Thursday, November 6, 2008

Paul Graham wants you to be a cockroach

Well, he states in his post Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy ""For years I've been telling founders that the surest route to success is to be the cockroaches of the corporate world."

I am always up for a good biological metaphor when describing business and am particularly fond of bugs, so while I agree with the point that startups should be hard to kill, I don't think a cockroach fits the bill.

In fact a cockroach is easy to kill, just one light tap of a toe and the pop lets you know that bug is no more. Cockroaches are hard to kill however, because you can't kill all of them. So the choice of the bug in his metaphor might bely an investor perspective that funds 40 companies a year. The portfolio will survive but not each individual.

Coming from the bootstrap perspective, I prefer using a tick, not "the tick" but a tick as my bug of choice. Have you ever tried to kill one of those babies? Not easy. thetick

So the point is still the same, keep the burn rate low and survive until the next moose comes along. From where we sit, there aren't a million brothers ready to take my place, so we have to keep cranking, even when we have a shoe trying to crush us.

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