The scenario here is simple. You are a “bit” frustrated about your job and the future that it holds. You start talking to some of your friends and believe it or not, they are a “bit” frustrated about the same thing too. With these discussions, soon the frustration among all of you increases gradually as everyone is feeding some more “frustration” to everyone else. Until one fine day you or someone in the group proposes that rather than struggling with the job and being unhappy, you all should join hands and start a new company.
There is an overwhelming support from everyone else.
So, you begin your journey of entrepreneurship. Or you think you begin the journey anyway.
Over the last few years, I have met many such groups who are building a company in “stealth mode” and most often what has happened is that the groups get together in the evenings and weekends to build a “product” as a good product is the “foundation” of a company. When I dig deeper, I see some or all the following characteristics of the group
1. No real leadership: They are all equal, they say
2. No discussion of ownership: Again, sometimes they say that everyone is equal (which surprises me a lot) and sometimes they say that they will figure it out later. If pressed hard on the topic, the details can be scary as every team member thinks that they were the most “valuable” player in the group and obviously should get a lion’s share of the company.
3. No $$ investment: Everyone is putting in sweat equity. There is no money invested from anyone. So if the company goes down, all they have lost is the “time” that they put in. When I probe further on that they say that “time is like money”. That is true, only if they would have done something more “valuable” with the same time if they had not engaged in this activity.
4. Risk aversion: Everyone thinks someone else will jump into this full-time. When the time is right (meaning – when there is no risk anymore) they want to jump in.
5. No discussion on titles: Sometimes I have seen multiple people wanting to be the leaders and sometimes I have seen everyone wanting a CXO title. It is surprising and scary at the same time as most often, there are no individual qualifications (or accomplishments) to warrant those titles.
I can go on but the most important suspect in the above game is that the “configuration” to start a company is purely based on “friendship” and not on the merits of the individual team members.
Merry Christmas to all of you.