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.
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.
Startups being half of my daytime work and I deeply care about them. This often makes me vocal on how entrepreneurs are abused in launching projects that only fuel tax exemption of unconcerned investors, or the regional marketing of cities despairing to rebuild territorial attractiveness.
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.