When you work for yourself the idea of “progress” (or lack thereof sometimes) becomes a driving force for your happiness. Well it does for me anyway. My progress has been ok (no better) recently but I am daunted by how much work is still out there to be done.
Dying to get a product shipped to customers. Need to focus on a date again as without one I feel I’ll drift. Ok, now back to work. 🙂
In switching to the Entrepreneurial lifestyle from years of a corporate one, I’m surprised by how many differences there are between startups and large corporates. Here’s a quick list of things I’ve noticed:
Entrepreneurs manage their meetings w/o sending meeting requests; the corporate world views this as an anathema and sends the mtg request. Not sure which one I like better … I suspect the corporate approach is more effective at driving participation but the entrepreneurial one plays into the cultural ethos of the individual being responsible for their acts, actions, and in this case meetings.
The technologies that startups/entrepreneurs use is massively different from corporates. Corporates like Java and .NET, startups like Ruby, PHP, and Node. It’s not that there isn’t some overlap but it’s shocking how much lack of overlap there is.
Individual versus Group contribution
Entrepreneurs like group dynamics but they love individual performance. A startup typically starts as a few bright young things and in those early days each individual is a huge part of the whole so ensuring that each individual is an individual performer makes sense. Corporates focus on change through teams and reward leadership and group success not to the exclusion of the individual but with the focus precisely backwards from the startup.
Every successful corporate that I’ve seen has some very passionate leaders that help it to succeed. Every successful corporate department has those few individuals who just love what they’re doing. On the whole, though, corporates are filled with people who are working for paychecks. On the startup side of the equation the percentages are very different. Entrepreneurs tends to be passionate creatures and they’re almost universally taking financial risks doing something they believe in … which it turns out is a powerful feedstock to passion. The people who come and work for the founding team are also typically passionate people as they are often working “for the idea” and with belief in the equity value that still needs to be created. Admitted the high price point of the contracting market combined in a funded startup can lower this passion-equation somewhat but in general I would say any startup (funded or not) stacked up against a corporate will have a very noticeable variation in passion.
Well that’s a start at least. If anyone has any more I’d be interested to hear from you.
I’m now in month 4 of being a full time Entreprenuer and I thought I’d reflect quickly on how it’s going.
I have tremendous freedom and flexibility on how I run my day. This is probably going to decrease soon as investors and employees come in to ruin my perfect world. :^)
I am learning every day and I’m learning things I’m interested in
I’m not dependant on a vast army of people doing their job or complex set of dependencies. It’s all down to me.
What’s not so good:
I’m not getting paid yet. Hopefully that will change but for any immediate time horizon I am suddenly in a lower economic bracket than I’m used to.
I have to do everything myself. Yeah I know I made it out as a plus but it’s both and it depends on what side of the bed you wake up on (or how much coffee you’ve had so far).
I don’t have a “partner in crime” (figurative expression only) to bounce ideas off of. This really hurts me as I am an extrovert and want to think externally. There is only so much you can bounce off family and friends effectively.
There is a lot of stress and self-doubt that inevitably creeps into building a product. This is particularly pronounced when competitors are springing up every time you read the paper and you don’t have any customers yet. Trust me … it ain’t easy; it requires a combination of professional skills, confidence, compartmentalisation, coping skills, and assumed ignorance. All I can say is thank god for exercise and my innate ability to foster unrealistically grandiose self-beliefs.
Well that’s all for now. I probably have more to say but no time to say it right now … I’ve got a product to build.
I’m attending the London Startup Weekend. Today was day 1 which ended at 1am and I have to be back in the offices at 8am. I guess no one said it would be easy but I’m going to need a weekend to recover from my weekend.