In the last weeks, different people I’ve never met before approached me with the aim of discussing the possibility of a collaboration. The common denominator for these people is the need for technical support in order to bring their ideas to reality. This is awesome because this is exactly why 6020 peaks was born!
However, after several conversations, I realised of the existence of common patterns, that in my opinion, everybody should address even before asking for external help. In this sense, I decided to write this post.
I must say that I am always quite open to listen to people’s ideas and thoughts, specially I am very curious to know the reasons why they decide to go the entrepreneurship path. All in all, I think one can learn a lot from such conversations. That’s why I try to find the time to have one or two hours with these future business guys.
Usually, I like meeting people in a neutral place like a coffee shop, university campus or somewhere where we can discuss while chilling a bit. After a first round of personal introductions, I ask people to tell me how I can help them. Then, they proceed with an overview of their idea. While they are describing what they want to implement, I have the golden rule of not interrupting unless they ask me something. Amazingly, you can get a lot of information from the way people talk about their projects. Most importantly, I like to see if they are really passionate about what they are talking about.
Once I get my chance, I like going directly to the point and ask them the following questions, even before going deeper in technical details:
People I have talked to usually have problems answering the first question. They don’t really know why they want to do the stuff they need help for. In this case, I automatically think they are not really motivated about the project itself, but most probably they got an idea and thought it was worth giving it a try.
In my honest opinion, these people suffer the so called syndrome of “entrepreneurship masturbation”. They don’t know why they want to do their project, they just feel it would be amazing to have a company, given the amount of public funding and existing business contests. While this is a respectable reason, I firmly believe that this is the wrong attitude for working in your own startup. However, I can tell you that it is not only their fault. The responsible for creating this mindset are governments and all those entrepreneurship agencies rewarding concepts and half finished business plan drafts, instead of focusing on facilitating legal issues for startups or supporting the development of real products. I don’t want to go further this line, because it has enough content for a couple of posts itself…
Regarding the second question, people appear to have a clear answer: they want to make money by implementing their idea. After hearing that, a natural reaction is asking how. Then, all the clarity they showed earlier vanishes here. Which is normal to some extent, since there are many variables to take into account and if it was straightforward, then everybody would have done it before already. However, I would expect people to have done a little bit of research in advance and come up with a few initial alternatives.
Something that surprises me is that people want to make money and they don’t know how, but they are convinced they will get any kind of funding. Again this is the fault of the false entrepreneurial trend that our society has created in the last years.
Reached this point in the conversation, I usually get knock out. People tell me straight away:
“Look, we don’t have money, but we want you to be part of our company. We will pay you with shares.”
My answer to this is as simple as:
“I think you are making a big mistake. We just met. We don’t know how each other is working and you are telling me that you want me to be your cofounder.”
Imagine the situation in which you enter a bar, you see an individual you don’t know at all and you just spit:
“Hey, you look great. I think we could be a great couple for having a family.”
Maybe that works in certain kind of situations, but it is quite unlikely in real life.
At this stage, I know 100% that these people do not need me and I wish them good luck in their entrepreneurial attempt. Having such a conversation is usually not a good sign, because this means that when things get hard most probably they will abandon the project.
Now, for all those of you considering the technical implementation of your ideas, please take the following points into account before asking for external help:
– Be honest to yourself. Do you really like what you are about to start? Do you imagine yourself not taking holidays or working until late on it?
– If you plan to make money with your project then start researching and validating your idea: know your potential customers, other people doing something related, etc. You must show interest for your own idea and be able to answer any kind of question about your topic.
– Do not start a company with someone you don’t know. Running a company involves a lot of personal issues, even more during the bad times.
– Do not offer shares of something that only exist in your head. At least try to validate it first and build a very simple prototype to make it tangible. Furthermore, offering shares is not always a good idea. In most of the cases you will be rejected and in the case of success, it will be expensive for you. Put to the limit, would you give a portion of your house to the guy who constructed it? Then, why do you want to do so with your software?
– Work on something that helps fixing a problem. Then you will have more chances of getting revenue.
– Have a look at the material provided in our previous post: the dark (but common) side of entrepreneurship.
Hopefully, this post helps you sharping your idea and getting ready before you ask for technical support. Remember that at 6020 peaks we are always willing to bring your ideas to life, but for doing so, first you need to take some previous steps.
Have you ever been involved in such a conversation? What was your reaction? Get in touch!