Wow. Once again I am happy about the social media and contacts (friends, colleagues, random people, Emperor of the universe, others..) who are sharing my blog. Even during my lunch time while I wasted 10 minutes on FaceBook I noticed that the blog without the content (sadly it looks like that) can get a lot visitors. And had to catch myself, lift up and throw into the window…s notepad++. So returned to work. And now I have finished a long post on how do I see the current startups nature.
So lets start our todays journey. Firstly, as I`ve promised to myself, about the state of daily activities. As you remember I planed quite much, how ever will underline what was not done:
- Finish Company back end Adm** ******
- > it took too much of time. Still have some stuff to finalize. Extra 2 hours dedicated for the G client ate time of this task, how ever I made a choice.
- Connect twitter and this blog, finish up with cname records of stupid.lt
- >Updated cname records, how ever not sure if IV will finalize the changes (as it had to be done quite a long ago). If no – I`ll move DNS hosting to hostex.
- If enough of time left – visit a pitching training to catch up with the startup community
- >didn`t attend, sadly. Had to choose and priorities. Will speak about that further
- dedicate time reading up and growing the knowledge of proper usage of Git.
- >will read after finishing this post, how ever to be fear with all the parties involved: if it wasn`t done till the blogpost – it must be metioned.
So in conclusion: not the best performance. I will aim to stick more to the plan tomorrow.
Now lets move from the meat to the cake. How do I see startups in Lithuania. Disclaimer: this is not applied to 100% of startups. I never counted exact numbers. Also there should be separation between startups (projects) and people who have idea and claims to be startupers (and they might be ones). In this blog post I am not looking for solutions – we have at least a month to come into that. Have in mind, that before solving issues you must identify the current situation, state and reasons/causes.
If at any place (networking event, pub, friends gathering, whatever..) somebody introduces himself as a startuper or a person who is working in a startup he looses 50 respect points in my eyes. After one minute some people manage to return that respect, but mostly I tag them for myself as babblers or dreamers. The reason is that most startupers I have met (and who introduced themselves as a startuper) have a huge lack of understanding the normal business world processes.
Some of them are defending themselves “You know nothing, we are innovating the world, people, changing mindsets”. The reality is – you can innovate your shit, how ever innovation to shit doesn`t turn it into something cool or useful. Even a cool looking peace of shit still in itself is a shit. Period. When we are speaking about people, mindsets here come dreamers on the stage. 1 out of 100 000 might have some influence (which is good), how ever to achieve the result that dreamer needs knowledge, real growing experience, not the bullshitting among the other sheeps how awesome it will be without going to to the real world.
From my experience people having real potential, doing(making) real worldwide business know way better how to present themselves and what they actually do, on what kind of product they are working. This is important, because currently in the events I have attended minority of “wanna be startupers” took some real actions, responsibility and did more then creating a presentation and a wireframe. The reality (as I see) is that majority of wanna be startups have no products and companies (or teams) which do and create actual products are spotlighting themselves as startups (will write in future about this disconnection).
Because of having no product and ability to make what is needed quite many people go to “startup events”. If you never attended any don`t loose an opportunity to go. You will hear some success stories, more stories of “coming success” (imagine you are in the sea, it is a storm, you know that you are surrounded by mirrors and there is only one real lighthouse. You try to swim towards it and tell to your passengers and leading ships – We are saved, hurray! But the reality is that you have no fucking clue if you are swimming towards the lighthouse or towards one of many mirrors reflecting the light.). You will hear ideas presented, you might attend networking (where everybody is interested in what are you doing, but forgets even to add you at linkedin after the event for the future use.). If you say that you can code/develop you will get a hundred and one offer to join the awesome startup with the awesome management and huge potential. And out of 100 people you will speak to, 5-10 (luckily, but it might be 0 too) will be interesting, useful. Because the same crowd goes to the same events, after 3rd, 5th, 10th you will see that you are either speaking with people who actually do stuff or that you are wasting your time. So I started to select events and prioritize work over the events and trainings.
I am not touching the quality of trainings because it really differs. And people organizing those are doing really great job. How ever I must touch some outcome. People gets really enthusiastic, how ever quite many of them directs enthusiasm to “hustling” instead of developing. And they start drawing their state. How ever drawing in most of cases is quite far away from the real picture. A lot of people are “faking it ..” (ok) but not “… till making it” (“fake it till you make it” is a commonly used phrase.). Shitty startup/product performance is covered under nice slides, unnatural statistics (number of visitor from bought ads, how ever 0 returning visitors could be a good example), articles in media. At start it looks like everything work well (nice number of visitors, delfi brought 6000 visitors in 1 day! Yay! My personal experience), how ever you are lying to yourself or measuring the temperature of air instead of sales (6000 visitors, of them 10 registered users, 0 sales. Again part of experience). And it is hard to wake up afterwards.
One interesting outcome I`ve noticed – after events, networking, hearing buzzwords like “monetization” people start creating/shifting (pivoting) products for consumers as they are. Or even for the startup community. How ever the real world need is doubtful. A student with his experience in most cases can create a product for other students. How ever (s)he tries to change the process that is not so known for him in a market/area/sphere he lacks practical knowledge about.
So when a startup goes to a venture capital company he needs to work triple to show, that his numbers are real, invest into making a personal connection so it could have a chance to be reviewed. In ideal world (and banks) you send your numbers, you are being screened and afterwards reviewed. If everything goes well – you go into real business with due-diligence and negotiations. How ever instead in Lithuania you need to swim over the shit that was left by previous wanna be startups. It requires for a huge time investment from you and if you are really creating a product which is required by the market you decide (or not. We did tho) to leave the last shadows close to your comfort zone and start the war in the international (or local for the start) jungle.
Why I am going into this? Well the people I know in the jungle don`t call themselves startupers. And if you tend to debate with argument, that startup is a way when you are pivoting and looking for the business model… Well fuck you. For me a startup is when you use all the accumulated experience to start an international business and understand how deep in the shit you are and into what direction you need to swim. In any other case you are just a drop in an ocean of shit. Accidentally you might reach the shore of success, bust 99% of people drown.
At the end I want to say: it is nice to see people doing stuff, trying to find their place. How ever please present yourself as a startuper when you have something working and when it is an innovation with REAL potential to be used all over the world. Or use word entrepreneur and that will be ok with me and your respect points.
I did quite many mistakes named here by myself, moved on, but still see a lot of people stuck in some of the “stages” provided here. In future will write more about mistakes I have made. Not to teach you but to record what have we (sometimes only I) done. I will do that because after 10 years Ill remember the good old days, but not the bad months^^.
Btw, did you notice, that I called this blog “Stupid startuper”? Try to guess why I use this catchphrase while I feel no warm words for the naming ^^.
P.S. should I add more images next time so it would be easier to read? Or maybe I shouldn`t write posts as long as this?:) Share how you felt reading!