Should You Start A Startup? | Startup School

Should You Start A Startup? | Startup School

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Haje Jan Kamps discusses whether you should start a startup.
  • He addresses those uncertain about founding a startup presently but considering it for the future.
  • The talk covers identifying if you're suited for startup life and how to prepare for it.

How to decide whether to be a startup founder (00:00:48) & Resilience is the most important quality (00:02:42)

  • There's no simple test to determine if one should be a founder.
  • Success in academia or established work doesn't guarantee startup success.
  • Startup founders face personal rejection and need resilience to push through.
  • Confidence is not an accurate measure of a founder's resilience.
  • Resilience is more important for startups than confidence or stereotypical founder traits.

Founder of Benchling (S12) (00:03:35)

  • Sajith Wickramasekara, a benchling founder, grew into a strong CEO despite initial doubts.
  • Benchling faced early fundraising and revenue challenges but eventually succeeded.
  • This underscores the importance of resilience in a startup's journey.

Startup resilience - Initial motivation isn't important (00:05:11)

  • The right motivation is not crucial for founder resilience.
  • Initial reasons for starting a company can evolve over time.
  • Enduring motivations include a genuine interest in the problem and the team.

As a curious founder ask "What do I have to lose"? (00:07:04)

  • Consider the worst-case scenario and whether you can tolerate it before starting a startup.
  • The decision to start differs for each individual based on what they may lose.
  • Startups provide valuable learning experiences across various work types.

Startup experience can improve your career opportunities (00:09:10)

  • Startup experiences are sought after by employers for demonstrating initiative.
  • Former startup founders often lead projects or product divisions in other companies.
  • Startup experience can lead to significant career advancements and opportunities.

Getting ready to start a startup in the future (00:10:50)

  • To prepare for starting a company, focus on finding both an idea and a co-founder.
  • Ideas tend to start vague and require conversations and iterations to develop.
  • Engage with people you enjoy discussing ideas with, as these might become your co-founders.
  • Seek out those you respect intellectually, either from academic settings or the workplace.
  • Foster a habit of conversing about interesting ideas, technologies, frustrations, and daily products.
  • In between these discussions, invest time in reading and researching appealing topics.
  • If you lack people to converse with about ideas, consider changing environments to meet new, like-minded individuals.

Best environment is working at a startup (00:12:52)

  • Being around potential co-founders is crucial, and working at a startup provides an ideal environment.
  • Startups offer insight into operations and are filled with less risk-averse individuals than large corporations.
  • If still in school, aim to work for a startup post-graduation; if currently at a major tech firm, consider joining a startup midway.
  • Experiment by turning conversations into side projects to practice idea realization.
  • Upon ideation, plan and attempt to create a basic version of the concept.
  • Either learn programming skills to build a product or find a co-founder who can.
  • Start small, with the goal of growing accustomed to launching ideas into tangible projects.

When to take the leap and start a company? (00:14:28)

  • The decision to start a company doesn't always follow from side project success.
  • Evaluate your side project based on passionate user feedback rather than just user numbers.
  • A few genuinely enthusiastic users can be more valuable than many indifferent ones.
  • Focus on the enjoyment and learning derived from the process of creating and launching ideas.
  • If you feel more energized by side projects than by your job, it might be time to pursue your own venture.
  • Working well with collaborators on side projects can be an indicator to start a company with them.
  • The eagerness and compatibility of a great co-founder is a significant reason to leave a job and start a new venture.

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