Why start a startup

I had a chance to watch Sinek’s Ted talk some time earlier and i have been trying to find an answer or should I say a rationally arguable reason. Given the case that ‘Why’ is the question that should inspire action, the thought of why would someone leave all the opportunities and go start a venture where the only beginning goal is survival seemed odd in the least.

May be it is money. I’d be lying if I said no. I’d like some cash around now wouldn’t I. But is it ‘The’ factor for which i will start a startup? may be not. However the question i really asked myself while thinking about it was do i really want money? will the purpose behind all the hard work would be materialistic accumulation or will it really stand for something.

As PG puts it, there is a difference between money and wealth and I see that a lot of us are confused in between. Money is just a intermediate process to exchange wealth.

Wealth is the fundamental thing. Wealth is stuff we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. You can have wealth without having money. If you had a magic machine that could on command make you a car or cook you dinner or do your laundry, or do anything else you wanted, you wouldn’t need money. Whereas if you were in the middle of Antarctica, where there is nothing to buy, it wouldn’t matter how much money you had.

Wealth may be a big factor in starting up, but it can’t be the only factor, it should be a result, not the purpose. For me, the biggest reason for not joining a big company is Quality of work, not the work that they deliver but the work that i would do for them. Large companies exist, which means they must be making something that people want, but in the context, it is something that the whole of there people deliver, so the final wealth created by the company is the mean of effort by it’s employees, which works well for the company which exists to maximise the profit of it’s stakeholders, but it sucks for the employee.

When i say it sucks for me being in that position, i mean it doesn’t align with the plans that I have. Let’s say I plan to retire at 40, which would mean that i will have to work double of what i normally will to save enough or to make enough to survive the latter, but it would be absurd to ask the employer to pay me ten times more for my ten times more effort. For the sake of argument let’s believe that the company will pay me as much as the effort I put in, even than it wouldn’t be possible, Corporations don’t function that way, there is a certain chain of command, people that you report to, review processes, bureaucracy. so even if you as developer make an excellent product, the company wouldn’t be able to pay you if the salesmen failed their job.

Secondly, for me being a developer, there is no absolute measurement that you could apply to judge my effort or results, just like you can reward a salesman for the sales, you cannot reward developer based on raw metrics.


However, if you analyse the anatomy of a startup, They are generally innovative, people involved are really excited about there work, Since they are on a low scale, even small things get noticed, there is hardly any bureaucracy and since the major area is technology, there is a potential for high growth and high returns. There is a higher probability for this because the efforts of the individuals aren’t averaged out by the lack of there contemporaries and most importantly, they are in more direct contact with the outside world to realise if they are creating wealth or not and since survival is at stake to begin with they have got no other option but to perform.

This is the reason why i really like startups and maybe why i will start a startup. First they are meaningful, in the sense that they create something that people want, so they succeed fast and fail more faster.

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” -Tom Kelley, Ideo partner

Inspired by Paul Graham’s Essay : How to Make Wealth


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