A couple nights ago, I attended Sessions @ The Leonardo, a monthly fireside chat in SLC featuring top tier tech and business entrepreneurs/investors. This month was Charles Adler, Head of Design and co-founder of Kickstarter. He gave a pretty humble story of Kickstarter’s beginnings. Like most successful startups, Kickstarter began with a mission to change the world, but not a clear path to get there. Over time, they discovered a business model that worked, and iterated off that model.
The common thread in 99.9% of startup stories I study is that dumb luck, persistence, and timing were most critical to success. It’s definitely true that the absolutely wrong approach to starting a business is the traditional path you learn in business school – write a business plan, make projections in Excel, etc. The marketplace is full of real world surprises that you simply cannot anticipate with a rigid plan. Your plan is only good until you meet your first prospect. It’s better to be super flexible and adaptive to change as you evolve your business model. Some call it lean startup. Others call it common sense.