As an entrepreneur I have a short list of favourite "business" films. One that you absolutely must see is 'Glengarry Glen Ross'. The film covers two days in the life of a bunch of "loser" real-estate salesmen. The cast is impressive for such an unpromising subject: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, and more. The salesmen are deplorable characters one and all, and yet it gets under your skin, and helps you get into "sales" mode.
When you found a startup, you learn that you need to develop the skill of getting inside people's heads.
The best founders, in general, have a great deal of empathy. That might seem like a strange thing to say - the cliche of the ruthless startup CEO hiring and firing, and making tough decisions, is very strong in popular culture.
This is the diary of a technology startup, but I have been remiss in not discussing technology for the last few weeks. What has been happening on the software front since our soft-launch in March?
The question of how to get your software built is a very pressing one for many startups. I'm a technical adviser to a number of Dublin-based startups and this really is one of the biggest challenges that they face. It also comes up in many casual conversations that I have with other founders.
LET'S take our startup diary back to practical day-to-day matters. In the last two articles we got quite theoretical and focused on the fundamentals of our competitive strategy. Let's take a look now at some of the tactics that we are using to make this strategy happen. What are the core activities that the voxgig team is spending time on?
I talk to a lot of startups and I always ask a few key questions pretty early on in the discussion. One of them is "what makes you different?"
A startup needs to be different to achieve scale. You can't find hyper-growth (which is the whole point of a startup), if you don't have some angle.
There are many good, solid, businesses that don't need an angle. They just need good execution. To take an example from one of my past lives: IT consultancy.
When I began this startup diary, I explained that it was a place to make and explain decisions, and follow up on the consequences of those decisions. A good example is the decision to go fully remote-working. This strategy is a response to our location in Waterford, and neatly solves the difficulty of hiring with a small local population.
When you found a business, you become overloaded with choices. Choices are everywhere. If you desire to start your own business so that you can be your own boss, I would say, "be careful what you wish for". Most of the time, there are no right answers, and you're literally just guessing and hoping for the best. Anyone who claims otherwise is a lucky fool, and should look up the Wikipedia article on "regression toward the mean" - luck goes up and down in equal measure.