I write these words from the car on my way to the hotel. I just landed in Prague for the weekend and as we walked through the airport, got to the plane, took off and landed, all I could think about was how much travel is like. entrepreneurship.
Timing isn’t just important, it’s everything.
During the pandemic, airlines expect you to come four hours before takeoff. Before Covid, the instructions were to arrive three hours before, but who really followed these instructions?
Well, it turns out that when there’s a global pandemic, you really have to follow the instructions.
I almost missed the flight as I arrived at the airport only two hours before the flight.
Building a startup is similar. You may have the best idea, and even execute it to perfection, but if the market isn’t ready for your product or alternatively, if the market is already oversaturated, then it might be time to pivot or re-enter. your house.
I can tell you that I personally had two startups that were very promising. Both were too early. Both failed.
The amount of moving parts is overwhelming.
I was wondering why airports make me anxious. Then it occurred to me that the reason is that there are so many moving parts.
So many documents, especially during Covid, and it’s so easy for something to go wrong.
The same is true for startups. A successful entrepreneur has such a long and windy journey that the number of things that can go wrong is pretty endless.
This is one of the many reasons why such a large majority of startups fail.
One wrong turn and it’s game over.
If you travel and accidentally join the wrong line, you can easily sit there for hours only to find out you were wrong like this all along.
With startups, one bad investor, one lazy team member who doesn’t do enough research, one wrong choice, and the whole company can burn and crash.
You can plan all you want, but if you don’t get on the plane, it’s all worthless.
This is actually something I heard from my rabbi in reference to the holidays. You can plan and plan the vacation, like you can plan and plan a trip, but if you don’t get on the plane, well, all your planning was wasted.
When building a startup, you can do all the research you want, create the best investor deck possible, and even design your product to perfection, but if you don’t get started because you want everything to be perfect, you will never launch and all your preparation is for nothing.
Knowing the right people can definitely help.
Let’s be honest. We all know that person who hooks up at the airport and bypasses all the lines or gets an upgrade to business class.
It’s a bit like the tacit reality of startups. You must know people, preferably preppie in Silicon Valley. Do not mistake yourself. Businesses can of course be successful outside the Bay Area, but it certainly helps to be part of the cool kids club.
Attention short track.
This last point, which I like the best out of all the points above, is something my friend told me. We came here to Prague with him and while I was writing this article Mayer told me that the trail is key.
Many startups raise capital and spend it like it’s nobody’s business. Too many entrepreneurs wake up pretty much off track.
An airplane needs a long runway to take off. A startup also needs enough runway to get off the ground.
Like international travel, startups need to keep an eye on the destination and enjoy the journey.