Will a Getting Real approach work for any startup?

    The authors of the wonderful book “Getting Real” recommend doing a startup gradually, starting from one server. “Leave the scaling concern for later,” the authors advise. In their opinion, 3 people are enough to start the project: a programmer, a designer, and another one who understands both.

    How many startups will this rule work? Let's look at a few examples.

    From the history of Webmoney
    On November 20, 1998, the first official transaction was made in the system, and on November 24 a press release was published on the launch of WebMoney Transfer.

    The first thousand registered users were credited with 30 WMZ to the wallet, and the first connected stores - 100 each. 3 WMZ was due for the attracted user. Tens of thousands of dollars! In a country that had just defaulted, when companies were not just on the Internet - offline they closed in bundles, for many it seemed like a reckless waste of money. Then in RuNet in general, few people spent such amounts.

    In this case, generosity could be caused by the fact that money was difficult to withdraw from the system. And, more likely, the presence of a solid capital that stood behind Webmoney.

    From the history of PayPal, an interview with Max Levchin
    The real creators of PayPal are six people: Peter, Max and their first employees.

    “The story of PayPal is primarily the story of the team, not me,” says Levchin. - The first six carried the company on themselves. Our leader, Peter Thiel, as a professional financier, correctly built the banking business behind the PayPal facade. I brought the whole technical team, calling two fellow students there for college. Peter brought an economist from Stanford. And the last one, Luke, we knew well from the old connections: I worked with him, and Peter invested money in him. ”

    - Max, at the time of the start of PayPal, you had money from the sale of the previous company. Did it somehow change PayPal's chances of success?

    - The fact of the matter is that I did not have living money on hand. There were documents for receiving money for two years and $ 7,500. After renting an apartment, two thousand dollars remained in my hands, and I still had to buy a car - my partner Peter Thiel ordered that he was tired of carrying me everywhere. When we created PayPal, it was necessary to pay the statutory capital - 10 thousand dollars for all. I hesitated whether I should take a smaller share. We lived without a salary for a long time, I got into debt. And I also got acquainted with Peter from lack of money: I lived in a very cheap apartment without air conditioning, looked for a place in Stanford where I could sit out the heat, and so wandered over to his lecture.

    The PayPal team lived on personal savings for several months and received the first investment when a lot of the project was already done.

    Two founders and four fan co-workers ready to work for free. The team is clearly more than three people. It seemed a little money.

    From the history of egold

    E-gold was founded in 1996 by physician Douglas Jackson and Barry K. Downey.
    E-GOLD IS Worth the tall, well-built 49-year-old Doug Jackson, a former oncologist, an adherent of the gold standard system. More than ten years ago, Jackson became a pioneer in digital cash, creating, as he calls it, a private currency system in which money is tied to gold.

    GOLD, HE DECIDED, is the key to all problems. The United States abandoned pegging the dollar to gold in 1971. But Jackson and his friend, Barry Downey's lawyer, set about creating their own gold-tied currency. To collect the initial $ 900 thousand, Jackson cashed out his retirement accounts and sold medical practice. One of his former colleagues noticed that Jackson worked on a computer code around the clock, standing at a counter. He often forgot to eat, lost a lot of weight, and stopped going to church.

    $ 900,000 in 1996. This is not enough.

    I reviewed a few cases. These cases are related to financial startups that began in the last century. The fact that in the last century is important is now easier to start (from a technical point of view).

    What do you think: is it really possible NOW to create some kind of payment system (having strong know-how, of course, and not a dumb clone) having a team of three people and money for several months of life, as the Getting Real approach says?

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