I have to admit that a startup option seems very appealing.
Looking back on the three guiding principles of …
– wanting to be part of a team that creates a product and/or service that will change a market by make people’s live better or easier
– working with like-minded people who want to get up out of the bed everyday and make themselves better and make the world around them a better place
– spending as close to zero hours a day on low value conversations and activities as possible
… the startup idea certainly seems like the easiest way to go.
Well, not so fast. I think back to the conversation I first had when I applied at Cognos when I was thinking it was time to leave the startup company that I was running. I first met with Peter Griffiths, who went on to be our SVP of Products and is now an EVP and Group Executive at Computer Associates. Peter asked me why I would leave an entrepreneurial startup company to join a much larger company. I remember responding, more of less off-the-cuff, that I felt it took two key attributes to be an entrepreneur:
(1) One needs to have a desire to change the world in some significant way and is relentless in his/her pursuit of that goal. He/she thrives on innovation and nimbleness to achieve this goal.
(2) One’s desire to be rich is greater than his/her desire to not be poor.
At the time, I said that I very much fit the first category but not the second and hoped that I could realize the experience of the first category at Cognos (which I did for much of my time there). Now, almost 13 years later, nothing has changed on the first and I am thinking that I am unlikely to get poor given what I have built up financially, my drive, ability to consult on the side and my belief in that I know a lot more to make a startup successful than I did at the time. Then reality sets in and I realize I have two kids about to go to university … no Kirk, do not get deterred so easy!
In my opinion, the decision to do a startup mostly comes down to having the right people, with the right idea, at the right time – the right time for both the people and the idea’s appeal to the market. It used to be that having a source of funding was uber-important (did I just really use “uber”?!?!) but this has changed in recent years with how cheaply new and completely game-changing technologies and content can be brought to market.
I can safely say our team is coming into place really well. At this early stage, I will protect the names of the innocent, but I am very confident.
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