Startup Formula

    After another portion of the articles I read on Siliconrus, attending Startup Weekend and the IDCEE conference, I decided to ask a very simple question that torments me all the time: what is a startup?

    No matter how strange it sounds, but everyone understands this concept in different ways. On the one hand, a startup has long turned into a buzzword, but, on the other hand, without understanding the meaning of the concept, it is probably hard to find a common language with investors and colleagues.

    I’ll say right away that I don’t know the exact definition of the word “startup,” but I’ll try to speculate on the topic that it’s definitely not a startup, and somewhere around the end of the article we may find the coveted startup formula.

    I’ll start, perhaps, from the standard answers to the question “what is a startup”. I note right away that these answers were not said by schoolchildren, but rather decent and smart people associated with the same startups.

    So, version number 1. Startup is what makes money

    I will not say who I heard from. At first glance, it’s logical.

    • a stall with shawarma also brings money, but still the language does not turn to call a stall a startup;
    • Instagram did not bring money, i.e. formally could not be considered a startup. Sold - earned money, now theoretically a startup. But, again, something is not right. Although “sensed,” Instagram is still a startup.

    Version number 2. Startup is a company

    It seems to be true too.

    • a company can be created quite simply and do nothing else;
    • companies are offshore and obviously not to be called a startup;
    • is an individual entrepreneur a company or not? Formally, the company, in fact, no;
    • in my opinion, a trademark or patents is more important than a form of management.

    Again, something is not right. We are going further.

    Option number 3. Yandex on the day it went public, ceased to be a startup

    The head of Yandex said on Twitter. “Oooooh,” I said, and moved on to the next version.

    Version number 4. Startup is a fast-growing business.

    Well a little warmer. Business - ok, I agree. Fast-growing - also like approx. But, again, I recall banks, oil companies, operators of hundredth communications, which, again, “according to my senses” do not even remotely fit into the concept of a startup.

    Version number 5. Startup is innovation

    Honestly, I thought so before. Here you can still argue for a long time what innovation is and why Google, Coca-Cola and other Facebook are considered innovative? In my opinion, nonsense. But let's say.

    I can say that if a startup is an innovation, then all the clones should automatically fall into the trash category and the history should not contain any success stories associated with twin projects, and the world would still use only one browser, use one car and would sit on only one site.

    Cross out innovation.

    Ok, if none of the options came up, let's think about what could be a startup?

    I have a website. I am a startup!

    Very often I see messages on all kinds of sites, ratings, how regular sites get there.

    In my opinion, a site is a site. Not a startup.

    That is, to summarize:
    • site is not a startup;
    • a young site is not a startup;
    • a young, fast-growing website is not a startup;
    • a young fast-growing website that makes money is not a startup;
    • A young fast-growing website that makes money selling shawarma is not a startup.

    On the other hand, there are TheVerge and StackOverflow, which, like sites, but at the same time, are very similar to startups. Thought ... Well, ok, while we put this thesis aside.

    I have a (unique) idea. I am a startup!

    Theoretically, too. But wait, there are 20 sites for finding real estate, there are Vkontakte, there are a bunch of coupon sites, there is Yandex, in the end. All these people did not have a unique idea, they just did not let the implementation down. Does it mean that the real estate search site created tomorrow is already a startup. Hardly ... Confused again.

    I have a prototype and a business plan. I am a startup!

    Again, the “visions” of the project in the form of a business plan are needed more by investors, not so much by a startup. Although stop, we still do not know what a startup is. After all, if Yandex is a startup, then you cannot do without a business plan. Okay.

    I have a mobile application. I am a startup!

    Again, Runkeeper can be called a startup, 90% of the slag in the stock is unlikely. Even if they bring some money.

    Then what can be considered a startup?

    I won’t give an exact definition, but I’ll list the properties of an “average” startup, without which a project, idea, website or application cannot be considered a startup:

    • a startup should create a new niche. No matter how absurd it may be, facebook, instagram, twitter created around their projects a) a niche b) infrastructure c) community and developers (if we talk about twin projects, they fill an empty niche and satisfy growing demand). In addition, if the market does not grow megabyte (exponentially), then everything that happens in this area should be called business or entrepreneurship;
    • a startup team (!) must deal with full time; if it’s not, it’s a hobby, bootstrap or something else, but not a startup;
    • outsourcing can under no circumstances be considered a startup;
    • the presence of a business plan, website, application, unique design, investor, earnings, office, innovation, patents - a necessary but not necessary condition;
    • startups should be deeply “in the subject” in the area in which they work, otherwise it’s a breeder, PR, nepotism, kickbacks, case, papa-minister, beautiful mother;
    • and one of the most important, in my opinion, properties of a startup is the presence of assets (these can be both sites and applications, patents, knowledge, communications, expertise, distribution channels).

    Something like this.

    What do you think, what is a startup and what properties should it have?

    Thanks for attention!

    Also popular now: