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November 16, 2018

Startup Founder Illusion

My Dream Castle
I have had conversations in the past to head the tech functions of a fledgling startup by its founders. Being part of a startup journey is a roller coaster ride, only when the basics are set right. But when even the basics aren't right, it is a definitive path to disaster, to potentially all the stakeholders involved.

I present below a distilled conversation between me and my potential co-founders, whose offers I have had politely declined in the past or had asked to revisit his/her vision for me to join on board.

Note: I present this not to brag my superiority in any way but to share my thoughts on what I think would benefit anyone in my position in evaluating such an opportunity/challenge. On the flip-side, it should also be helpful to the founders to do a re-think on their vision, if it is something like this, because it is a BIG RED FLAG to do too many things right from the word GO.


Startup Founder: Hi, we are looking badly for a CTO, interested?

Me: What is your business idea?

Startup Founder: We would solve this, this and all that.

Me: But for each of what you said you'll solve, there is already at least one startup backedup by atleast one VC that I can mention. Why are you doing all these at a time?

Startup Founder: That preciously is the point. I would promise to build all those on my own (one-stop-shop) so that my customer need not rely on those many service providers.

Me: I'm afraid you have trivialized the efforts and money that has gone into each of those endeavours by the startups and their investors. 
    I'm afraid you are wanting to do things big-bang with the deamon of death standing right in front of you.
    Even if you were to have as deep pockets as the Tatas/Mahindras/Ambanis, I would humbly suggest, you take things on -- one bite at a time. 
    It pays to focus your attention into solving one thing very well.

P.S: This story is also published in my Linked Feed.