Running a startup is a like running on a manual treadmill

Agreed, it’s not a great analogy but it fits logically! And I am a student of mechanical engineering, motors and rollers is what I could think of when I was thinking about an analogy!

Startups are like manual treadmills and entrepreneurs are the ones running on them, while on the other hand, people with a regular job are jogging on the ones with motors.

The basic argument I want to make is that an entrepreneur has to create not only the solution to the problem he is trying to solve but also a support system, to make him work for it. Whereas a regular guy in a regular job can be laid back because there will be a manager to make him work. Likewise, in a manual treadmill, you are your own motor, if you stop running – you stop running for real but in the case of a motorized treadmill, you just follow the speed set by the motor.

Let me put forward one more thing, whenever I mention the word “entrepreneur” – you shouldn’t just picture a code junkie sitting in a small room and smashing his keyboard all night long.. Any intrinsically motivated person who is putting efforts on his projects and is working towards a solution to a problem that can make his or someone else’s life better is an entrepreneur.

So, yes if you are thinking about working on a problem that is troubling you, starting a new venture or even starting a new project in your company, be ready to be your support system. There ain’t a motor that will keep you running on the days when you don’t feel running and those days will be coming, no matter what your project is! How you motivate yourself is a different story, but chances are what motivates you today might not in future, so be ready for that as well.

To add to the complexity of this game, let’s add more people to your treadmill, in the beginning, they all decided to run together on a manual treadmill but with time.. some might be running at a slower pace than yours. This is how entrepreneurship is in real life, the unsexy side that people don’t see. This happens not just with startup founders but with projects managers in small/big companies as well. A lot of times, it is not just the motivation level of team members that’s slowing them down, so you have to figure that out as well, subtly…. I must add.

Jason Evanish from KissMetrics replied to one of my tweets a while ago which fits perfectly here. It has been in my mind ever since and is really one of the best piece of advice I’ve received so far on twitter.

I am yet to figure out a good solution but yes, i’ve now experienced the problem, so I am sharing it! If you too have dealt with this in past, I’ll be happy to learn from your comments.

Building Entrepreneurial Society

I am quoting John Naisbitt, the famous author on future studies; who said

In a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn.

The guy is recipient of 17 honorary doctorates in the humanities, technology and science, you might want to give that quote another read, go on… I’ll wait…

Today’s age is the age of information, and this information is not only being created at every possible place on earth, it is being shared and exchanged at a much greater level. To put this into perspective, there was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing. If you expect to make sales in this entrepreneurial environment in today’s age you must consult important resources like salesforce.  This fact clearly points out the need of the society today has risen from eradicating poverty and hunger to a much larger scale of managing the information we already have and optimizing its use to have the best solutions to the ever-growing needs of the people. The only way to deal with this is to have hubs where innovative people can create products and services in a way that haven’t been done before.

Entrepreneurial Innovation is the key to a better future. It has been proved several times over that now it is impossible to work without mutual cooperation in this globalized economy. When all the major currencies in the world are inter-locked with each other, gain/loss in any area of the world impacts others as well. Thus, all the arguments support a common cause; interconnected global entrepreneurial societies are our best bet for a better future. There are several examples of such societies doing good work, be it the Singularity University operating from the NASA center, or be it the Kairos Society, where I am a fellow, are operating to connect young entrepreneurial leaders towards a world sans boundaries.

As the initial capital-driven Solow model and the more recent knowledge-driven Romer model have not delivered the expected levels of economic performance by themselves, a mandate for entrepreneurship policy has emerged and begun to diffuse throughout the entire globe. It is upon this new mantel of entrepreneurial society that locations, ranging from communities to cities, states and even entire nations, hang their hopes, dreams and aspirations for prosperity and security. I certainly am interested in working towards the cause to the best of my efforts.