where we could use your part time and help us build these awesome brands.
Just so we could in our own perfect little world, fix spare time zeros, increase employment rates and better the lives of the rest of the world with startups that contribute to the quality of life.