Batista R. Harahap

A Pack of Startups

What is the connection of a pack of cigarrettes with startups? Well I haven't figured it out completely, might as well write my way until I found some special formula or maybe not, who knows? I am gonna enjoy writing this, hopefully this writing will also keep you entertained.

Before anything else, please digest the writings here with a pinch of salt, some lemons and a shot of your favorite Tequila if available :p So this all began when I found myself addicted to 2 things which are cigarrettes and startups. Hey what do you know, that's the first connection.

For every addiction, until a certain level it's always good to have. What happens when that "just enough" dose of addiction is slightly over than how it's always has been? One thing for sure, too many cigarrettes will be bad for your health, no questions asked. The thing with startups, is enough really enough? What kind of risks and health threats can actually erase any questions from our minds?

To dig deeper, I feel I must dissect the very basic principle of a startup. As simple as 1 2 3, a founder with an idea or two is enough. Okay it might be a bit selfish and a little bit ego-maniac, yet it's true. No man's an island. Is it? Think again, when it's supposed to be a collective effort and yet it isn't. With high profile startups like Facebook or even dear Apple relying only on 1 genius respectfully, they proved all the theories wrongful.

That's just the thing, there are no theories that can be applied generally and match any startup. The web is one of the most dynamic business ever invented. With Twitter, a sub-second latency is the difference between knowing whoever it is you're following updates. The resolution for information to flow to the mass is getting microscopic these days. So how do you cope general theories to a business that is vibrant and full of changes?

A simple answer, USERS. It's funny that other than the IT world, drug addicts call their "customers" users. What drives a startup is its users, their most valuable asset of a startup from my point of view. Their behaviors is an opportunity full of knowledge to understand.

The second answer is the PRODUCT. Now this is yet another chicken & egg circle of infinity. I put the product as second best because I truly feel that before anything else, the product itself must be able to cope with its users wants and needs right from the start. This is not about thinking through every single aspect of thoughts about future users, NO! This is about creating a product able to do that by design. We are just humans, our minds are limited to our own knowledge so make the best out of it, make our minds hungry for data.

To connect the last 2 paragraphs with the paragraph before, I vote for simple minds. Simple enough to be able to decide between that irrefutable binary truth of 0 or 1. I will accept arguments that there is no such thing as black and white decisions whereas grey areas are better suited for some cases. My argument is about your very own identity. How can you say yes or no both at the same time? Context is the better consideration right?

As a developer, I iterate everything loop by loop and so should the last paragraph. Context is not a reasoning for grey areas but instead is the reason behind every 0 or 1's. Throw an exception if you can't decide and let others catch them. After all, 2 minds are always better than one. Hiding weaknesses is not gonna do any good to anyone and especially to startups. Show weaknesses as a sign of strength, figure this out on your own because our mileage varies.

So I admit, running, building and nurturing a startup and everything in between is my addiction. It seems that the more problem it has, the more good to be done. It's like a pack of cigarettes and just like one, now there's only a few cigs left before I have to get another pack of cigs. I'm an A Mild person but I've fallen in love with Marlboros before, don't know, what's yours? Sharing is love ;)

To wrap things up, whatever addiction you have either you want to admit it or not is always good at some level, overdose on it and it'll kill you. Might as well enjoy the varieties lol.

22 February 2011 by Batista Harahap on addiction | cigarettes | gibberish | products | startups | users
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