Startups are both an art and a craft. They are utilitarian and beautifully creative.
As with homeopathy, there’s no recognizable science there. It’s more alchemy than algorithm. The magic that surrounds them is hard to describe to someone who has always worked for big companies. Their inner beauty is part of their charm.
The formula for startup success is elusive, but their enchanted presence in the world of spreadsheets and forecasts and predictive modeling makes them incredibly seductive.
People often ask why I work for startups. The simple answer is this: they’re a lot of fun, and they’re also a natural next step in the evolution of a career.
Every candidate, every artist or inventor, every mom with a dream is a familiar archetype for me, but all clients have their own circumstances and challenges. It takes skill and experience to be able to see around corners on their behalf, and patience and persistence to help them stay on course, even when the ride is rough.
It’s a privilege to work with people who just don’t understand the word “no”–who have commitment, courage and passion in the extreme. I may be the wind beneath their wings, but they are the ones putting themselves out there, completely vulnerable, saying “this is my idea and I’m going to make it work.”
As an on-camera reporter for CNN in Korea, I felt exposed and terrified for the first time in my career. I was confident in my reporting but having my name and my own words sent around the world (sometimes live) was an overwhelming responsibility. I just wanted to run and hide after we shot the standups. I prayed that I hadn’t said anything stupid, and although my cameraman spoke English he wasn’t always listening carefully while we were rolling. Everybody needs a producer, or an editor, or a TV wingman.
And I’m very comfortable digging the hole and and laying the foundation and the first few floors so others can build the skyscraper.
Startups are little factories of hope. They are launched by dreamers and ignited by doers who dare to take a leap of faith with them. And when you take a leap the net doesn’t always appear, at least not in a way that is obvious.
But if you understand and believe that the net exists within you, all you have to do is check it from time to time, and keep your inner eyes open.
Every entrepreneur knows that.