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If the Shoe Fits: The Real World

by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here  

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mYet again, the startup world is changing.

I’ve watched it morph many times over the last 30 years, but what I find different this time is what I can only call entrepreneurial stupidity—a combination of arrogance, myopia and ignorance.

I don’t think it’s too widespread, but when you come head-to-head with it it tends to bring you up short.

“Jaime,” an entrepreneur with whom I, who has a B2B subscription startup, attended an event that had entrepreneurs presenting to investors.

He was highly offended because one of the presenters was looking for investment to start a winery.

Jaime said that a winery was a business, not a startup, nor was it scalable; when I disagreed he quoted Steve Blank to me, “a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”

First of all, in the post, Steve says, this is “a new definition of why startups exist” and as to the scalable part, someone had better tell Naked Wines and its portfolio of startup wineries that they aren’t scalable.

It reminded me of a young woman I spoke with in 2000 when I was still a headhunter.

We were talking about startups and I said something to the effect that I’d been working with startups since the Seventies; she disgustedly informed me that startups were a function of the Internet.

I guess someone forgot to tell Hewlett and Packard, Steve Jobs and dozens of others, and, more recently, Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, the two guys who started $100 million, 100 employee Method cleaning products,  that their companies weren’t startups.

The lesson here is that while some startups may go where no person has gone before, most will leverage the existing adding tweaks and new twists to add value.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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