What is a Startup?

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

                                  Image

Startups are the talk of the town. The buzz around is about working in a Startup or new startups emerging daily from one or the other sectors. It’s not only confined to technology but also in areas like agriculture, social, food and entertainment etc. The word Startup has become fancy and attracts user’s attention when it is talked about. Gone are the days when people used to dream of working in established companies like Microsoft, Google etc. The trend has slowly moved from working for Bill Gates to working towards becoming Bill Gates. That brings us to the question, what exactly is a startup? Is there any way of defining it?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion. The other ways of defining it can be the act or fact of starting something. Paul Graham, in his article says “Startup is a company designed to grow fast. So Startup = Growth”. This is true in a way. Once you start something anew the only thing that can happen is growth, as you would have started from rock bottom! Most of us get the image of “two guys working in a garage”, or the idea of Steve Jobs and Steve Woznaik walking barefoot and shaggy or may be scenes from “The Social Network” where Mark Zuckerberg was showed coding to create an intense social network.

But these cinematic impressions are not always correct. True, they showcase the pioneers of modern technology, but not often do such miracles occur. Before jumping into what is a startup, let us eliminate the misconceptions about startups. Startups are not only technology oriented companies, startups are not small companies. A Startup should not be defined in terms of the age of the company. Hey, you are just 5 months old, you are a startup. Hey you are already 5 years old, we cannot consider you as a startup. No, that is not what a startup is.

Startup is a culture. Startup is an experience Entrepreneurs feel when they are with their team. The culture followed inside the organization defines the type of organization. There is openness among the employees. Everyone is trusted and every discussion happens in consultation with all involved. Everyone works as a team for the betterment of the company. Closed door chambers are out of fashion and even leaders sit among their employees and work. There is chaos, there is disorder, there is confusion but there is a hell of a lot of fun. When the CEO himself shares a joke with you over a cup of coffee, when your mentor shakes a leg with you on Friday parties and throws a beer can at you, you feel at home. You feel you are working for yourself and not for the company. When such a sense of ownership is attained, wonders happen. Startup companies make everyone around them feel like entrepreneurs. Everyone’s views are heard and unanimous decisions are taken. It’s the atmosphere inside the company that stands out from others. People play, people cook, people chat and also work equally hard. When your work becomes your love, then you don’t work, you actually party.

So even if a 5 year old company follows an open and free culture, it is startup and if a 5 month old company has stringent rules and disciplines to be followed, it goes out of the startups list. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Do not become a dull Jack, be the Jack of all trades.

Work hard, Party harder.

Advertisements

Image

It’s my fate that I married a postman. We are poor and moreover I get to see my husband’s face only in the morning and at night like television soap. You never have time for me. I was happy at my parents place only”, my wife was shouting from behind as I slowly removed my bicycle from the shed. I was listening to her as I hit the seat and meekly observed the dust rise from the seat and particles slowly disappear in the air. I was just like those dust particles that always mingle into the crowd lazily and no one ever cares about their existence. I am not an educated man so I cannot make out any scientific observations with the dust particles. I always relate myself to those dust particles and somehow find solace that there is something out there which is just like me.“Now what are you staring at in the air. At least go early so that you can come back soon”. I heard my wife’s words and then slowly started pedaling the bicycle. As I moved across the small huts, small kids came behind me and held the carrier and ran .

This was my usual morning routine. Meet me, my name is Guru. I am a poor postman whose day starts at six in the morning by listening to wife’s scolding. I live in a small slum area  or settlement area as the rich would call it. The only thing I own is my old bicycle which I do not remember when and from where I had got it. I remember nothing of my childhood as I am an orphan. I do not have any children either and this is one of the many reasons for my wife’s frustration. She does household chores in some of the bigger houses and kills time. She always complains that I don’t have any time for her. When a person can’t spare time for himself and is completely lost in the battle for survival, how can he argue with his wife? I remember in my whole married life, only once I have taken her for a movie. Some other woman had told her that a new movie is being aired in the nearby theatre and its name is Guru. I had a hard time telling her it was not about me and. So I gave up and had taken her there. I had to search in every nook and corner of all my pockets for money and somehow managed to buy two tickets.

