The Physics of Startups – Shai Agassi

One podcast I listen to pretty religiously is the Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership podcast from Stanford University. Recently, Shai Agassi, formerly of SAP gave a talk called The Physics of Startups, which was very interesting.

There were a couple of things that stuck with me out of this talk:

  • Money for a startup is like air. You shouldn’t be concerned with it unless you are in a vaccuum. In other words, money can’t be the reason you are in business.
  • The difference between ‘success’ and ‘failure’ for a startup is microscopic. The difference between a Yahoo or Google and a failed startup could be just a matter of a few days
  • Startups need to use the “gravity” of larger companies to stay alive.
  • If you are working on anything Web 2.0 right now, its not new anymore. He compared it to a surfer catching the back of a wave. They don’t do it because all of the energy is gone by that point. “No one every caught the back of a wave and hit shore”. You need to catch a wave at its start, to utilize all of its energy. So surfers make a “bet” that the coming wave has the energy to get them to shore. The quote he uses is “If its already in WIRED, its already too late”.

It was a very interesting talk. Check it out if you have some time.

How Far Would You Go To Have Your Own Business?

I found this article this morning on Yahoo! News about John Darrigo, owner and operator of the Dog-Gone-It Pet Waste Removal Service in New Hampshire.

Doing a search on Google you find a ton of businesses just like this with names like DoGPiLe Patrol, PoopButler, and MineSweepers.

I’m not sure this is a business that I would want to be in (my solution would be to not have a dog if I had the voting power), but after thinking about it for a bit, I see two big strengths about this line of business. The first is that it is definitely a job that not many people enjoy doing, and therefore if you find customers like me, you could make a killing. Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of clever names you could come up with for a company which performs these activities.

Luckily, I’ve found this article so that I can point our kids over to it. Now we can just say that picking up the yard is prep for their future rather than just having to throw out a “because I said so”.

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