Monday, September 2, 2013

Experiments. Why my company is a 9 year old startup

I was once told by a fellow tech entrepreneur that I had no business acumen. Of course I didn't take him very seriously but looking back a few years he was probably right. I can trace this back to the motivations for getting into business. The gist of it is as follows: a few years ago I looked around and could not find the company that best matched my interests I knew I enjoyed teaching (I taught at a high school for almost three years and also at a technology training company), but I also loved to program and tinker with computers. I once told a potential employer that I needed to be always learning new things. Since I was unable to find that single place that allowed me to combine my passions I created that place. So far I've learnt a lot running a company, and perhaps my biggest and most recent lesson is that we are a nine-year-old startup.

I'm personally quite pleased that I discovered these ideas in 2011 which are now categorized as part of the Lean Startup Movement. One of our recent Tutorate participants observed that they don't teach the lean approach to business model creation in his MBA programme. The sad truth is, even though the methodologies, though not fully codified at the time, have been around in some form since 2005, they aren’t covered by the programmes of traditional business schools (I know that Stanford is an exception).  The good news is that we're approaching a tipping point, the concepts have now been featured on CNN and BBC and most notably in an article from the May 13, 2013 edition of the Harvard Business Review.

In a nutshell, if you don't have a sustainable business model then you're a startup. Startups should stop pretending that they have a stable business and instead spend their time actively searching for a business model. In contrast to a startup, an established business spends their time executing on their business model. The concepts can be applied to departments within an organization and new initiatives within established businesses. When I call my company a nine-year-old startup it means we’re still working out aspects of our business model and we’re using a systematic methodology to get us there. This is what we will be covering in Tutorate’s upcoming session this September called the Business Model Creation Primer.

(the photo in this post came from

No comments:

Post a Comment