Friday, November 9, 2012

Let’s Call it “Days of Our Entrepreneurial Lives”

Now that the election is over and watching television is actually bearable again, you might want to check out Bravo’s “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley.”  One fun fact about this show: the executive producer is Randi Zuckerberg, sister of some other guy you may have heard of who has built a mildly successful tech company over the past few years.  I must admit, it is pretty nice to be able to watch Bravo and call it “research.”

I watched the first episode of the show, which premiered on Monday, November 5, and so far it looks to me to be about 75% personal drama (dating (mis)adventures, friendships gone bad, etc.) and 25% entrepreneurship (fundraising, investor pitches, coding).  While the people featured on the show are universally young, good-looking, and tech-focused, the issues they face in their business are not unique to that subset of entrepreneurs.  We are only one episode in and already the show has touched on themes we have previously explored in this blog or have discussed with many of our clients, in many industries, and many locations, including:

• Entrepreneurs are often the CEO, CFO, maid, and plumber all rolled into one in the early stages of a business.  Entrepreneurs who are passionate about their businesses are usually willing to get their hands dirty to get the job done and are not above doing menial tasks that will save the company precious cash.

• Connections are invaluable, irreplaceable, and can lead to some key ingredients to a company’s long-term success – money, customers and talent.  It’s also a good reminder for all of us that businesses are fundamentally run by people who sometimes hold grudges, and that we should remember to treat anyone we meet like s/he might be the CEO of our next customer. It’s just good business.

• Not everything about Silicon Valley or entrepreneurship in general is glamorous or exciting. As one of the personalities on the show commented, watching people write software code for hours on end in a bare apartment with a mattress on the floor probably would not be very entertaining. Nonetheless, for a start-up trying to get off the ground, those behind-the-scenes hours certainly consume more time and effort than a television show like this would ever display.

• Make sure you spray tan before attending a toga party. (Okay, we might not have discussed that one before.)

Let’s keep our eyes open in case our own Frank Vargas makes a cameo while he’s in the neighborhood.  You never know!

A Post by Alyssa Hirschfeld, Guest Blogger

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