Is There Still Hope for Startups?

Latest news and reports have signalled doomsday for startup companies, but Midphase disagrees and this is why:
Bob Dorf recently wrote a post for CNN claiming that “Silicon Valley is hot and Wall Street is not. There’s a tech bubble and no one knows when exactly it will pop.” He goes on to claim that the world is full of what he refers to as “wantrapreneurs”, that most will turn to regular office jobs and that almost all belong there. To this, I say “phooey.”
I see the point that Mr. Dorf is trying to make. Startups are hard work and take extreme dedication, but to follow the American spirit I maintain my belief that his point is much too negative for the emerging business world. The startup sector is not dead; in fact I believe that it is growing. The digital age allows anyone with an idea to be heard and this is enough to create an impact on the world around us. We are seeing more and more great companies emerge every day.
Forbes magazine wrote in this article that “2015 is sure to be a year of innovation and growth for startups and angel investing.” With more growth in technology and software innovation along with a growing economy, it is hard to see the momentum slowing down anytime soon.
Now I’m not saying that each and every startup will be successful, but neither am I saying that the world is condemned to be run by big businesses. I am trying to say that startup success is possible and by partnering with successful individuals and businesses the startup dream can be a reality.
*Check out the links for some of our favorite startup success stories. Have your own blossoming startup that you would like to showcase? Tweet about it to @Midphase.
Startup statistics are pretty intimidating, but Harvard Business School says that when an entrepreneur fails the first time, their chances of success rise by 10%, proving that failure is just a process on the way to triumph. Startup stardom is possible according to the following entrepreneurs who succeeded and they will tell you how:
How to become an insanely successful entrepreneur according to Inc. Magazine:

  • Become great at public speaking.

Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora: “Learn public speaking. Of all the skills that an entrepreneur can have, I think the ability to convey an idea or opportunity, with confidence, eloquence and passion is the most universally useful skill. Whether you’re pitching a group of investors, rallying your employees, selling a customer, recruiting talent, addressing consumers, or doing a press tour, the ability to deliver a great talk is absolutely invaluable. And it is perhaps the most under-recognized and under-nurtured skill.”

  • Take risks to achieve your passion.

Dan Cristo, founder of Triberr: “You know how they always say, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? I say, “Do the job you want, not the job you have.” Your ideal job probably requires skills and experience you can’t get in your current role. Go ahead and learn those skills outside work through side projects of volunteering. Then bring these new skills into your current role. This is my core principle of job advancement.”  

  • Know the difference between trusting and depending on.  

Farhad meher-Homji, founder of Brightlabs: “Just because you trust someone, doesn’t mean you can depend on them as well. Trust and delivery can be two different things.”

  • Find good people to help.

Saul Klein, founder of Kano Computing: “The perfect startup has all three founders:- Someone who understands how to build technologies and systems to solve problems – Someone who understands the human factors behind those problems, why they exist, what it takes to fix them and how to shape the experience – Someone who understands how to reach, talk to and sell to the people whose problems are being solved — and keep finding more of them. The ideal startup has two of the three founders, but all three skills are present between them.”

  • Discover what makes you happy.

Michael Wolfe, CEO of Pipewise: “Pick where you want to live and the people you want to hang out with first. Then find a career that lets you do that.”

  • Re-evaluate your life plan often.

Edmond Lau, early engineer at Quora: “When I interned at Microsoft the summer of my junior year in college, I received a good piece of advice secondhand from a friend’s mentor: always re-examine and reflect on where you are in your career at least every two years. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job, the exercise forces you to check that you are actually enjoying your work and learning on the job rather than just being comfortable.”

  • Know your power.

Phineas Barnes, partner at First Round Capital: “Know that there are three choices you get to make and the rest is heavily influenced by circumstance and luck. You choose your idea. You choose your business partners. You choose your investors. Your choice of partners and investors should be thought of as permanent and are therefore the most important two decisions you make. The idea can change and evolve but this ability and the direction of this evolution will be highly influenced by your choice of partners and investors.”

  • Learn to say “No”

Chris Prescott, founder and CEO of Fantasy Shopper: “Learn to say no. In the early months, you’ll be in hustle mode and will likely be saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity, getting whatever and whoever you can to help with momentum. Assuming all goes well, you’ll reach a tipping point where people start coming to you instead of you going to them — be that speaking events, trial services, coaching, investment etc etc. You will no longer have the time or need to say “yes” to everything, so get the confidence to start saying “no” to stay focused on your vision.”

  • Hire only the best.

Peter Berg, founder of October Three, currently on Visa’s innovation team: “Be really picky with your hiring, and hire the absolute best people you possibly can. People are the most important component of almost every business, and attracting the best talent possible is going to make a huge difference. Quality and quantity of output is not linear (e.g. one rockstar programmer can produce much better code than two average or slightly below average programmers). Throwing more people at a problem doesn’t necessarily solve it faster, but it definitely costs more. So hire the best people. (And if you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to let them go.).”

  • Learn how to fail quickly. .

Mark Otero, founder and CEO of KlickNation: “Fail fast: Start with a working set of assumptions and test them out in the market very fast. If your assumptions are wrong then pivot, adjust, and make a decisive decision. Remember, entrepreneurs love the process, the idea is one of many you’ll have to achieving greatness, and commercial success. Know your weaknesses: Knowing your weaknesses is as important as knowing what your strengths are, and even more important as your company grows; hire or have co-founders who are great in areas where you are weak.”

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