Why people start startups.

By : Shabda Raaj

In the glorious tradition of the internet, where we generalize from way too little data, I am going to tell you exactly why people start startups. Of course, I have no experience, on why people make this trade of security for adventure, apart from my own, and a few other very early stage startups. So yes, this is a personal story. This is why I, and everyone I know started a startup.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Paul Graham's influential essay, Why to not not start a startup, tells why starting a start up is a decision which is a rational, and a logically sound decision. And of course, Marc Anderson tells the reasons for not doing a startup. As does Matt Marron.

Today is exactly three months, since I left my job. When I started, I did not know what I wanted to build. After three months , finding a co-founder, losing a co-founder, talking to a number of very early stage startups, I can tell why every one who starts a startup does so for exactly one reason. Without further ado that reason is,

You would rather be doing this than any other thing, and unless you do this you will be depressed, sad, possibly suicidal until you do this.

Everyone tries to minimize the risks and uncertainties in their life. We would rather take a 90% chance of having a million dollar, compared to to say 2% chance of 100 million dollars, even though the probability adjusted value of 2% * 100mil is larger. So even if logical analysis of probabilities tells you that a startup is a good decision, unless you can ask "Would I be rather doing this, no matter what the odds", and answer YES, chances are you are not going to start a startup.

The reasons for "Would I be rather doing this, no matter what the odds", are different for everyone. Might be you want to see a change in the world, and you do not see any one else doing this. Might be you consider yourself the most persistent, the most hardest working, or the smartest person, and wonder if Bill Gates can make 53 Billion dollars, why can't you. If you "would rather be doing this, no matter the odds", you are going to start a startup someday, whether you want to or not. No amount of persuasion, or dissuading can change that. You can run but you can not hide.

Why I would rather be doing this ....

India has a few great Software services companies, but not one great Software Product company. I want to start a world class product company in India. This is a small start, but then "The First 20 Million Dollars Is Always the Hardest".

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