Are we too lazy to be a succesful startup?Michael Haase27. December 2016
I was checking Facebook. Suddenly I felt uneasy and drops of cold sweat started tingling down my forehead.
Jack Ma, Ali Baba’s founder and CEO, said in a Facebook video recorded in 1999: “If we want to beat the Americans in Silicon Valley, we need to start working hard, and stop this 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. mentality”. The video went on to say that THIS was the reason why Ali Baba eventually succeeded.
Prevailing startup view: Clock is ticking – get shit done fast!
The internet is full of lists. In the many “10 rules to be a successful startup”, rule #1 is almost always is some variation of ‘Work twice as hard as anyone else”. Jack Ma was just my latest example of a startup guru proclaiming that entrepreneurship required REALLY hard work.
Why are startups such hard work? Because a startup is a race against time: Get funding (or cash flow) before you run out of money. Time is the limiting factor, hence time needs to be fully utilized.
So, why did I feel that cold sweat?
When Jack Ma reminded me of the value of MEGA HARD WORK, it once again dawned on me: The Plant Jammers are humans. We do not work 100 hours a week, we sleep for 8 hours almost every night, and we spend time with friends and family.
Sure, I get up at 6 am in the morning. But that is to meditate, jump into the ocean, and then eat a calm breakfast. I only start working by 830 am, and by then I’m the first in the office.
Sure, we pull longer hours sometimes. But we also go for dinner parties on Tuesdays, we go wall-climbing, and we drink a lot of wine and cook together. Essentially, we are having a great time. Ida Marie told me last Friday – “I just had the best year of my life”
So, are we too lazy to be a startup?
Perhaps we are just not fit for being a startup then. Perhaps we are having too much of a good time?
I’d love to say that we represent a new paradigm among startups
“Work smarter, not harder” right?
I learnt a lot from my time at McKinsey, and we have crazy awesome work processes with weekly kick-offs and kick-outs, monthly pathfinder meetings, and daily team problem solving sessions. Also, I get so many creative and actionable ideas during my calm morning routine that I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
I would love to say that we are ‘re-thinking startups’. I would love to say that this is the new ‘Nordic startup paradigm’, which combines lifestyle and success.
But honestly, I have no idea. Perhaps we are just too lazy to succeed?!