Getting to "yes" in a world of "no"…


out of flotsam, while swimming alone in the middle of a vast ocean. By the way, it’s cold out there, really cold.

So, how are you going to do it? Well… government grants are leaky lifebelts that help keep you afloat (but only for a short while). Oh, I should mention that to get them, you have to swim 50 miles and back, leaving your part-constructed boat behind you to sink ignominiously beneath the waves. EU grants are the same, except that you need to swim 1000 miles while also collaborating with people building their own sinking boats in different countries. then you’ll probably be turned down anyway.

You’re not swimming completely alone out there, though. Business angels enjoy motoring past in their speedboats to see how your funny little tech construction project is going. Even so, they rarely bring along anything of use with them: most are content to have a chat with you over a cup of (salt watery) tea, and to share their reminiscences about how difficult they found it to build their own first boat way back when (at a time when, curiously enough, banks were happy to lend to boat-builders). Then off they motor, leaving you freezing in the water, scavenging nails to fix passing planks together.

Occasionally a VC cruise liner will sashay past you, sending bloggy ripples that confuse and annoy. Their captains wave, but never actually stop: though you can see all the waste food being chucked over the side, seagulls get it all before you can reach it. And although it’s sometimes nice to dream about building your boat in a shipyard (the way that VCs claim to do), sadly that’s not an option for you either.

Coaches tell you how to dive deeper to find the nails you need: while mentors tell you which planks they’d choose to build with. But even with all their “help”, your best case startup scenario will almost always be a leaking,hacked-together contraption that is barely sound enough to keep itself afloat, never mind keep you afloat as well.

Errr…. do you still want to be an entrepreneur?

* * * * * * * * * *

OK, I completely accept that all human endeavour is, to a very large degree, no more than an attempt to create small bubbles of order in a vast ocean of entropy and doubt: and that in those terms, starting up a company is no different to any other exercise. But all the same, what is the sense of having such a complicated network of non-funding funders, inept financial gatekeepers and pointless service providers when so few young tech companies ever manage to start up both successfully and scalably?

Has nobody actually noticed how unbelievably cold it is out there? Even if you are an experienced ice diver, you may not arrive in port…

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