What is a Startup?

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
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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.


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