A wake for a start-up?

There was a piece in the FT last week about a party in America for all those Start-Ups that have failed. A party, a wake, somewhere to “mourn,” to say goodbye, to audit, perhaps, a firmly “tongue in cheek” affair, which borrowed heavily from the Anglican Prayer Book during the opening ceremony.

I usually start from the end of a piece and work backwards. The FT is still well enough written that the final paragraph will give an idication of whether the whole article is worth reading. If not, you will have got the gist.

I read enough to realise the mourners were mainly tee-shirted, ripped-jeaned, hooded lads in the chadult stage of their lives, even if their biological age ought to indicate a different approach to dress. The final paragraph indicated that most of the revelers were now dreaming of finding a job in a corporation, having discovered that “being an entrepreneur”  was more effort than rewarding.

This got me thinking about a young man in Warsaw. I have known him for about 16 years. Now, in his early 30s his career has touched on a wide range of great ideas. Each time we meet to discuss the newest I cannot resist his enthusiam. I become involved, sometimes even “lending” him the money to see the idea through, until the next idea comes along to capture his interest. What happened to the last idea? I ask. Quickly dismissed as impractical, no wake for them, he enthralls me with the latest.

Will any of these ideas ever be monetised? Who is to say? Probably not, such is the way of “start-ups.”

The fashion, the need to become an entrepreneur at whatever cost to himself, his family and his friends, and cost there is, must be exhausting for him. Being an observer is exhausting enough. Why can’t he just get a job where he’ll be appreciated? But that is the problem. Would you want to work for a corporation? Not when you have thought of yourself as an entrepreneur. May be what he needs is a wake.


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