Startup Community : Part I
Tip of The Iceberg
100 million startups are created each year. Too often, startups work long hours in isolated bubbles across the world. With only a handful of scattered communities online, there really is no place for startups to share their stories and moments with other entrepreneurs.
It’s early in the morning on a Monday. It’s always around this time where I get sudden urges to do something (like writing this post). Ever since I started my startup journey few years ago, it’s been like this; the feeling of uneasiness, the thought of uncertainty and ‘eager to figure something out but don’t know what’ type of thing. It’s kind of hard to describe the feeling in words but it seems like I am constantly looking for something…something to hold on to…maybe looking for somewhere to belong. I don’t know…
But what I do know is that this startup journey is long, hard as f#!@ and lonely.
For some time, I just let things go by. Not thinking, just moving forward.
But as time went on, I began to wonder: am I the only one feeling like this? who else is doing this? what’s their process and story like? how are they coping with different moments in their journey, what’s their startup team culture like? etc.
I kept searching for what’s out there online. But I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. It almost seemed like everyone was focused on sharing the tip of the iceberg (their ideas, traction, pitches, fundraising — all the fluff and the good stuff, which is only the shell). They were less focused on what was inside or beneath it — the process, the people, the culture, the moments and the experience.
AngelList, F6S, Gust focuses on relationships between startups & investors. Clarity, LinkedIn, StartupNation, forums focus on traditional Q&A’s and connecting. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are marketing tools, not a ‘community for startups’ and are way too cluttered.
What I’m trying to say is that, there are rarely any platforms or communities that focus what’s beneath the iceberg — the startup & entrepreneurial moments, stories, culture, people, process and experience.
Maybe there’s a reason why. So I asked around about my current project Teamstory . These are some of the answers that I got:
- Startups and Entrepreneurs have no time for something like this.
I truly think that this is an excuse. Time is all we have. We just have to use them right. If you’re reading TechCrunch articles on successful startups, you have time. If you’re reading this, you have time. I get that your product is important, but building a brand around it early is important as well.
- We’re working out of our basement…why would we market ourselves & our products to others anyways?
It doesn’t matter which stage you are in. There is a value in sharing stories — the good, the ugly and the bad, because likely other people are going through the same stuff. Why not connect with them and cheer each other on? Plus it doesn’t have to be always about your startup. It could be you posting something that other entrepreneurs can relate to (whenever I post these things to my personal SNS, I feel like I’m talking to myself since none of my friends ‘get’ it) I think there can be some valuable interactions around it when it’s in the right crowd. Who knows, you could find your next co-founder or a new business deal :P
- I don’t want to share our startup’s ‘stuff’ to other startups. What if they’re my potential competitors?
If you’re scared of that, I don’t think you’re in the right industry. Or you haven’t been in the startup scene long enough. Discovery and knowledge is very powerful. You just gotta use that to your advantage. I think these things makes you tougher and more successful down the road. Discovering about other startups’ or entrepreneurs’ products and culture could help you raise the bar for your own venture.
I know it’s super hard to change what’s already the standard: you’ve got a good idea, good pitch, good traction, let’s raise money and grow & scale FAST. But I honestly believe that every startup needs to shift its thinking and start valuing what’s beneath the surface a little more — discovery, interaction, moments, people, transparency and unity to grow a real community movement. That’s the only way we’re going to accelerate startups and raise the bar in the community.
That was a long rant! But if you survived through it and somewhat agreed to what I said, it would mean the world if you pressed that beautiful Rec. button below! If you disagreed on some points (or all) feel free to send me a tweet @dh9kim as to why! Would love to chat!