Most startups should be tweets

As a creator, you should always aim to nudge the ideas you feel are valuable to others out into the world. This is the art of idea deployment. To do this well, you as the creator have to think carefully about which reality deployment channel your idea best fits into.

Would it be best presented as a scientific paper? A painting? A blog? A conversation? Perhaps the idea should manifest as a physical object. Maybe a diagram, or just a post on social media.

On very rare occasions, it may become apparent that the idea you’ve discovered can only be brought to life if a lot of smart people work really really hard on it for several years. This idea can’t be made truly real in a blog post alone.

That’s when you have to create an organization of people that also want this particular idea to exist in reality. That is when you create a startup. That’s the ONLY time you create a startup.

But right now, deep in the echo-chamber of startup-y madness land, a frightening thing is happening that’s worth calling attention to. Simply put, people are wasting their lives working on ‘startups’ that are better off as mere tweetsThey are all choosing the wrong channel to deploy their ideas.

Each top ten startup city is filling up with founder-clones building the next B2B VR drone AI bitcoin disruptor. They’re doing it because having a startup is great for their personal brand. Or because they see it as a way to earn fame. Even more likely, they don’t know why they’re doing it. They’re ‘why-less.’

Beyond the redundancy of ideas in the echo-chamber, most new ideas are incredibly thin. While it’s extremely helpful to be able to communicate a complex roadmap in a blog post, don’t mistake a trite blogpost for the roadmap itself. Startup ideas must go deep, down to core human drivers and raw economic arguments. They must stand up to ruthlessly candid feedback. They must include a non-BS reason that you’re one of the few people in the world that should be working on that problem.

A competitive advantage is not a clever sentence you toss in a slide deck the night before a pitch. A competitive advantage is a unique worldview only attainable through the past experiences you’ve had. A startup worthy of all your time and attention should be the crescendo of long bubbling social observation and excruciating self-awareness. The nature of a startup is hardcoded into it by the natural inclinations of the founder.

The requisite nuance and insight that produces great startups can’t fit in a tweet. You can certainly tell us what you’re working on in 140 characters, but that should be merely the first layer of a deep dive down into the deltas you see between actual reality and the way you want it to work.

So the next time you read a TechCrunch article and are met with a burst of inspiration to move to SF and reinvent the way the on-demand Pastrami economy operates, ask yourself if it’s really worth nuking 10 years of life in service of the idea. It may be wiser to pop off a quick tweet about the idea to let it get out of your system. The opportunity cost of spending time on things you don’t care about is far too high.


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