The Startup Story

March 22, 2010   

A few weeks ago I went down to TechSpace to meet entrepreneur Sean Black and, for use on, talk about everything from the NY tech scene, to AnyClip, to my work with Flybridge Capital Partners. Here’s Part 1 of that interview:

I don’t reblog every interview I do, but I wanted to post about this one because Sean really gets me to open up about the founding of AnyClip, running a startup in NYC, and my ideas around startups in general.

Of everything I talked about in the interview, there’s one lesson I hope people take away: people should pay less attention to “the startup story” and focus more on their own or those relevant to their situation.

The startup story” I’m talking about is the one you’ve heard a million times before: two guys, a garage, dried ramen noodles, IPO. While this is a great recipe for success (or seemed to be for Apple, Amazon, and hopefully my friends at MakerBot one day), it’s not the end-all-be-all of startups, and it’s certainly not a relevant for every startup.

In fact, there are many unorthodox startup stories and they’re equally important to listen to and learn from. Zappos is a great example of a non-orthodox startup story. Tony Heish didn’t found Zappos. He was an early investor and advisor, and while he did’t put the first dollar on the way, he did lead the company from $1.6 million in sales to over $1 billion.

Twitter’s story is another great startup story which breaks the mold; as you know, it was incubated out of another startup called, Odeo. MySpace was also incubated out of a previous company.

Why am I pointing all of this out?

Perhaps it’s because I feel like I get an odd look when I explain AnyClip’s beginnings. “What?! You ate fresh ramen not dried ramen!?” “You started out of a pre-existing company and already had investors!?”

That’s right. We didn’t start AnyClip out of a garage – but we did start it. And, while every line of code for AnyClip and every data-point in our database has been written since we founded AnyClip last year, many of the talented software and data engineers in our company were working on our previous incarnation. Now, these great people bring something incredibly priceless to our company: relevant experience.

So I think the goal of this post is to cheer on every other startup without the storybook beginnings. While I also love “the startup story” (and took a stab at it), I’d certainly love to hear more unorthodox startup stories and case studies.

What’s yours?

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