Monday, July 2, 2012

Startups vs passion

One thing I dislike about the startup world is that we sometimes take the word "startup" to be synonymous with doing what one loves and pursuing one's passion. Founders talk about how their love and passion are the reasons why they started a startup, and the rest of the world concludes that anyone who is not doing a startup is not doing what they love.

It is true that a lot of love and passion needs to be poured into a startup. As Steve Jobs puts it, "because [doing a startup] is so hard, that if you don't [have the passion], any rational person will give up."

What's not true is that startups are the one and only way to pursue one's passion. By definition a startup's purpose is to find a repeatable and scalable business model. If you don't want to find a repeatable and scalable business model, you don't want to do a startup.

Instead, your passion may involve a business model that is not scalable or not repeatable. It might not be a business at all. Perhaps your passion can be better packaged as one of the following:

  • open source project
  • consulting firm
  • blog
  • lifestyle business
  • non-profit
  • vacation
  • academia
  • etc...

The nice thing about startups is that there are fair amounts of resources and support systems around building them. How do you know if a startup is right for you? Instead of saying "I want to do a startup in X", say "I want to find a repeatable and scalable business model in X", and see if it makes you wince.

End of Entry