“When I started this company I was empowered with nothing more than the clothes on my back, a sandwich and a great idea.” That seems to be the prelude of any great company that is worth anything, except Facebook; Facebook was stolen. All successful businessmen seemed to have spent the time in their companies forging through fires and rising from having absolutely nothing to having billions. Trading stocks on footsoldier salaries was a thing seen as common place, and opening a company was only for the brave at heart.
Now, however, it seems that all you need to do to start a company is master the art of the elevator pitch. In fact we have people known as “serial entrepreneurs” who basically keep on starting companies until one works, and turns some sort of profit. How? You ask? Why venture capital of course.
You see, it’s very simple. As opposed to starting a company from the ground up and fighting for it to grow we find ourselves faced with a crop of entrepreneurs who immediately want to make money off their idea. So what do they do? They approach a VC fund and, with a little charm and a great pitch, bag themselves a couple thousand dollars to run a company for a certain period of time after which they are sure, the company will break into profitability and everyone will be rich. Rich, I tell you, stinking rich! *insert evil laugh*
But that doesn’t always work.
So they start another company. Different story, different idea and this time they must have learned from their previous errors. Not to mention that they are still charming individuals capable of a great pitch, so they end up getting funding for another company. Repeat process ad infinitum. Until one idea finally works; or they die.
And this, I believe, may be killing the guts and gory entrepreneur that we all come to know and hate. The ruthless cut throat businessman that was the pinnacle of the industrial age has been replaced by a softer entrepreneur. The kind who will shy away when faced by adversity. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still a couple of gutsy businessmen out there who take the proverbial bull by its cyanide laced horns; but they seem to be fewer and far between. They have been replaced by young twenty something year olds who have started more companies than they have had birthdays.
And the funds don’t care.
The law of averages is pretty clear. If you sat ten monkeys at typewriters, and asked them to type out random words in ten minutes you’d have fifty shades of grey. The funds work on the same principle. If they fund 100 ideas for a couple of thousand of bucks eventually one idea will make a couple of million of bucks. This will cover their losses on the other 99 and give reason to ask for funding for another hundred companies. And so forth until the Sillicon Savannah is more like a dump for failed companies.
The worst part about all this is that we end up having companies that are led by individuals who have no particular passion for the company, no vision and/or motive. These leaders are like dexter – the cartoon – who would quickly make a latest, greatest invention only to discard of them when they find a new place to take their spanner. Leaders, and, in effect – companies- that are reflective of the collective bleurgh that society seems to have degraded into as a whole. But take heart, someone will start a company to cure that too.