Do Start-ups Really Cost You Money? Money Vs Ideas.

This post is a follow up post to my previous post about “Why I Didn’t Like The Colombo Hackathon”, with the overwhelming responses and contrary ideas I decided to write this follow up post describe my idea even further, so if you can’t understand some parts of this post, I suggest you first read my previous post linked above.

First to begin the post with some facts :

The idea that won at the Colombo Hackathon is nothing new even to this country. It’s already successfully being implemented in Sri Lanka by a budget taxi company and ironically the people who’ve worked in it or voted for it never knew that it’s already successfully up and running, so much for discussing your ideas with other people.  The other thing is the program was developed by a single person, so much for having a team to build your start-up. – A program was aired about this system in national television in late 2011 (if my memory is correct)

First thing that I have to clarify is that I know innovation is not making something totally new.

Google was late to search, Facebook was late for social networking, Apple was late for music. Being late is nothing, just do it. – A meme on the internet

But what makes your idea a winning idea? Your idea need to have an edge on what’s already there, something that you can say this feature makes us a killer from the rest that came before us, for you to have an idea like that you need to be innovative in someways. That ‘idea’ is the thing that everybody is after, and holds the value of the start-up. This is the thing that most people with money lag, they have money but don’t have the killer idea. So people who have the money are always out there searching for a killer idea.

Having said that, in this post I want to touch on a thing that most pro hackathon people said:  

  • You need money to implement your idea.
  •  Having idea is not enough but you need VCs, and money from the investors.
  • You have to be an insanely rich kid to start a start-up on your own.

or is it? Do you really need to have some big bucks behind you? or is your idea more important than money?

If you look at the predictions in the start-up arena the predictions for start-ups aren’t that bad. Actually these are not my original thoughts and are predicted by start-up blogs like TechCrunch.

  • With the development in technology and competitiveness in the field, the cost for a start-up is getting lower day by day, the price you have to pay for hosting is getting lesser everyday while the storage power, server power increases. Therefore now you can buy a better hosting and more powerful servers with little amount what you have to pay decade ago and these costs will reduce more and more in future.
  • The technology in building a start-up is getting easier, year bu year. Now with languages like Ruby On Rails (I’ve never tried Ruby but mot people say it is easier than Java), PHP, you need lesser knowledge on programming your start-up. This too will get more easier in future an average Joe will be able to build their own start-up. Even now you need less coders to build a good start-up than a decade ago.
  • With the advancement of social networks you don’t need any branding or advertising, you can reach millions of users in little time for free with social networking. Without YouTube JB won’t be here, JB didn’t even needed a producer to get the attention of others. (Don’t wanna explain this because, I think you know how JB  got famous)

These are some of the reasons that have helped to increase the number of start-ups that are appearing everyday. As the cost go down the need for  money for kick starting a start-up is less. Just think a bout it? Isn’t it easy and cheap for you to start a start-up now than a decade ago? A decade ago an idea is not enough, you need to have financial backing, but now it’s the other side, you don’t need a funding to start a start-up.

So what makes you a winner today is not financial backing but finding the opportunities out there and coming up with a killer idea, it doesn’t have to be new, but has to be better than what’s already out there.

Some of the best examples and TechCrunch, Mashable, and TheHackerNews.

TechCrunch was started by Michael Arrington as a personal blog, at that time it was the start-up boom, he saw the opportunity out there for a need of  a blog to cover start-up news. And he ended up with founding TechCrunch at his home and now the second best tech blog on the internet, now owned by AOL.

Mashable was started by a college drop-out Pete Cashmore  at his home, it was the beginning of the social networking era and he saw the opportunity for a blog to cover the news of social media, he ended up finding Mashable and now it’s the number one tech blog on the internet.

TheHackerNews is the recent success was founded by an indian (sorry I can’t remember his name), with the rise of Anonymous and Wikileaks he found there is an opportunity for a site to cover hacking news, and he found TheHackerNews. It’s not big as Mashable or TechCrunch but still it’s the go to place for getting news about hacking. I think this was such a hit in such a quick time, it’s more successful than the start-ups of all local the start-up guru’s that are talking so high about VCs.

I took these blogs as an example because they require no coding power and doesn’t cost a thing (Except for the domain)

These are only a very few examples, none of them had any start-up cash, non of them had any big VCs behind them, non of them needed huge coding power. What they only needed a good idea, a killer idea, saw the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.

So if you still believe that you need huge funding or coding power to build a start-up, I think you are mistaken, what you need is the idea and execution and now the execution doesn’t cost you a huge sum of money. And people who have money but don’t have killer ideas are ready to pay you any sum of money in return of your idea once it has become stressful, or else it’s better to steal that idea spending fewer amount of money at the start-up level or else when it’s still an idea.

As ipv10 commented in the previous post,

If the people who went to hackathon are thinking that you did something awesome, why couldn’t you do it before? Without getting excited, just relax and think.  – ipv10

Forget the hackathon forget everything and thnk, why couldn’t you do it before? Can’t you find like-minded people to get feed back? are there only 75 influential people in the IT sector in Sri Lanka, I think not.

It’s the idea that holds the power of a start-up, and sometimes that idea alone can make the difference without costing you a dollar.

Anything is possible just keep thinking.


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