Every founder’s story can kick start with a Dickensesque opening:
There are moments of brilliance; there are flashes of mediocrity. There are times of madness; there are bursts of sanity. There is the power of conviction; there are periods of obscurity.
There is a belief in order; there is lacklustre entropy. There is freedom of operation; there is a burden of pressure. There is the exalted dawn; there is the gloomy dusk. There are short-lived highs; there are prolonged lows. Everything seems to be working for you. Nothing appears to be working for you.
About twelve months ago, when we (Me, Ninad and Vini) left American shores for an uncertain future in the Startup bastion of India, little did we imagine what was in store. Over the course of the period, we met founders and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds striving hard to create value in one form or the other. Not only did we learn from their struggles but also developed a deep respect for their courage.
The breed whose doings can barely confine to a job description and that was something we experienced first-hand. We also had quite a lesson in understanding what goes into shipping a product and selling it to a regular consumer. For someone building a consumer Internet startup, three seconds is all they get to make an impression on a new prospect. A millisecond delay is a lost opportunity. And, if developing an app, they have to battle it out on the premium 16GB smartphone real estate and contend with the likes of Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat or Tinder.
So unless the app is a pain killer or a money maker, chances are it will reside in the trash can. So, the entrepreneurial battle is for every penny, millisecond and a byte.
The Entrepreneurial Battle Goes On
These men or women may just be a decimal on an investor’s spreadsheet or a corporate misfit for their friends, but for an average consumer, they are responsible for making his or her life easier by solving everyday problems. In the modern world, consumers can book a cab, order food, pick groceries and rent a space with a single mouse click or thumb swipe just because someone dared to slog it out by giving up on the paycheck dream. However, the unfortunate but genuine fact of building a startup is that only about five percent get past the Seed round to raise a Series A and less than one percent of them go on to become thriving, sustainable businesses.
So, statistically speaking, most of us will fail along the way but that’s also the beauty of the system in a weird way. We would eventually run all the experiments that will rule out the “don’ts” for that one person who makes it. It’s only when ninety-nine of us try and fail enables that one guy to see the light, and that should be the epitome of a collective win for all of us.
“There are no consequences of trying,” says my brother with whom I cofounded my first failed startup. At the time of writing this article, I am building my third while still paying the debt for the first. Whereas others we met have left school, mortgaged homes or battled depression. So, a lot could be said about staying in the game.
We, therefore, will let ourselves down if we don’t run the course knowing the odds of winning are slim. Today we survive, tomorrow we conquer because a stained shirt will have far more interesting stories.
About The Author
[The author of this post is Vivek Singh, co-founder of Areahop – a wellness marketplace that offers products and services based on subscription commerce.]