As I slowly move along the road on my bicycle towards the post office, I pass by “The Chopras”. It is one of the houses I have always fascinated about. It has a beautiful rose garden in front of it with almost all colors of roses blossoming with fresh smell in the morning. Looking at those roses, I always used to forget the whole world. It was as if the rainbow had fallen from the sky into The Chopras residence. Daily before going to post office I used to stand by the road and keep staring at that garden. I used to dream of seeing the house. I used to see myself in the garden, watering the plants. I used to think how cruel God is. What wrong have I done to him that he is punishing me in this way. Then I used to see myself plucking a fresh red rose and smelling its nectar. Whenever I saw my wife in that garden with a tray of biscuits and a cup of hot coffee, I would come to terms with reality. Men always come to their senses whenever they see their own wife in dreams, don’t they !

Once again I patted my cycle seat and this time without caring for the dust particles I went along. As I pedaled with all my strength, my mind was romancing with that rose garden. How beautiful it is to see such a garden as soon as you wake up in the morning. How refreshing it is to smell those heavenly flowers. How tasty the coffee would be drinking in the middle of those flowers. I always used to get these thoughts. I wanted to see or go inside that once and smell those roses. I never had got that opportunity to deliver any letter to that house. I have heard that these days people send letters through machines, though I have never seen any machine delivering mails. Every morning I used to search from my bag of letters if I had any of them for The Chopras, but in vain. Having spending my life in poverty, I had come to a conclusion that if anything that makes us happy, it’s MONEY. For me, money was everything though I had nothing. I always used to think, if I had a house like The Chopras, I would be the happiest man on the earth and my wife will never ever complain about anything. I used to think that Mr. Chopra is one lucky man and he is the most satisfied person. So my formula was simple, Money=Honey.

Everyone in the post office knew my fascination about that House with the Rose Garden. They used to make fun of me and even sometimes had asked me apply for the watchman’s job in that house. Thinking about that rose garden I climbed up the office stairs. I looked up once and saw the board with newly painted letters, Post Office. I had the mixed feelings of both pride and guilt. I always used to take pride in my work earlier. But having fought against poverty all through my life, I had neither pride nor strength left in me. As I entered the office, I saw a different atmosphere altogether. My colleagues were smiling at me. I had no clue what was going on. Was that just a Good morning gesture or a genuine smile with happiness? I was surprised . Leaving all thoughts behind I hurried inside the office to get my share of letters. I nearly jumped back when I saw a letter. It was addressed to The Chopras. Then I realized why everyone was smiling at me. My friend came behind me and tapped my shoulder. So finally you are going inside your heaven today, he said. I just smiled like a baby and kept reading that address again and again.

I jumped out of the office and rode my bicycle like never before. Just the thought of entering the rose garden had filled my body with so much life and energy that I was competing with the motorcycles on the road.  I am going to enter the rose-garden house. I am going to see the real happy person. Thoughts were pouring in my mind as I approached the house. I slowly opened the gate and peeped in. The aroma of the roses welcomed me. I was still in a state of excitement + shock + happiness . As I walked along the garden, I saw a small tent like house at the end of the garden. I could hear some voices from the tent and thinking it might be the watchman’s house, I went forward. It was a dream come true for me. I went in the garden and stood in between the roses and closed my eyes. I could see the rainbow under my feet and a cloudy sky above. I put my hand on the bush and walked around the roses. Only when my wife didn’t turn up with the coffee did I come back to my senses. I had to deliver the letter. Let me ring the bell, I thought . As I was about to keep my forefinger on the door bell and apply the pressure to ring it, I heard some voices from inside. It was a female voice, probably Mrs.Chopra talking to her husband.

You always think about money. You never have time for me. It is always a status that matters to you. I am bored sitting at home the whole day and doing nothing. You go out early in the morning and come back only at night. I was happy at my parents place itself.

I was totally confused. I just dropped the letter at the doorstep and walked away. Numerous thoughts were fighting in my mind. Was I wrong till now, was my theory of money=honey wrong ? He was supposed to be the happiest person. He has money and a big house with the rose garden. He has everything in his life and his wife is still angry with him. My mind was gaining weight with all new thoughts taking birth and fighting with the older ones. As I walked towards the gate, I passed by the watchman’s house. I could hear another female voice from inside.

I am so happy here. We understand each other perfectly and we are always together. You are really a sweet husband and you always have time for me. Look at the memsaab, she is shouting at him again. I feel pity for her. He never spends time with her , let alone quality time.

The clouds above slowly started drifting and it became clear now. I still had some undelivered mails but my legs pedaled towards my house.