Most of the startups participating in one of my trainings are initially shocked at the inordinate amount of time I spend working on ‘the problem’. I’m certainly not alone there. Everyone who is regularly dealing with startups gets eventually frustrated to see how they concentrate en masse on building a product and not focusing on what the market actually needs. And while anyone who ambitions to shake a market’s status quo shouldn’t be too pragmatic, as much rationality as possible should nevertheless prevail. But, very few are the startups committed from launch to tackle a clear-cut problem.
I’ll be giving another Executive MBA class this week in Paris, which is an activity that I fairly enjoy — and if I may say so, my students too. Such three-day classes are usually very educative for me. They always keep me in touch with what most professionals still find difficult to grasp in the logic of launching innovative businesses and sustaining them later on.
In 2015, I was (poorly) rapping on how early stage ventures were systematically called “startups” because pretty much everyone has vested interests in labeling them as such. We’re now in 2017 and there is always a deeply rooted misconception about what is a startup.
This is the fifth startup post-mortem that I’m reading this morning.
While startups are not failing more, they’re just more vocal about it. This is a good thing. Hopefully, it will hep dismiss the illusion that a) anyone can launch a successful startup and b) the next stage of economic growth for Western countries will come from under-staffed, ill-prepared tech entrepreneurs.
Initially, 80% of startups fail at designing a workable solution to early adopters’ problem, from whom they can learn. Out of the remaining 20%, 80% fail at building on-going traction from a core market. Eventually, 80% of the few that survive fail at scaling this traction up, because they weren’t prepared from day one.
I was recently asked by too many people to produce a reading list for this summer to really be able to refuse gracefully. Now, this is not a simple matter. To some extent, my straightforward answer would be: read everything about innovation that has been published in these last 20 years, that is not purely redundant, and then… forget it all.
Sure it’s been a shock, and in the few years, Cameron will probably enter history books as the guy that fumbled his country out of the European Community. While nothing is really done yet, and the actual Brexit could drag on and on if no actual leadership comes back to Britain, it may be the time to ask what Brexit changes for European startups. Continue reading Where to launch a startup in Europe after the Brexit
Among the fundamental misunderstandings that I try to tackle from time to time in these articles, many of them revolve around the fact that a startup is not « a smaller version of a larger company ». This single point is the source of the vast majority of all the problems encountered by startups when they have to do anything about their project. Whether they have to think strategically or react to an emergency, they activate neuronal pathways that have been formed whilst learning from — or working with — typical companies. Continue reading Startups are Schrödinger’s cats
You’re not a startup; you’re a buzz word for technology news.
You’re not a startup; you’re a logo for cities in pressing need for attractiveness credentials.
You’re not a startup; you’re a communication prop for corporations doing innovation-washing. Continue reading You’re not a startup…