What’s your vision?
Recently there have been discussions over ‘how long is too long’ from developers a little less than happy being part of a startup that is not yet paying them ‘what they’re worth’ or even getting involved in a startup that doesn’t pay them from the outset. Startup widows are also holding their spouses accountable for not having ‘made it’ yet.
The problem with this thinking is that the focus is on the payout, not on the journey or the goal. Their focus is on a timeframe. What’s acceptable, what’s not.
What’s your vision?
Deciding to get into the startup life is like jumping off a cliff. You prepare really well, you’re excited, and the people around you admire your decision. But after that, you’re relying on your own vision. And that’s where people begin to lose it.
When we decided to launch our startup in the US, I wish I had a dollar for every person telling me how ‘lucky’ I was. I find that weird. Lucky? No. Gutsy? Yes. Committed? Yes. Adventurous? Yes. Passionate? Yes.
I share a vision. (Please check out the difference between a corporate mission statement and vision statement here.)
So what’s my vision?
My vision is one in which we create technology that makes a real difference to peoples’ lives and changes how they view technology and communicate with each other. We’re going to provide the tool that restructures the way people create and interact with technology and communicate with each other online. (Oh yeah, this is a change-the-world thing!)
I’m into equity – not the financial type, but the equity of access and use that will make people want to create content instead of just consume it. I want it to be easier for them. I lust for the day people do more than just search for things online. I lust for the day that everyone – you – truly feels able to produce content and interact with it because they can fit doing it into their day. I lust for the day that it makes as much sense for them to create content and really interact with other peoples’ content as it does right now to Google something.
The prospect of being a founding part of the company that makes this happen excites me.
You’ll note that no aspect of this vision includes a timeframe. Even though I want it to have happened ‘yesterday’ purely because I am so darned excited about it, I haven’t said ‘we have to make this happen within xx years or else I’m out’. It also doesn’t include a financial payout. Sure we have to live, but it’s amazing how your expenses tend to meet your means. Ramen noodles taste good ;). Free public education is good education. Without wanting to sound like a Monty Python skit, I am proud to say I have really actually walked two miles in the snow with bags of groceries, and I didn’t die. The bus is usually my transportation, and sometimes if I’m lucky, a friend’s car.
It’s about what you’re willing to do to see your vision come true. It’s living the dream and enjoying the journey. It’s the reality of working with a startup.
As I’ve said before, startup life is like nothing else. It’s not a job. And when it feels like a job, when you start measuring ‘success’ by time and money, it’s time to do everyone involved with the startup a big fat favor and get out – because it’s not just about you. It means you don’t share the vision. Maybe you really never did.