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Feb 6 / Vivi

How startups are like exploring a mayan jungle

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the lean startup means and how does it relate to having a vision you believe in. I think I finally came up with an analogy that makes sense to me.

Building a company is like exploring a mayan jungle looking for the great treasure.

Climbing where the road takes you

The lean startup methodology says you should keep climbing the hills around you. You’re on a road to find something, anything.

You pivot around, change direction to where the wind takes you and you see promising trails. Ask enough users and they will eventually tell you what problems they have. Try something out and you’ll eventually learn more. Never go down a path until you’ve first sent some scouts, probed some theories, tested stuff.

You don’t understand your surroundings yet, but there are unsolved problems everywhere if you know how to look for them.

If you keep climbing hills you will eventually find something or eventually understand them well enough to make more decisions about where to go next.

Sometimes you get to success. Sometimes you don’t. Crossing the death valley is out of the question, can’t you see how many are dead there?

Believing you figured out the treasure map

For you, the world simply make sense. You feel you understand it well and because of that you know exactly where you want to go.

You are in fact so convinced that you can’t stop thinking and obsessing about it. You haven’t figured it all out and you don’t know exactly how you’ll get there, but you know where your true north is.

It might be obvious for you, but not so for anybody else.

You’re crazy, most people say. It’s too risky, you have no idea that it will even work, that’s just insane and risky. You don’t care, you know you can do it (and you also know you might be wrong).

We all explore differently

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. We all have our thoughts on how to do it and god knows there’s no shortage of advice. :-)

Some like to pace their efforts and take it step by step, some just go all in and risk it on a crazy vision. You’re proven wrong, you fail, there are casualties, but all in all it’s fun to think about it this way.

And after all, whether you find your answer or not, nobody will take away from you the stories you have, the friendships, the dramas and the near-death experiences you’ve gone through!


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  1. liviu / Feb 6 2012

    Less talking more doing. Less talking about “how to startup” more doing the “how to startup”. Cut the jungle&love&league bullshit and actually build something. Just my two cents before waiting for another crapticle and unsubscribing from your feed.

    • Vivi / Feb 6 2012

      Hey man, go ahead and unsubscribe if you don’t like it. :-) I’ll post about what I make when the time will come.

    • Claudiu Constantin / Feb 7 2012

      Liviu, I really don’t get your point of view… do you really know what this blog post is all about? Your opinion sadly reminds me why Romania it’s not a good place for entrepreneurs.

  2. liviu / Feb 8 2012

    @Claudiu: Nope, Romania is a very good place for entrepreneurs. Romanians have a natural way of smelling bullshit from miles away. Indeed it’s not a good place for bullshit artists. It’s actually an emerging market that’s not (yet) saturated and that’s waiting for innovation, not for startup hipsters and spammers waiting to be bought by Google or Facebook.

    I personally enjoy seeing successful or failed startup people that share their wisdom/mistakes/lessons learned. What I don’t enjoy at all is talk about startup-ing just for startup’s sake. Like some ironic hipsters sipping coffee at some indie coffee place talking about how mainstream Starbucks is. Get it?

    That’s why I have some great expectations from Vivi.

    • Vivi / Feb 8 2012

      All that most romanians have is a sense that they know so much better than others. :-) You call that smelling bullshit? I call that hating.

      If you’re gonna be a hater, go be a hater somewhere else, dude. :-)

    • Claudiu Constantin / Feb 8 2012

      “I personally enjoy seeing successful or failed startup people that share their wisdom/mistakes/lessons learned”
      @Liviu: Octavian is doing the exact same thing here, but in a way that you just don’t like :) You like a more pragmatic type of thinking and everyone is OK with that, but don’t try to impose the type of thinking you like on everyone. Every entrepreneur has his own way to think, to express himself, to act, to build, to talk about startups. Let’s respect each other’s opinions and be more open-minded.
      Ignore the hipsters, don’t try to change them.
      P.S. My personal point of view about good places for entrepreneurs: open-mindedness, freedom to express your personality, people who want to help, not to take you down. Romania is not a place like that… yet.

  3. liviu / Feb 8 2012

    You say hater, I say pragmatic and down to earth. But then again, you didn’t say troll and I respect that.

    I’ll do my hating somewhere else :) Good luck in your future endeavors.

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