A “Legit” Attitude

Startup Weekend Vancouver is a 54-hour sprint to building a business.  Such a concentrated effort demands drive, openness to ideas and honest feedback, and a positive working relationship with your new weekend colleagues.  The right attitude can go a long way.

If you are reading this, then you are interested in entrepreneurship much less an entrepreneur in waiting.  That makes you a special individual.  Think that through for a moment.  You want to create, and are willing to risk in ways that others are not.  Such is the difference between an everyday employee and the entrepreneur.  That’s you.

Were success assured, then we’d all be entrepreneurs.  Every last one of us would love to win the lottery, win at the casino table, and win in the stock market.  Why not win in the product and service markets, too?  We would drive our own (winning) fate, and determine our lifestyles to the smallest detail because every last one would be a winner.

Enter reality.

It’s not about winning, but how you play the game

The boundary in which the entrepreneurial game is played is not a threshold between winning and losing.  Winning and losing implies selfish schemes of overcoming other people, or a zero-sum game.  I win, you lose; you win, I lose.  One must be demanding of something more from the world.

Neither Richard Branson nor [enter iconic entrepreneur here] won anything except lost sleep, naysayers, and a whole lot of anxiety because nothing was guaranteed at startup.  Read that again.  Nothing was guaranteed.

Feeling so compelled to change the status quo will manifest itself into something new, different and desired – because you are an entrepreneur who, along with others, is willing to make it happen.  What successful entrepreneurs do is create legitimacy.

ƒ(Initiative & Integrity) = Legitimacy

I wrote two blog posts this past week.  One encouraged entrepreneurs to just get started instead of slowing the potential pace of progress.  The other had a completely different focus – integrity should be fundamental to any business, and is neither a core value nor a power to impress upon others.

Legitimacy is a function of the initiative and integrity.

The right balance

Too little initiative undercuts integrity.  No one wants to work with or for a lazy person.  He or she wants something for nothing (“a loser”).  That’s awful.  Similarly, who wants to work with someone who spends all of his or her time dreaming and considering when just a little effort could go a long way to creating something new?  They call that “analysis paralysis.”  With either attitude, there is no quality of integrity.

To the other extreme, one’s integrity can be pushed too far.  It becomes focus gone awry born of a poor attitude.  Trying to prove oneself (“I want to be viewed as a winner”) is a petty reason to start a business; at the same time, being perfect (“I want to win”) will not realistically spur a product to market.  Lost focus tarnishes if not diminishes initiative.

There is a sweet spot when initiative goes up and so too does integrity.  When this happens, several positive-sum actions take place.  The entrepreneur garners the respect of others in addition to their desire to associate.  The result requires consistency through self-motivation when nothing is guaranteed, even when no one is watching.  The right balance over time becomes legitimacy.  A legitimate startup is a successful startup by whatever mission, values and culture its entrepreneur devises.

Planning for new, different, and desired is an attitude

The right balance of initiative and integrity can, with an outstanding idea, create a special phenomenon.  The activities and the positioning of the product or service becomes an article or arrangement that is new, different, and desired.  That’s legit in the world of entrepreneurship.

Again, entrepreneurship isn’t a matter of winning and losing.  One must overcome by respectable effort, and being deemed someone with whom to associate either/both for colleagueship or for transaction.  Have a premise of the attitude necessary to produce legitimacy going for you as you walk into Startup Weekend Vancouver and your imagination and creativity will be free to come to life.  Even better, the legitimacy of others with whom you work will compound into a profoundly productive and fun experience!


Startup Weekend Vancouver 2017 by Techstars Startup Programs will take place June 2-4 at CoLab, 915 Broadway Street, Vancouver, WA 98660. See the Eventbrite bulletin for further details and to purchase your ticket. Students are eligible for a student discount using the code ‘VANWASTUDENT’.

 

 








Integrity is Fundamental to Startups

Some companies have integrity listed as a core value.  This shouldn’t be a core value at all.  Integrity should be inherent to just being in business.

To all you entrepreneurs out there, integrity is the effort to be respected.  And integrity takes constant maintenance.  That maintenance is the sole purpose of a business’s core values.

