Fallacy of startup success


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Are you tired of people telling talking about how to be successful with useless example, not backed by any research? Do you think entrepreneurship is a game rather than a trivial bunch of cheap advises? This presentation is for you!

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Fallacy of startup success

  1. 1. The fallacy of Startup Success What can we learn from plane crashes and ben and jerry’s... Franck Nouyrigat - @peignoir Startup Weekend co-founder UP Global VP - franck@up.co Wednesday, October 16, 13
  2. 2. Success does not mean anything if it is not associated to a goal In the case of Startups the goal is to have 1. A stable Business Model (BM) 2. A scalable BM Example: if revenue > cost we can consider the startup BM stable if existing customer buy again it is a scalable BM Wednesday, October 16, 13
  3. 3. Example of Fallacies (or BS) Love what you do 1) Choose something that is in line with your own personal interest and passion, then it never seems like work. 2) Don't be afraid to fail. 3) It's critical to spend the time early on to hire the right people. If you are disciplined in finding the best and brightest people who are also team players then management is easy. 4) There is no substitute for talking directly to customers. Whether they are happy or upset about something, it feels great to connect with people who are using your products, because you immediately get a good sense for how to make it even better. Brian Sharples co-founded HomeAway with Carl Shepherd in February 2005...he has raised nearly $405 million in private funding Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamilah-corbitt/million-dollar-advice-fro_b_3960955.html Wednesday, October 16, 13
  4. 4. The Success Fallacies always have the same structure : random advise + successful guy (ie made a lot of $) = The promise of you’ll be like this successful guy Love what you do + Brian Sharples (400+ Million dollars) = I’ll be like him if I love what I do ... The real question is : how many people who failed loved what they were doing (let’s define failure here by bankrupt) Note that at least if the advise is somehow sincere it’s morally ok (Though still inefficient) , but what about people lying? What if you are a total idot ... Well you might just end up with things like : Wear a Black t-shirt + Steve Jobs = I’m steve jobs if I wear a black t-shirt Wednesday, October 16, 13
  5. 5. WHY? "Society is founded on hero worship," the 19th-century historian Thomas Carlyle once observed from the ero" comes The term "h a hero was ks. For them, ancient Gree something so o had done a mortal wh scope of the normal far beyond he left an rience that human expe him when emory behind immortal m ived worship nd thus rece he died, a ue the gods. like that d Wednesday, October 16, 13 The concept of a sto ry archetype of the standard "hero's quest" o r monomythpervasive across all cultures is so mewhat controversial. Expounded mainly byJos eph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it illustrates several uniting themes of hero stories that hold similar ideas of what a he ro represents, despite v a s tl y d iffe re n t c u lt u re s a n d b e li e fs . T h e monomyth or Hero's Jou rney consists of three s e p a ra te s ta g e s in c lu d in g th e D e p a rt u re , Initiation, and Return.
  6. 6. MY THOUGHTS ... (disclaimer: they might be wrong) Keep your startup heroes (a poster of Steve for example) And focus on cold thinking - research based advises Challenge any speaker on their own fallacies e.g. : Read Founders Dilemmas (http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Entrepreneurship/dp/0691158304) Wednesday, October 16, 13
  7. 7. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD Since Blaise Pascal (17th century) we can apply the scientific method of test and deduction to understand natural phenomena. When a plane crashes we don’t look back at why the other one did not crash we focus on why the plane crashed! Interesting enough planes never crash because of one reason, but because of an alignment of conditions (ie engine failing + bad weather + pilot sleeping) After each crash, the learnings are taken and applied to avoid them again... WE SHOULD DO THIS WITH STARTUPS! Wednesday, October 16, 13
  8. 8. Why ice-creams fail? Ben and Jerry’s Graveyard... Wednesday, October 16, 13
  9. 9. Why Startup Fail? 1. Steve Blank : The main reason is failure to find customers (Answer : Customer Development) 2. Eric Ries : The main reason is spending to much time developing vs testing early (Answer : Lean Startup Methodology) 3. Noam Wassermann : 65% of failures are due to people problems Other Category : Jim Collins : Separating the good from the great... (Jim did focused on success vs failure and large corp vs startup) Wednesday, October 16, 13
  10. 10. Now go back to work! Like every successful entrepreneurs did :) Wednesday, October 16, 13