A few weeks back industry stalwart Steve Austin was broadcasting live on ABC radio from the Precinct in Brisbane, and he asked an interesting open question:
“Why is this startup industry so friendly? Everyone seems to be genuinely out to help each other; I don’t see that in many other places. ”
I couldn’t agree more.
There is a real sense that we are all working together. I don’t think I’ve ever had a five-minute chat with a founder where they didn’t try to introduce me to someone else who I might be able to help or who could help me. Today while lamenting (ranting) about the state of politics (which is anything but collaborative) I realised the difference.
In the Startup world, we’re playing in an infinite environment. Anything is possible. We’re looking to advance the human experience by removing barriers and creating new products. We’re making new value where nothing has previously existed. There is magic in a world of infinite potential, so why fight with each other? Let’s work together.
This contrasts dramatically with the world of politics. There is one Prime Minister (or President). One ruling party. One member in each seat. The winner takes all in this finite world. Of course, people won’t collaborate. It is a zero-sum game if someone wins then the other people have lost.
The battle for our industry is to make sure we keep seeing the infinite world and not let the rules of the finite business world infect us.
Let’s look at venture capital (VC). There is a growing trend to charge people money to gain access to venture capital. This is classic restrictive supply and is the polar opposite of collaboration.
In the ‘real’ startup’ world, Venture Capital is not finite.
Sure, to those used to a finite business world, you might argue that a fund only has $100million, and is, therefore, is a finite amount. It suggests a limit for the opportunity.
However, in our startup world, we know that another $100million will follow this first fund – if it delivers a fabulous return.
It is a world of endless possibilities, opportunities and growth. And it’s not magic. It can be our reality. Let’s seek opportunities, without being opportunistic to the point of boxing ourselves in.
So let’s cut activities like charging funders 4% for a VC introduction and stick to what we do best.
Let’s keep the opportunities rolling. Let’s keep the networking organic and true. And let’s make the introduction for free and continue to expand the infinite startup world.