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The Soul of Opening Startups

Alsalam alikom wa ra7mat Allah wa barakatoh,

I've never founded a startup -although I wish I do- sometimes looking at the situation from outside helps more realizing/analyzing the problems that may happen than being inside...

Every now and then, I find a blog post or an article speaking about startups and how to start yours and that you don't need to have real world experience... etc. A lot of chat from guys who experienced working in a big company as well as having their own startups..

What will follow is based on what I read (advices / success stories or even failure ones) and is based on what I personally see how it should go.

First we can start by defining what is a Startup.. it's an entity that one or more visionary people think about and put in action.

People have different claims against opening a startup

Claim 1: I need to wait a couple of years till I get real world experience in a well established company.

At different stages of your life you may start a startup, rule #1 it'll never be "too early" to start one.

My post will be dedicated to IT startups but some rules may apply to all other types.

If you didn't go to a college but you are a geek who has a dream. It's the best time to start one now... rule #2 if you failed, you have nothing to lose, if you succeeded you will get enough money for the rest of your life.

Are you a fresh graduate -like myself-? you are most probably inspired by the stories of Bill Gates (MS) and Steve Jobs (Apple) who all started their business so young and you have this thing inside you that pushes you that way, there is a voice inside tells you "hey, you are the perfect guy to have a startup"...

Some guys believe they should wait till they get their PhD, those believe in the way Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google Inc.) took. Keep in mind that eventually they brought Eric Shmidt from Novell to manage things, you can choose to be Sergey or Eric... it's all yours, they are both extremely famous/successful.... and wealthy ;)

My point is, whenever you have the passion to open a startup, just go and do it...

Claim 2: I've a family and I can't take that risk.

Your family comes first, that's the best but this should never be a barrier not to open a startup and fight for your dream.

There is a good probability that you will end up closing it and sitting at home for a couple of weeks/months till you get another job.. If you are not wealthy, those months will be a disaster for your family, I believe this is a risk you should never take.
But I also believe, having an understanding family, you may get a solution to do both (not risk your family & opening a startup)...

Partnership: having a partner, you are reducing the amount of money you will pay (hence saving some money for disasters :)) and it'll give your startup a better chance to succeed (two open minds will most probably be better than one, Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer, Larry Page & Sergey Brin... there are other non-celebrities success stories for 2 guys opening a very successful business)

Keep your old job: Opening a startup will require dedication in most cases, at first you have a lot to do to boost things, it'll be an overload on you to keep your old job even as a part timer. You should never expect an easy life!! instead, expect that you will have to skip a lot of weekends and a lot of pleasure time you used to have.

Save a big amount of money first: DON'T think about this... it's the ShipStopper bug that your mind may think of, if you decided to keep your job till you get a 'sufficient' amount of money that will keep your family safe, you will never feel safe about what you get... you will always say "what if something happened!! I need to save more money" and eventually you will lose your passion to start a company... I'm not saying that you don't save money for your family, sure you should :) but be reasonable and don't make that 'sufficient' thing a condition!

There may be other solutions to minimize the risk you may face with your family but I believe non will actually eliminate it... come on, risks are what give that nice taste to our lives!!.

Claim 3: I don't have that 1billion pounds idea

Who has it ? Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) didn't have it, there were dozens of famous social websites around there and they are still there but he managed to position his website among them by what? a 1billion pounds idea? no, he did a very regular website with a very simple UI, the only difference is that he did it well without spams :)...
There are a LOT of applications around the world that are waiting to be reinvented..

Just pick one that YOU like to work on and start working with your pals, maybe it's the 1billion pounds idea you were searching for.... and maybe not!

At some times when you have partners, and you don't have the 1BPI (1billion pounds idea).. it may be hard to pick something that you all like to work on... usually this should not happen because most probably your partners are guys with same interest as yours...
But anyway, assuming this happened, it'll be a hard choice, whether to separate to achieve your dream or to sacrify and work in your dream team... it's a trade off :)

Hope that was useful.


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