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What The Hell’s A Startup?
Jan 6th, 2015 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Looney thoughts, perspectives, and insights on the world of business!

– By Blake Glenn

 

Happy New Year!!

Yes it’s 2015. It’s the beginning of the second half of the second decade of the first century of the second millennium A.D. The new year is just launching. The year is a, uh, startup if you will. And since it’s the start up of a new year, I’d like to just review the definition of just exactly what is a startup, in the business sense.

What?

Are you serious?

By God dude. Everyone knows the definition of a startup. Everyone!

Well I thought I knew the definition too. But my confidence in such knowledge was thrown into complete disarray and shaken to its core when I caught an episode of a web series called That Startup Show. It’s based in Australia and features a host (that seems to be a comedian) conducting a panel of guests, all of whom appear to hail from somewhere in the world of Australian tech startups.

At one point, they debate the definition of startup. Now according to them, a startup:

  • Must have technology at its core
  • Be highly scalable, i.e., high-growth

 

So in essence what they’re saying is that a startup is only a startup if it’s a high-growth tech-centered venture. OMG! This whole time I thought any venture in the beginning stages of launch could be called a startup, regardless of the presence of tech or its high-growth potential. So let’s say we have the following new launches:

  • A chain of organic pink fondue restaurants
  • An off-coast deep-sea oil drilling operation run by dolphins
  • A new TV production company launching a South Park TV series clone
  • A life-sized LeBron James toy manufacturer (Cleveland AND Miami versions thank you)

 

According to the common opinion on That Startup Show, none of these would be considered a startup venture. Check out the discussion beginning around the 7:30 mark.

 

 

 

This conundrum sent me into such a tizzy and near hopelessness that I had no choice but to set out on an epic quest to find the true meaning of startup. After much trekking through the wilderness, navigating un-passable terrains, fighting off man-eating beasts, and tempting starvation I was finally able to reach the remote temples of the most renowned minds in the universe. I’ve recently returned from that quest. And I present to you the enlightenment shared with me by those ascended beings.

 

The Oracle of the Wikipedia:

A startup company or startup is a company, a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. The term became popular internationally during the dot-com bubble when a great number of dot-com companies were founded.

 

The Sage of Dictionary.com:

noun
1. the act or fact of starting something; a setting in motion.

adjective
2. of or relating to the beginning of a new project or venture, especially to an investment made to initiate such a project, as in a commercial or industrial enterprise:

“high start-up costs.”

 

The High Priestess of the Merriam-Webster:

start–up noun, often attributive
: a new business

Full Definition of START-UP

1: the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion

2: a fledgling business enterprise

First Known Use of START-UP

1845

 

None of these ultimate sources of higher knowledge mentioned “technology” in their definition. And only The Oracle of the Wikipedia mentioned the word “scalable”. So it is, that after this treacherous quest for knowledge, I am left with a completely unexpected and frightening simple conclusion …

Some part of the tech startup populace has been infected with a nasty virus. This virus causes its victims to engage in self-indulgent, arrogant, egotistical and narcissistic behaviors that leads them to believe that the known universe actually revolves around the world of technology startups.

 

While this virus may have been with us for decades, perhaps even centuries, the medical community believes that a new and virulent strain mutated around August 1995, when Netscape completed its IPO, and became a pandemic with the progression of the Dot Com 1.0 era. They also believe that the virus went into a brief hibernation period after the Dot Com implosion of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

But now the evidence is clear. This damned virus is roaring back, nastier and more contagious than ever. Now let me say that I have nothing against the host of That Startup Show or his guests. And the show itself is very interesting. I actually like what I’ve seen so far (though the profanity seems a bit gratuitous at times … and I LIKE profanity!). The host and guests all seem like very intelligent, good-natured people. But I imagine so was the Patient Zero that carried and spread the black plague that ravaged Europe.

By no means is this just an Australian thing. I know I’ve also seen bits of this virus locally, even in people (especially tech heads) that have yet to launch a damned thing!

So I plead to the global medical community. Please. Please. PLEASE! Find a cure to this deadly illness before the entire population is infected … and we all develop minds clouded with thoughts of venture funding, cash outs, IPOs, and tech startups dancing in our heads.

The fate, and future, of the entirety of  humanity depends on you.

Wait a minute. I see a group of tech entrepreneurs coming toward me. I know a couple of them. Hey Guys. Over here!

Uh Oh. They’re muttering something about IPOs, the semantic web, seed stage, IPO road show …  Their eyes look strange. All bloodshot and glazed over. Oh shit … they’re infected. Infected! Gotta get away. Run. Run. Run!

Oh no. All these doors are locked. Damn it. Help. Open up. HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!

Get away from me you freaks. Get the f$#k away from me! No. NO! I don’t want to do an IPO! I don’t want to disrupt a space. I don’t want to go big or go home! Aaahhhh!!!

Emergency Notice to The Looney Executive blog readers:

The CDC  brings you the following special bulletin:

Blakey G. is currently being quarantined and treated for a mysterious contagion.

While we hope for his complete recovery, The Looney Executive blog has been shut down until further notice.

Decontamination is in progress.

Please Stand By.

Thank You.

 

— The CDC

 

Lavender Skull and Cross Bonesx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?.

 If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

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P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

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