Renai LeMay did a story on Aussie start-ups in today’s AFR. But, of course, I can’t link to it online, because the zombies running the Fin still have it locked up tighter that a fish’s asshole. Memo to Fairfax – it’s 2008! HELLO?
Anyhoo, the article is also up on MIS Magazine’s website and you can read it here. I love that MIS Magazine is still called MIS, which apparently comes from the latin malum in se “wrong in itself”. So true, so true.
It’s called ‘Funds drought hurts web hopes” and is basically saying that most if not all Aussie online startups are hurting from lack of funding. I kind of agree and kind of disagree.
Look – sure – if we all had a few million, I’m sure we’d be doing things differently. We could hire more people, invest in better infrastructure, hire some sales people, etc.
However, I’m not sure a lack of funding is necessarily a bad thing.
I’m sure we can all rattle off a bunch of start-ups in the US which raised a bucket load of money, only to be gone a few years later. Why? Because you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. Bootstrapping a startup, with little funds or people, forces you to work on the basics. What service do we provide? Who do we provide it to? What problem are we solving? How do we make money from solving it?
The benchmark that we seem to give to online startups is, I think, unhealthy. Unless they have a constant growth curve that looks like the Mt Everest, and are raking in the cash, we think EPIC FAIL.
However, I look at it a completely different way. I’m trying to build something that I will still be running in 20 years time. Something that can make a difference. Something I can have fun with. Something that will let me do what I want, when I want, where I want with whomever I want.
So check it – I haven’t had a job for nearly four years. I sit at home, playing on my Macbook Pro, talking to cool people around the world and getting paid to do it. I take my kids to school, pick them up, hang out with friends whenever I want – and I have fun doing it. I have zero stress in my life. Sure – I could easily spend a coupla mill. But at the end of the day, when I compare how I’m living today, to how I was living four years ago, I know which I prefer.
So how should we define success for a start-up? Is it a business with a billion dollar market cap, or a business that is doing good work, or a business which is allowing someone to follow their dream or a business which is making ends meet? Or perhaps its all of these things?
Here’s the thing about reading mainstream media – and I say this with all respect to my friends who work as journalists, editors and the like – the MSM does NOT want you to leave your work and build a start-up. They want you to conform – to sit in your little cubicle and live the Aussie dream, working 80 hours a week for the man, not thinking outside the square, not taking any risks outside of your footy tipping, just being a good obedient consumer and doing what you’re told.