#82 - A Word on Tough Times
Tense, scarcity, and bold
Fear is in the air.
War, pandemic, recession, there’s plenty to be afraid of.
It’s a wonderful opportunity.
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The mood is tense in Startup Land. Bubbles are bursting all over the places.
YC, centre of the startup universe, sent their companies a stern warning this week. Prepare for the worst.
2.5 years of world shaking events has taken its toll and the good times are over.
You know what? Good. About time. It was all getting a little silly.
The YC email rattled some cages but it’s pretty positive. People seem to be skipping over their opening gambit:
…economic downturns often become huge opportunities for the founders who quickly change their mindset, plan ahead, and make sure their company survives.
The abundance is over. Good riddance. Take a look around any city to see the damage abundance can do. We’re unfit, stressed, and sickly.
Here comes a time of scarcity. There’s much to be said for it.
A human in the wild faces scarcity. Have you seen them? They’re fine specimens. Physically fit, mentally calm, and remarkably free of disease.
Scarcity hones an organism. It keeps it healthy and happy. Abundance does the opposite.
What is true of humans is true of companies.
They’re inefficient in abundance. Cultures are messy. Bad behaviour is rife. Chaos reigns.
But turn off the tap and interesting things happen.
Sure, companies disappear. Such is life. But others focus, they dig deep, and remarkable results follow. It’s a great time to be building.
So what’s a founder to do? The tide has well and truly turned.
It’s a time to be bold. To make tough decisions and move fast. Those swimming with no trunks on must find them quick. But it’s possible.
It’s times like these where you don’t hedge your bets. Take a leaf out of Carnegie’s book:
“Put all your eggs in one basket—and watch that basket.”
- Andrew Carnegie
The only way is through.
I met someone this week who’s completing a nine figure exit. He told a wonderful story (paraphrasing):
Two years ago the pandemic hit. We’re in transport and it all went to zero.
Our investors told us to furlough everyone. “Time to hibernation.”
We did the opposite. We went for it.
New opportunities emerged and we turned up the dial. Revenues soared and haven’t stopped.
Fortune favours the bold.
It’s a tricky 12 months ahead. Whilst many will fail, one thing is for sure:
Fine specimens will emerge on the other side.
My Week in Books📚
We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti
Excellent. A different perspective on Putin. The West see him as an all powerful villain- a master strategist. That’s not it at all. Putin play judo not chess. Judo is about seizing opportunities rather than grand strategy. It’s a wonderful book.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Such a wonderful read. It’s a memoir of Orwell living in poverty in Paris and London. Incredibly humbling and illuminating.
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
A classic. Silicon Valley’s finest shares what it takes to endure. I used to see paranoia as a negative but now I see it as simply good business. Highly recommended to anyone running a company.
A Final Thought 💡
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”
- Bob Marley