So, you want to create a startup, well, sit down and let me explain how this works by telling you the story of Jane, a fictional startup founder created for this tutorial.
Finding your product
Jane could choose only one of the following ideas to pursue:
- A platform that uses AI to do something unspecified
- Food delivery by bike messenger platform
- Food delivery by bike messenger platform backed by blockchain
Every startup from 2020 onward needs to have either AI or blockchain, or else they’re obviously bound to fail.
Although she had other ideas, she heard that venture capitalists in her area were investing heavily in these sectors, so naturally, she decides to also pursue one of these sectors.
Investigate & learn
During the local “entrepreneur meetup”, where she meets unsuccessful wannapreneurs trying to get leads, someone tells her about all the books she should read before getting started with her own startup, the list includes “The Lean Startup” and “The 4 hour work-week”.
Jane is overwhelmed by so many books, so someone else suggests that she learns how to speed-read. She reads all the books in about 2 days, and due to the speed-reading she doesn’t actually learn or remember anything. But the dopamine released in the brain from simply reading the book is enough to feel like it was time well spent.
Someone told her she has to speak to people about her idea, so she asks everyone. Friends, family, co-workers, everyone!
After being very pumped up about the idea for 2 weeks, it becomes obvious that she needs to work full-time on this, so she quits her job.
She works a solid 12 hours per day on the idea for about a year, designs are made, she meets with VCs, and possible clients. All the clients want to shape the idea their own way, which means she has about 70 features needed for the MVP to satisfy all the clients.
Since the idea doesn’t solve an actual problem, she has to make a problem and then solve it. Possible clients are just confused, and to be nice give their own 2 cents.
She creates a logo, comes up with a name, and registers her idea — not legally a company yet — in the following websites:
And registered for the following events:
Jane has already registered as a speaker at some events, her presentation is called “Business tips for new entrepreneurs”.
Funding is running low and she needs to pay rent. She manages to get 500,000€ because she hooked up with someone at websummit in Lisbon.
To make it sound more legit she makes up a pitch deck from a template she found by googling “free pitch deck”. Then she just adds some blockchainy looking stuff and it’s like selling bread to ducks.
Building a company, office, and team
- Rent an overpriced open space office either in Lisbon or Berlin with no cement or paint on the walls
- Office must have a yoga room
- Hire 6 employees, buy them all macs & external screens
- Create a company culture based on getting wasted & hooking up with your co-workers, use this to justify paying them below market salaries
- Buy at least 1 ping pong table
The idea here is to make the least possible productive environment, all employees want to be able to focus, but Jane, being the CEO, having no idea how to code, design, or make anything, knows best what the people that code, design, and make things need to work effectively.
The work environment must be as bad as possible, to foster communication.
After working for about 1 year where nothing but bikeshedding was done, the first iteration is ready to be released.
After careful consideration, the team and CEO decided that the first launch should be a landing page with a newsletter signup form, to see if there is interest.
This was posted to reddit, hackernews, indiehackers, and other platforms. It got a total of 46 likes because Jane paid a social media company to get her some likes.
A grand total of 6 emails were collected, and it seems like there was no interest.
A post-mortem was posted on failory, and the reason for the failure was discovered as being that they posted it to reddit at the wrong time of day.