The Nitty Gritty of a Startup

When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you..

Amazon.com, Facebook, and Twitter. I guess it’s safe to say that all of these were once startups—garage mockups. Although boldly used these days, everything had to start from something.

I have a passion for startups. I wouldn’t say I’ve had it forever but after joining one (and a few book recommendations by mentors) I’ve slowly built a huge appreciation and excitement for it. It’s an easy way to get your name into history books—if the startup succeeds, that is.

Startups are fun. It’s like being in an open relationship with a partner. It’s like a cab where you can get off wherever and whenever you want. No commitment—you’re just in it for the ride as long as it’s fun or suits your needs.

But is this the right attitide? Honestly, I don’t know. I kind of went the other way around. So passionate and willing to do whatever it takes to help move the company from being a startup to a legit contender in online retail, I did everything out of my job description (note: there are no true job description in startups) to help out. From creating processes out of a blank 8½ x 11 piece of paper to generating 200mb Excel database files. You have to know that I’ve never used Excel formulas in my life before all this.

It’s nice to see something grow—especially if you know you’ve done something to help in the process. From makeshift offices out of folding tables and plastic chairs to a real office with partition panels, carpeted areas, and reclining office chairs. Watch out, world! Something big is brewing in the heart of Makati.

Fast forward a year and a couple of months, a couple of TV and print ads, 1 million Facebook likes, and an amazing number of daily sales, you would think that the goal would have been reached by now. The problem with startups is the exact nature of it: No commitment, no exclusivity.

Not mentioned above is the frequent change of people, goals, and processes within “a year and a couple of months.” Projects scrapped, processes skewed, records disappear, and overall growth stalled—all this can happen in a blink of an eye. Transitions are never a walk in the park. So, the big question is: Where do you go from here?

Do you pick up the slack clueless on what can happen in the future, or say, in a couple of days? Do you force yourself to believe a particular startup will make it knowing, statistically, that 9 out of 10 are doomed to fail? Do you wholeheartedly accept changes brought in by new management?

I guess it all comes down to how much you believe in the startup, of course taking into consideration management or people you work with—which actually takes a huge chunk of whether one will survive or suffer a slow and painful death. If everyone is on the same page or same boat rowing towards success and the welfare of its people and no lip service, save-your-own-ass kind of bullshit, I think you’ll be fine. Just remember to take in hints and know when to call it a day.