In the following “Failure is a Disgrace, Risk is Stupid” blog post, I will share my thoughts over the culture of entrepreneurship we live in, and how you can survive it and build a business that actually succeeds. The meteoric rise of young technological entrepreneurs have sparked the minds of a whole generation. A tech entrepreneur isn’t just smart, rich, young and successful but he is also doing the right thing – He solves problems and helps making the world a better place. The problem starts, When all this hype made us believe that we can do it as well. Why is that a problem? Because we can’t. I will take a small risk and determine that you, the person who reads these lines now, is not able to establish a unified team of world class business partners, build a team of best-in-industry engineers, attract venture capitalists, and build a product which eventually will be sold or go public at a billion dollars+ valuation. Most people don’t understand just how rare this case is, especially for young professionals with no significant network and experience.
Wake up and start thinking smaller. Don’t look for applause from your Innovation&Tech Facebook groups, and don’t be shy telling your friends from Meetup that you are building something small inside an established industry, or that, god forbid, you are copying an existing business that you think you’ll be able to operate better. Avoid using words such as “disruption” and say goodbye to your loser friends from Fuck Up Nights – They fucked up because they are young, cocky, uneducated, unprofessional, technologically disabled and have no business orientation. Give more respect to the grey haired and the bald, who have the experience and the network to do the things you think you can do in your 20’s. And the most important thing – Stop looking at startups as a CV line – Your business have no justification if it fails, and please don’t give me the “The amount of knowledge and experiences I went through over the last 18 months” explanation. Failing a business is a disgrace, not something you write on your CV or brag about on Fuck Up Nights. You need to build businesses that are within your measures, and not some delusional fantasies which were born on the startup competition of your community church college. It is a matter of style in my opinion and a sort of statement – Failure is not an option for me, and I am not taking part in those millennial’s failure festivals just so we could keep give incentives to losers who thinks that it is OK to take their parents money and burn it on stupid ventures. All of the above is not here to d evaluate the importance of learning from mistakes, as it is really a great way to grow, but it is a noble way, in my opinion, to present business failures – It is an embarrassing, unexpected and sad result of a poor business operation.
This was all a build up for another term I want to discuss – Risk. Great entrepreneurs are considered as bold risk takers who were willing to lose it all in order to win big. Risk became sexy, and we constitute social conventions which supported it. 95% of startups fail? No problem, it is normal and there’s nothing wrong with me being in this category. My take, is that a good entrepreneur is a risk hater. He takes risks only when the potential gain is so significant, it justifies taking it. Some financial models claims that within efficient markets, risk and gain potential are correlated, and higher risks goes hand to hand with higher potential gains. In the real world, markets are not efficient, and there are information gaps. There are business opportunities, that carry low risks and high potential gains, and there are opportunities with high risks and low potential gains. In many cases, unregulated industries and markets can have business opportunities which are low in rise and high in gains, I personally love it. Great entrepreneurs also look on their personal qualities such as knowledge, network, self-esteem and resume as factors of d-risk. The more they can rely on themselves or their team, the less chances of failure.
If you got this far and I have not totally shredded your self-esteem, there’s a chance that you’re made out of the sexy material of a successful tech startup entrepreneur. But if you’re a normal person such as me, I probably managed to discourage you a little bit as you always thought you had a Zuckerberg inside you. This the place where I want to offer a model, which worked for me and helped me gain confidence, knowledge and a network, which enabled me to achieve business success at a young age. While I was a senior college student, I already knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. At that time, I was the usual arrogant startup kid, who thought he was going to build a multinational company with unicorn valuations. I was actively looking to build this world changing company but was lucky enough to not finding partners to join me in this journey. I than had an idea – I’ll go work for a tech company for a while, learn it from the inside out, build a network, and after a year or two, I will start my own company in the field. While most of you probably thought about doing it many times, I am proud to say I did it. I think it worked because I actually followed it, and with every step I took as an employee I was asking myself how it can benefit me for the day I will open my own company. I met a colleague who I pointed as a leading figure in our industry, and immediately knew he was going to be my business partner. We than joined another partner, and after s year, we were already generating our first $1 as a company. I was by far the most inexperienced guy in the room, but the partners appreciated my energy and hunger. In just one year, I was able to gather business partners, industry knowledge, sufficient network and enough confidence to quit my job and launching a tech business. I was laser focused, and I understood that I need experience partners with me, not just ego maniacs. Following my latest blog post about finding the right business partners, in the next blog posts I will discuss about how to find good business opportunities, and how to build small companies that leaves you with high equity stakes that can make you millions, even when the company is small.
Hopefully, what you will take from this post is a mindset of “Failure is a Disgrace, Risk is Stupid”. This will help you get into projects that are not too big for you, and actually make them succeed.