OPINION: It’s about the founders

I’m glad startup tech companies are getting some more attention but it’s a bit too ‘popular’ and we’ve lost a focus on what’s important. It’s not about the investors, accelerators, governments, mentors, universities, incubators, co-working spaces, service providers, industry groups or corporates. It’s about the founders.


Recently I’ve helped two groups start a new company. They wanted me involved but I found it very easy to take a much smaller part of the company next to the founders because I remember how hard it is. I remember the zero salary, long hours, high fear, selling like crazy, making it up as I go feeling. It’s hard. It’s awesome and I loved it then and in retrospect, but it’s hard.


There is good news. The cost of starting, building, marketing, measuring and growing a tech company has never been lower. It’s dirt cheap.


There is bad news. That’s not an unfair advantage for you, in fact it means another billion people are now in the game who previously had no access to capital at all (yeah, you think you’ve got it tough!).


So the reality is that it’s harder than ever to create a successful, sustainable, scalable technology business. It takes a co-founding team (it’s 10 times harder alone) to commit full-time, be passionate to get through the grind, be open, be stubborn, be positive, be brutally honest, do the tech, do the product, do the design, do the marketing, do the sales, do the finance, do the legals, do the hiring – do everything.


The founders have to work hard. They have to earn it, and win or lose, they earn it. They are the ones that deserve the support, love, kudos, help, beta testers and attention.


If our tiny industry in this tiny country is going to grow significantly and be the powerhouse that I know it can be, it’s going to be due to founders making companies a success. It’s not all the other groups around them. Yes, they are all needed to make an ecosystem, but at the heart, it’s the founders.


So let’s remember that, celebrate that and live that.


Mick took Kazaa to 300 million downloads, co-founded Pollenizer, is an investor in Startmate and Flightfox and has worked hard to support the local startup ecosystem. He’s now entrepreneur in residence at muru-D.


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