Monday, August 6, 2007

The Struggles of Entrepreneurship

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, recently made a guest post on Guy Kawasaki's blog entitled On The Other Hand: The Flip Side of Entrepreneurship, which presents "a top-ten list of the ways a startup can feel deeply screwed up without really being that screwed up at all." As I kept reading, I kept thinking "Yes, this is exactly how I feel." It was such a relief. The main points are as follows:

1. True believers go nuts at the slightest provocation.
2. Big projects attract good people.
3. Start-ups are freak-catchers.
4. Good code takes time.
5. Everybody has to re-build.
6. Fearless leaders are often terrified.
7. It'll always be hard work.
8. It isn't going to get better--it already is.
9. Truth is our only currency.
10. Competition starts at $100 million.

Here at Intuition, we're just beginning to struggle with the reality of starting up a company. Glenn's post really hit me, because I agree that starting up a company is pretty dang hard. He has a fresh perspective on what seems to be a newer start-up philosophy spreading around, particularly related to Web 2.0 start-ups: "Hard has gone out of fashion. Like college students bragging about how they barely studied, start-ups today take care to project a sense of ease."

Sense of ease? Not here. We've been working our butts off trying to get going, on top of working full-time to pay the bills. Only lately have we eased off a bit as people move, take a needed vacation, finish up contract work, or otherwise mentally prepare for the huge task that lies ahead of us.

The thing that hit me the most was this statement:

"If you don't believe you have any reliable competitive advantage, you're the kind of insecure person who will work your competition into the ground, so keep working."

YES. I'm so incredibly relieved to hear this from Glenn Kelman. In my own entrepreneurial activities, I've often struggled to find a striking example of what the business people call "competitive advantage." Isn't there always someone who's better than you at something? How about just a "We're going to do the absolute best we can, and we'll never be satisfied." Maybe his point is that never being satisfied is the competitive advantage. I hope that's the case, because that and our passion is about all we have!

1 comment:

Mike Boxleiter said...

Thats a pretty great quote, though I'm not sure that all this entrepreneurship talk is wholly pertinent to our company... We have a LOT of competition as far as making web games, and I don't think that our level of the game space is really about grinding the other guys into the ground as much as it's about hitting on good ideas and a lucky break. Maybe I'm just naive...