A week in a startup is indeed a very, very long time

Everyone, whether they are or not interested in politics, know the famous quote attributed (rightly or wrongly) to Ex-Labour British Prime Minister (PM) James Harold Wilson (1916-1995) of ‘a week is a long time in politics’.

As a child born in the 80’s, I unfortunately was not alive to remember his premier, as he passed away while I was still in primary school (RIP Harold). Upon some light reading on the internet, specifically Wikipedia to be honest with you – which we all know is not the best source of accurate and up to date information out there. However, if used cautiously and wisely, it can give anyone, even academics quick up to date information on any particular topic they may fancy.

Thus, it has been made aware from the Wiki page, that he was Prime Minister of UK for 6 years between 1964-1970 and again for a shorter period of time between 1974-1976. Interestingly, I learnt that it was during his second term as PM, where he lead a tiny majority government, that a referendum took place that cemented Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), as it was then known.

Today, some 40 years or so after that first European referendum, there will take place another equally important referendum on 23rd June 2016, to decide the UK’s future continued membership of the European Union (EU). This mass vote in the summer of 2016 is expected to be much more closer than the first one.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for this first entry in the blog, which is supposed to be about startups to be political in nature or even discuss UK plebiscites (legal term for referendum) at all, but I could not help myself. Once I referred to Wilson infamous statement, it was a necessary evil to do the proper background checks.

Apologies for the digression but I think it was quite relevant and pertinent in my honest opinion.

It is important to note here the intricate relationship and dynamics at play, similarities and differences, between politics, business and law – which I am sure this blog will make references to in future posts. I mean its not like the Britain in or out referendum is not going to have no effect whatsoever on the UK startup scene and wider economy at large.

So you may be asking what is it with the title and why am I re-phrasing Wilson? Simple. If a week is a long time in politics, then it is an even LONGER and probably more stressful (you may beg to differ and that’s fine) working in a startup, especially when that startup is not your “baby” and someone else has asked you to come work with them or for them (don’t ask what I mean now – I will explain that can of worms in another post later).

Yes, there is a very clear, big DIFFERENCE between the two situations, as you can obviously imagine. Firstly, one does not have the luxury of other hard working ministers and civil servants to help make your life easier and the whole transition process as seamless as possible. This isn’t the case in a startup, unfortunately, and there are a bunch of other examples too, for the sake of brevity will not be delved into now.

Another thing that was also noticed was that you have to fight tooth and nail to even begin to negotiate for what would otherwise be a commercially fair and viable offer, which can just easily be accepted. I know I am just showing my naivety here around the negotiation table. But if you know your value, strengths, qualities and skills you can bring, even if you can’t accurately quantify it and put a precise number to it, you will have a good starting of knowing what you will and wont accept.

That is one of the main hurdles and stumbling blocks of working on or with another person on their startup project and not one of your own unfortunately, because after that minefield is negotiated, you can pretty much get your head down and focus on the very important matters of growing the business and product further, meet clients and potential new customers, focus on improving the website and social media presence, sales and marketing, seeking funding from whatever source, applying for accelerator and incubator places etc. etc. etc.

If it wasn’t already stressful enough working on a new startup you had the pleasure of dreaming up yourself one night, (trust me) its even more stressful working on someone else’s, no matter how great their idea is or how much you like or believe in it yourself.

Upon trying to seek some pertinent advice about the given situation at hand from other startups in similar early stage position, I had the pleasure of meeting a young CEO and co-founder of a new tech startup who will remain nameless here, and he posed a very important but crudely phrased rhetorical question, of ‘why do you still want to be someone else’s bi*ch?’ At that point the grey matter started ticking over and went into hyper drive mode.

I will end it on that note and let you digest what has just been narrated, which was a fair amount.

I hope you enjoy this blog and all the posts that come from it.

Do please leave any comments or criticism you may have, both constructive and otherwise.

Have a great week planning and working on your own startup empires.

Peace Out!

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