“If you are looking for excuses to stop what you’ve started, you should know that it’s only your fault.”
David Heinemeier is a Danish entrepreneur who in 2004 helped transform 37signals from consultant agency to a product business. He wrote the first product of the company: Basecamp, an online tool for managing projects. The thing has gone so well that in 2006 Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, made a minority investment in the company.
Last June 27th David gave a little conference at Forum Impulsa, an event organized every year by FPdGi to put together junior and senior entrepreneurs under the idea “The time and place to lose your fear of becoming an entrepreneur”.
He explained how starting your idea from nothing is frustrating, demotivating, and it makes us to start looking for excuses why we should give up. There’s a great excuse right now: the crisis, the lack of opportunities that the economical situation has given us. That kind of excuses that give us a chance to think that, if we leave what we’ve started to work on, won’t be our fault. And regarding this point David is very categorical: “I think it’s always your fault.”
If we take a longer perspective than just the last two years, we will realize that our situation is much better than 20 years ago:
- Then you needed money too
- Nowadays, the Internet eliminates physical barriers: we can reach a larger market
- You don’t need to convince a journalist to write about you. Twenty years ago, if nobody did it, you failed: you had to show your pedegre
But, what’s happening nowadays? There’re no more qualified excuses any more. Today any body can start many products and services with no capital investment required. Ten years ago the monthly expenses David had to take on were $249: it was the cost to maintain the server. Where is then the rest of the investment? It’s an intangible: time. This is the most important thing, so you shouldn’t worry if you don’t have someone there to give you a lot of money.
There’re many things that can be started with no money at all, specially on software. As marketers say, “Software is eating the world.“
“The whole world is an addressable market now.”
David used the example of the Pebble to show how we don’t need any more the process that has been repeated until these days for any entrepreneur: first, build and develop your product; when you’ve it all done, show it to banks and investors to get funds to put it into the market. What did those with the Pebble do? They went straight to the consumer through Kickstarter.
“The only people that cares about the school you went to is people who is trying to evaluate you for somebody else. When you go directly to the people you’re trying to deliver value to you can skip all the around stuff.”
Also you don’t need to be on the HUB city. For example, David was in Copenhague when developing Ruby on Rails, an open source web application framework which runs on the Ruby programming language. It didn’t matter to have access to many of the best programmers in the world: he could connect with anybody he needed to connect with.
So you don’t have any excuses neither barriers any more. You don’t have any opportunity cost: that’s something good the economy context is giving us today. You don’t have to choose between a super well paid job and this: nowadays this is much more complicated to happen. So that, you have no choice: create something new.
Photo Credits: Chris Hedgate Paul Watson Ptufts