Spoiled Little Startups

To me, the word startup is starting to lose meaning. It becomes too much of a buzzword that people started to forget how it all usually began: In a garage, born from a burning passion of one or two people. It was never the millions of angel money or the big buy out. It was never the fastest way of being rich or an overnight success. It was about creative people reaching out their dreams even if it mean letting everything go.

But years of hard work and dedication falls flat in the eye of media, it’s too common and not newsworthy in comparison to massive early fundings, the grand acquisition exit, the so called overnight success or utter failure. These numerous and rather daily news of fundings and acquisitions create a new breed of startups: The spoiled little startups.

Spoiled little startups have a distorted mindset that doing a digital startup is a get-rich-fast scheme, or an easy way out of their miserable corporate lives. Startups are now the mythical gold mine in the new era of gold rush. History proves that the ones that won the gold rush are the ones that took advantage around it.

Spoiled little startups do not want to start without proper funding, do not have a feasible (or at least realistic) business model. They want the money upfront with a plan to pay themselves too much from the funding money they don’t have. They think investors are business model (true story bro) and they don’t solve any problem. They spend more time pitching and going to conferences than actually building a product.

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Have you noticed these types of patterns on the startups around you? I’ve seen my fair share of them and it’s appalling. It’s a laughing matter to hear about it once or twice but it’s worrying to keep hearing about them. Believe me that I’m not the only one being disappointed.

So what can we do to change it?

If you think you’re one of the spoiled little startups, then congrats in admitting the problem. I suggest you follow these steps to change your mindsets and get you back in the game.

  1. Conferences are mostly a waste of time, concentrate on making the best product.
  2. Funding is not everything. You don’t need that much money to start in the first place.
  3. Stop the marketing bullshit. Demo your products and make people love them. Don’t have a decent product? See no. 1.
  4. Have a realistic business model from day 1. Business that doesn’t make money is not a business, it’s a hobby.
  5. Business is hard work, never ever think you can have an overnight success.
  6. If you’re in it for the money, don’t do startups. Work for oil or multinational company instead.

If you’re a Venture Capitalist, Angel or some sort:

  1. Tell them the truth, it hurts but at least they would learn from it.

In the end, I still think startup is an overrated and overused word. So start a business, not a startup*.

*Reference from rework.

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Aria Rajasa

Aria Rajasa Masna is a passionate businessman with an knack for design, casual fashion and also digital industry. Currently positioned as the head honcho of tees.co.id and swagshop.co. Doing his best challenging the impossible on the daily basis.

  • @Aria: Impressive article. Another interesting topic is the thought of growing prematurely. When you just obtained a funding, don’t push your company to spend like how the others are spending. Don’t hire more people just because the other companies are doing so. Don’t just do a random marketing without measuring its conversion. Increase in spending does not always yield higher sales. I have seen many startups that closed down because of these.

    Building a company involves a lot of human interactions that leads to setting up a culture and a ground set of rules. It’s not something that you can force to happen, but you need to develop it slowly. Spend wisely, focus on the right marketing channel for your business to improve your conversion and traction. Eventually, set your goal to establish a sustainable company instead of relying on investors too much.

  • Joshua Kevin

    Random marketing spending is agreed. Hiring is quite different though. Sometimes when you are able to hire a great talent, you have to do it even though it might be a bit premature. (Great) Talents here are very scarce. Again, this is my own experience, can be varied from one startup to another.

  • rajasa

    Growing a team is a delicate art that I’m still learning how. But hiring to fast leads to a lot of overheads that may or may not be necessary. I’m on Ryan with this one, a good talent is of no use when you don’t use it properly. They would just leave anyway if it is unworthy of that talent. This happens more often than not.

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  • Egi777

    i do totally agree sob,
    Currently im making my product in my own kitchen, starting to searching and keep looking for the best product we’ve could make in the end of episode, i dunno why, i also don’t have any desire looking for the final step of ‘hipster’ mode of startufp, ventures. I just loving how do concentrate on building content strategies, while my friend beside me still scratching his mouse gently, just for find the decent pattern of UI/UX, we need the ‘mindset of your article’, lately people making the product, just wanna ended up their story in ‘fairy ventures tale’ i think, they dont need the product, they just loved how much money they earned from something that you called investors = business models. We need to revive and clear the line of role play of startup, gracias !

  • Joshua Kevin

    Yup, the hardest part on being a startup founder is actually not creating product, selling product, fundraising, but actually – hiring and managing talents. If he or she is a good talent, they will find a way to make themselves worthy, no? :) So far, I have never had that problem as we are on 365 days hiring mode for devs.

  • minhbkx

    yes it’s totally true!

  • Peter Adi Saputro

    I am a co-founder a startup business in Surabaya. I build a startup with 2 of my friends. As I knew, no one of us ever worked for other people and/or companies in a full time jobs. Currently we have no final products, we just have some products “wanna be” from some projects that we did for our customers. We have little budgets and in my opinion we need to raise funds to help us grow faster and better. But, after reading this article, I realize that maybe our business model will the investors itself. I have one question, may you share your experiences as a startup founder ? Tells all about funding, product building, etc. I always curious how others startup founders run their businesses in its early days. Thanks before.

  • rajasa

    yha kan saya nulis di disini dan dailysocial.id. Banyak tu di dailysocial.id, monggo atuh dibaca.

    Untuk buku wajib, coba lean startup sama rework.

  • Peter Adi Saputro

    Okay siap…. hatur nuhun infonya….

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