Purple Haze was in my brain
lately things don’t seem the same,
actin’ funny but I don’t know why
‘scuse me while I kiss the sky.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls hear this: this is a glorious time to be an entrepreneur. Sky-kissing glorious!
It is often said that ideas are cheap; it is the execution that counts. This is still very much true, but the great thing is that even the execution is cheaper than ever. Developing a technology stack to bring an idea to life is more affordable than ever.
I was involved in a startup in the early 2000’s that had raised $25 Million in funding – pre-revenue, pre-anything. We never shipped a product. We weren’t criminally incompetent, either. Back in those days, money like that was needed. Or at least it was expected to be needed.
Today nobody raises $25 M pre-revenue unless you are Elon Musk. Quite simply because it is not needed. Of course, later in the lifecycle of a company more money may be needed, but it is quite a different matter to raise millions for a proven product instead of a fledgling idea.
A startup still needs to pay top people top dollar, but technology has become affordable. There are numerous open source solutions, inexpensive components, cloud services, and an abundant supply of high-quality, reasonable-cost subcontractors.
And what is perhaps even greater is speed. Back in the bad old days, software development cycles of 12 months, even 18 months were par for the course. These days a talented team can hack together an MVP in a few days. Days, not weeks.
The speed is reflected also in investors: programs like Kima15 promise to make a seed investment of $150k in 15 days (not surprisingly, the stake is 15%). Way back when, it often took 15 days just to get an appointment with an analyst at a VC firm.
PS. This week’s song, Purple Haze, is perhaps the most covered song from the oeuvre of Jimi Hendrix. It did not, however, make the Top 20 on the Billboard singles chart. In fact, the only Hendrix single to make Top 20 was All Along the Watchtower, written by none other than Bob Dylan.
PPS. The cartoon in the blog is by Robert van Goeben and Kathryn Siegler. See more of their work on their excellent site.