Think about integrity as identity

Who and what you are as a person and as a startup is crucial – for competitive advantage, for differentiation, for strategy, for marketing, for what you are not, for who you do and don’t serve, and so on.  (Your startup might be able to fake it for a time, but ultimately, your real identity will show through.)  It follows, then, that the degree to which a person or company has integrity is the degree to which he, she or they are fundamentally deserving of respect and association.

Two disclaimers about the power of integrity…

First, integrity does not a startup make.  Integrity cannot take the place of a poor product or service.  You could run a company of an integrity the world has never before witnessed.  If, however, your startup is based upon a product or service that doesn’t warrant demand, the startup won’t last.

Secondly, integrity that leads to respect has nothing to do with power.  Power is influence.  Take for example a large company that dumps toxic waste into rivers.  Say they have lobbyists on the payroll.  The wrongdoer’s power to influence government policy does not supersede a lack of integrity.

Integrity is ultimately perspective unto, not put forward

Respect is the magnitude someone bestows upon another – as a person or business with whom to associate.  For example, Joey is so polite, but Joey cannot sell his politeness.  Others can recognize, accept and consider it in part as reason to conduct business with Joey and his company.

The key to integrity is to conduct oneself as respect-worthy at all times

Say Sarah always goes the extra mile.  What if Sarah works hard only when someone is watching?  She’ll eventually be outed, surely losing a sense of integrity as applied by others who realize her ruse.

Less cynically, Gail’s team has never met a challenge they don’t like.  Gail’s startup must take on challenges whether or not others recognize her team’s great energy and devotion to problem solving.  Similar to Sarah, but in the opposite light, others will eventually take notice.  That startup will develop a reputation of integrity.

Integrity is yours to develop and maintain

In the example above, Sarah can change her attitude and work hard all of the time.  She might begin to value quality.  Quality would then be the value that maintains Sarah’s sense of integrity.  Furthering another example from above, Joey may swear by being polite to everyone.  Maybe he believes that is how one person should treat another.  Valuing humbleness and humanity are the tools for ensuring integrity for Joey.

In summation, integrity is about respect from others’ perspective; integrity must be practiced or developed, and maintained all of the time; additionally, values maintain integrity.


Startup Weekend Vancouver 2017 by Techstars Startup Programs will take place June 2-4 at CoLab, 915 Broadway Street, Vancouver, WA 98660. See the Eventbrite bulletin for further details and to purchase your ticket. Students are eligible for a student discount using the code ‘VANWASTUDENT’.

 

 








Startup: Is the Question Really ‘Why not me?’

With entrepreneurship so much is made of changing the world, discovering the next blue ocean, and being the next big thing.  We challenge doubt from others–and of ourselves–by asking Why not me?  Sure, someone’s gotta do it, but is that the attitude with which to do something really special?

When we ask ourselves Why not me? are we encouraging initiative or approving possibility?  Think about it.  The difference is a matter of determination, action, and learning:

  • Determination of what needs to get done versus who could do it;
  • Doing versus the realization that something could get done;
  • Improvement versus accepting that it could be done.

What the question Why not me? comes down to is timing.  When one asks him or herself Why not me?, he or she is slowing the pace of progress.

Two people are going on a date.  One hops in the car and picks up the date.  The other is stuck looking in the mirror to get ready (I can do this.).  One orders dinner, sparks conversation; and is vulnerable to an enjoyable evening, making a new friend, or calling things off after one date.  Prince or frog.  There’s only one way to find out.  The other person who asks Why not me? in front of the mirror builds the date mentally, but never leaves the house.

How can one go from Why not me? to a mover and a shaker?  The answer is simple.  Move.  And shake.  Embark.  Do.  Ideas are cheap.  Everyone’s got ’em.  Failure’s going to happen.  No one is perfect.  The goal may change.  That happens, too.

Why not me?

Happenstance is productive in the entrepreneurial sense only when it is preceded by some form of effort.  Instead of asking Why not me?, answer the problem to be solved by building a solution.  The key to a startup isn’t a question; the key is the solution baked in to the word startup.  Start.


Startup Weekend Vancouver 2017 by Techstars Startup Programs will take place June 2-4 at CoLab, 915 Broadway Street, Vancouver, WA 98660. See the Eventbrite bulletin for further details and to purchase your ticket. Students are eligible for a student discount using the code ‘VANWASTUDENT’.