Starting Up

Things are moving in Montréal and so people start thinking about howtos and what it means to be a startup. Ben has ten super positives items to list while Evan, who’s been part of a few in the cauldron that is SF, offers up a completely different angle, mentioning “charismatic sociopath” founders.

John at Montréal Startup is talking about Y-Combinator and how the 3 C’s of success apply to their model, interesting insight.

For myself, I’d like to know what people consider startups. We’ve been hearing the word again and again lately in various circles and I think some of those projects are just that, projects, not startups per se. For example, (sorry Sylvain) I think Blog Expert is an interesting project, it’s a couple of people regrouping to offer a service. The small microformat based site I’m working on with Hugh and Heri is a project. Akoha, Austin’s project which is highly hiring oriented lately, looking for financing, etc. is a startup, so is Standout Jobs, so is Praized. Most of the ideas I have would result more in “lifestyle” products than startups. Applications with potentially interesting revenue streams but for a few people to live off of while keeping a life outside of work. Something more like what 37 Signals have been doing.

Now granted, the line can be blurry, one can become the other, but I still think there’s a difference that needs to be kept in mind. What’s you’re definition, does it fit mine?

  1. for me, a startup is a brand new company, where you have to hire a team and build a product from scractch.

    it is different though from a new clothing shop or a new web design agency because those companies typically have no risk and can ask for funding from the usual institutions.

    a startup is usually a bet, there are much more risks and usually bankers would never lend money to the entrepreneur. they cannot understand his service or his business model because he is the first one who is starting it.

    i agree also that we are working on a project. (although a project can become a startup)

  2. Well, let’s see:

    1. You have to have a name. It can either be a real word with some vowels removed and “r” tacked on to the end, or it can be some nonsense word with lots of Ks, so you can find one of the few .com domains under 10 characters which haven’t been taken yet.

    2. You have to have nothing to offer except a promise of something in the future. A big splash page promising to revolutionize some part of our lives that doesn’t need revolutionizing. At the bottom, add a box for people to put their email address.

    3. You have to whore yourself to the local blog and tech community. Include a blog on your website which says absolutely nothing about what your startup will be about (trade secrets, you know, patents etc.) but somehow still manages to have content. Go to local tech conferences and talk about it there too, with vague words that sound cool but don’t mean anything like “network”, “marketing”, and “web presence”

    4. You have to miss deadline after deadline until people forget about your project. By then you’ll have realized your startup isn’t worth the trouble and quietly closed up shop.

    (And people think I’m cynical…)

  3. Well, for me a startup is a new “project” with a “business plan” and a team behind it (ideally money too).

    It might as well involves getting in before others, being sustainable and executing well on the idea/insight…

    But my answer is too serious, I preferred the previous answer by Steve, after all, here’s my answers to his take :

    1. I do work with a startup with a “z” in the name and one with “wr” at the end. Another one starts with “W”.

    2. This is actually on my todo list.

    3. This one I am getting pretty good at, I think.

    4. This one is still a work in progress for a few months a least…

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