For a long time I’ve seen this happening. There seems to be two planes of existence in the start-up world. One is what I call the trenches. This is where most of my start-up friends live. They wake up in the morning, start coding, go to talk to customers, they try to get sales, they try to listen to users, they struggle to raise the next round, the even get deported. Then there is the cool kids plane. This is where all the trendy fashionistas exists. It’s a wonderful place where money is abundant, where five-year strategic plans are the norm and networking is king. This is a place where you meet with your buddies from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs or PwC and talk about your next lean start-up project. Of course, Eric Ries has several temples here, as Steve Blank.
In this plane life is buoyant, you just call your buddies from your Stanford MBA class and get together to do start-ups. Some inhabitants of such plane are, of course, the political super elite. We all know that depending on the country, there is no need to even have a degree, but who cares? You’ll still have a saying on how the trenches should be run. Actually, that’s the status quo of the cool kids plane, the shoulds, the musts, the maybes.
Meanwhile, life away from Valhalla isn’t so flamboyant. Entrepreneurs struggle to pay rents, they spend many months to raise peanut money from dubious investors, fight bureaucracy and try to move around the global market while fighting with their VISA, Homeland Security and EU retarded immigration policies. The trench inhabitants will pay double taxes, struggle to hire or fire people or will have to wait months to get payed by their B2B customers. People living in the trenches are happy people, despite their occasional rants, though.
The Valhalla uberlords are also happy, their new think tank has produced a fantastic report on the entrepreneurial state of affairs and the new networking event has 1000 people in attendance. They’re sure they’ll have plenty of start-ups, specially at their start-up on-stage competition where entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch to so many industry people. They’re hurt though that their top choices for the competition haven’t attended. They think it’s a fantastic opportunity to get exposure to all these dudes with investor stickers.
These two worlds of existence are normally quite detached, but as any druid will know, from time to time, the planets align and for one day every 100 years, both worlds exist at the same time. Sometimes magic happens and both worlds are enriched by their opposite plane of existence. Other times it breaks reality and alienates both inhabitants.
With time, I’m seeing more and more people living in the cool kids plane, and fewer people actually living the trenches. While this post is a fable, (or is it?), it isn’t very far fetched and I would love to push everyone to stay real, to work the trenches and touch reality of the everyday work many entrepreneurs go through and then bring those stories to Valhalla.
Have a nice day Odin!
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