Wall Street to Startups: The Mindful In Between
During an introduction to the world of Wall Street in my first few years after college, I kept finding myself wondering why I was stuck in institutions that continued to embrace the ways of the past. In spite of Wall Street’s power and prestige, I could not help but feel as though there was a much bigger opportunity for change in the land of technology.
Companies and industries were being disrupted by the minute – would you rather be the disruptor or the disrupted?
During my time walking the hallowed halls of my investment banking job, I felt like I was on the wrong side of the technology explosion – which is why I ventured into the space of BDW.
The great part about tech is that there is a low barrier to entry; get your chops in design or development, and you are ready to go. The question is not whether you can talk about building things – it’s about getting out there and actually creating a valuable product.
If you have a great idea, then make it happen.
If you do not bother to ideate – or you don’t have the means to execute – then no one cares.
Although I’m excited by the direction and emergence of the technology sector – especially as it relates to startups – I wonder about long-term viability, given that 90 percent of startups fail.
One of the big buzz topics in the industry is funding:
How much venture capital or “angel money” has been thrown in a company’s direction?
But as I witness more and more startups moving into beautiful new office spaces – with giant flat screen TVs and kegerators on tap at all times – I question whether or not these (often times young) entrepreneurs realize that investment money is not the same as profit. Although the emergence of extravagance is not the same as that of the original tech bubble, let us not fall prey to our past by not focusing on what is so empowering about technology:
You can create truly awesome, disruptive products very quickly.
To me, the journey of making something out of nothing is thrilling and invigorating. However, this thrill also goes along with the understanding that in the tech world, someone will always be gunning for whatever progress you have made.
Let’s not fall prey to the big-time dinners and overpriced suits of Wall Street.
Which is to say:
Keep the eyes on the prize of valuable product rather than trying to be something that you are not.
Getting funded or exits should never be the end goal – instead, a necessary means to executing a great end goal. Which is to say:
Get the kegerators out of the office and start focusing on real goals.
Let Wall Street have the yacht club set.
And let the tech industry build great products.
- by AWSC
- posted at 2:06 pm
- April 18, 2012