Trying to connect the dots

Figuring out a startup idea is like finding a life partner.

If one is extremely lucky, one will come across something and intuitively figure out that its for him/her.  I’ve been lucky with finding a life partner that way. I am still hunting for the same luck for my startup idea.

Unlike many others I have spoken to, who chose to start something after having atleast a basic plan, I had done the opposite. I had no plan. I simply, badly wanted to give a shot at my own stuff. Where the headiness came from, I do not know.

Now that the initial euphoria of letting the world know that I would be doing something *cool* on my own is gone, things are a bit different.

One day, things are clear… like the blue sky! Very next day, doubts fill the mind… turbulence and missing links!

And I am not yet ‘in’ fully… at least officially until March 11.

There are things that distract

  • friend who has got a huge hike on his next jump and is advising you to do the same too
  • friend who thinks that your headiness will lead nowhere and points out statistics of startup failures (80%, really?)
  • ‘you still don’t have a plan, are you kidding!’ remarks
  • ‘I think you will be back to a regular job soon’ remarks
  • ‘he is simply over confident’ quips

And then, there are things to decide / questions to answer to myself

  1. pursue an idea that fills your wallet?
  2. pursue an idea that warms your heart?
  3. pursue an idea thrills your brain?
  4. how to find a magic concoction of all 3 listed above?
  5. if 4 is not possible, which among 1-3 can be compromised?
  6. can you compromise at all?
  7. couldn’t you have waited until a spark came along?
  8. do you realise how much of an effort lies ahead of you?

Its a regular thing, battling with these demons often.. suppressing them easily on one day and struggling on the next.

Failure is a very materialistic word

Whatever the doubts, whatever the fears… I am heavily convinced that it is a truly worthy thing to try out… even if it eventually means failure. Failure is a very materialistic word.  Because in this context it means only two things

  1. losing money
  2. finding things difficult when you decide to go back to your career (if your startup had been a deviation from your regular job)

In every other sense, one would have gained. Experience, life-skills and more! To call such an experiment a failure would be incorrect.

So, if one is okay with losing a certain amount of money and is already reconciled to the fact that things could get into hot waters if it didnt work out as planned… I think things should be okay!

Things will wildly vary from one extreme to another. I guess, one has to learn to live with that… esp in initial few days. I am still trying my best and learning here!

Connecting the dots

In the last month, after having gone through a whole lot of emotions and ideas and thoughts, I have listed down a few things that I have read (or thought) and inclined towards believing

  1. its not the idea that matters, but the execution
  2. if the idea has not been tried out yet, probably there is a good reason why
  3. a super idea that is complex has more chances of failure than a mundane but simple idea
  4. like Peter Lynch says, if your idea cannot be explained with a rough sketch on a small visiting card, it is probably too complex for you
  5. one of the best ideas to have is something that fixes something for **yourself**
  6. start small, start fast.. but start with atleast one fully working functionality
  7. don’t ask too many people for validation of your idea. Without a working prototype to take a look at, their opinion varies wildly!!!
  8. brainstorm with people you trust, with people who have at least a bit of respect for you, with people who give you a serious ear… everywhere else you are simply wasting your time
  9. scribbling randomly on a piece of paper is a much better way of brainstorming than thinking it out in your mind
  10. if you are convinced something is fantastic, wait.. for a couple of days. Euphoria distorts facts.
  11. Follow your heart.. but realise what you may have to give up in return. Ideal situations are few and far between.
  12. target 10 early adopters and get feedback early. User validation/acceptance is the most important first step before you can plunge further.
  13. spend time and not money in the initial days
  14. money is precious and so is time

And then these notes, on a personal level, though it may not make much sense to you

  1. at 3a.m in the morning,  if you slapped me awake and asked what I would do in life, I would probably tell you that I would run a library… I see this written down in almost every journal I had maintained
  2. I have always had a variety of hobbies since childhood and took many of them seriously, spending quite a bit of money on each. There should be a few more like me.
  3. monopoly is my all time favourite game
  4. open source is my best chance at Business Analytics / Data warehousing. The high cost of proprietary licenses is simply out of my reach.
  5. open source is also my best chance at anything that I want to do.. home grown stuff is unviable and paying for anything is a risk for me
  6. as of today, my best idea is something that stitches books, photography, travel and other hobbies… which am working on (Hobbyists hub). I am yet to figure out the market size and the viability of anything in this area.
  7. I should have probably waited for week more before making a couple of expenses.. luckily, these are not high. But these lessons should be learnt quickly!
  8. wait.. don’t jump and update that on Facebook immediately.. you will probably delete it in an hour (happened a couple of times :-()

Finally, I think there are two interesting books you may like to read on this topic.

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5 thoughts on “Trying to connect the dots

  1. Wow! Very articulate and apt! I can relate to this easily because I’m going through very similar things in my head about starting something on my own too! I have no immediate plans of quitting my job though as I have nothing concrete to bank on yet.

    But kudos to you for making this well thought out decision. I would stick with it and pretty much ignore the remarks and quips. People have comments and opinions about everything under the sun! All the very best to you 🙂

  2. Yep!I have a couple of ideas, but not concrete or thought out yet. Its not similar to the hobby thing that you are working on, but the plan is to start a venture of my own. Let’s see 🙂

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