On Start-ups: Flying Without Wings

A few days ago on TWiT’s TriangulationLoic Le Meur, start-up extraordinaire, said several (by that I mean a lot of) inspiring words about start-ups. His main theme was creating work rather than finding it – making a job and growing it rather than searching for a job, of course realising there are none, then doing nothing further.

He explained that in the one of the reasons he moved to America from France was for innovation. He feels that there is greater encouragement in the US to make your own job; the American Dream seems to support this – than in France, or the rest of Europe. Living in Britain, I can certainly confirm this.

In school we are encouraged to gain qualifications – not skills, qualifications – and then go and show them off to an employer somewhere to get a job. Not once have I ever been told I could make my own job: I have to find someone else. But this is obviously not true. I have made friends on-line and found things I love doing (and get paid for) including writing here, for UltraLinx. I didn’t have to go to a local shop, I made my own work with others.

Another thing Loic said, more directly related to start-ups, was a metaphor; one in which your start-up is a plane. He explained that it is important to get the speed right when running a start-up. If you fly too slowly, your plane will fall from the sky; too fast and your wings will break and, again, you’ll fall. This was very striking as I hadn’t realised the importance of speed – especially not the upper end of it. I always thought that moving as fast as possible was the goal; make as much money as you can, then get out! And, to an extent, this is true.

As Loic went on to explain, the ‘get out!’ part is important. He said that it is important to recognise when you are failing and stop. Kevin Rose, formerly of Milk, was a supporter of this clearly stating that it Oink, his iPhone app, didn’t make it, he’d ditch it and move on. And that he did, moving on to a job at Google (possibly) designing their (beautiful) new Google+ apps.

So, to conclude:

– make your own job

– develop at the right pace

– part from a project if it doesn’t work

– get a job as a designer at Google

And then you’re sorted!

For more inspiring thoughts on start-ups, visit Bobby Ghoshal’s blog. He’s the founder of Flud – check it out too; it’s awesome, and a great example of a successful start-up. UltraLinx is a proud partner of Flud.