What a powerful set of responses. Thanks everybody.
How many of us watch Xfactor/Pop Idol and deride it. Yet much of what happens in Startups is the same - promising immense wealth and fame for little effort. We're being sold a dream. And for the same reason - so others can make money from our efforts.
Most startups aren't going to be the next Google, Facebook or Uber. They're either going to fail or settle down as small businesses, making a living for the founders and filling a niche in their sector. So why do we force them through the same accelerator/VC system as the big boys?
And 99% of startups don't even get started. The person/people with the idea look at the lifestyle, the risk, the hurdles and decide - not for me. Fear - perhaps. But Startups aren't for everyone. Would the idea would be better off with someone with the skills and connections to make it work? Perhaps knowledge trumps passion! After all most of us work everyday to bring someone else's idea to market.
Are Accelerators failing these startups? Many are focused on the quick buck - connecting the fledgling company into their systems, polishing it up and selling it on. Many don't provide what we see as basic help. And many mentors are just old guys in big companies who are fond of their own voice. Are Accelerators part of our business model, or us part of theirs?
And are we stuck in the industrial age? Product first, with customers seen as remote creatures whose only role is to provide revenue. When you put in business plans, investors seem happy to pay for product, but not for market development, people or connections. Perhaps they don't like assets that walk out the door at night.
Another industrial age mindset underpins University Spinout Innovation. Here it seems to take several years just to get IP and ten years to build a company. IP is the holy grail - with Oxford, for example, taking 50% of equity. Is this holding innovation back - almost certainly! Contrast it with modern business where product lifecycles are measured in months and the whole corporate business model changes every five years or so.
And the whole system seems so wasteful. When I was in Business Process, we worked out that there were only 5 core business processes - everything else was a variation on those five. In the same way most startups are creating a market to connect buyers and sellers, a social network for groups to interact or a product for sale/rental/lease. Do they all need to create these systems from scratch? Do we really need a code mountain with lots of developers working away with the same programmes to independently create the same functionality? Isn't that all a bit infinite monkeys and Shakespeare?
We need a system to:
Unearth small ideas and bring them to market, either as small companies or as products in a portfolio.
Allow inventors to pass ideas on to others with the skills and connections to make them happen, while still retaining a stake.
Stop startups from having to reinvent the wheel by setting up technology platforms, marketing systems and supply chains from scratch, instead creating a sort of platform as a service they can simply plug into.
I believe if we did this we would increase the number of startup ideas coming to market by at least 10x, reduce chances of failure by 10x and reduce the cost of a startup by 10x. 10x10x10x seems pretty good to me.
Last but not least, by sharing these ideas around between all of us assisting startups, we'd stop our own wasteful reinvention of the wheel. Any takers?
PS: I'll be contacting several of you offline to collaborate. Please don't see this as preaching - but a set of ideas everyone can build on. And I urge everyone to look at what LanVy Nugen is up to - perhaps we can create craft startups and collaborate to bring their products to market.