Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

March 10, 2009

The Path To Startup

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:52 am

I can’t count how many times over the past year somebody has told me “you should start your own company.” It’s not that I don’t think I’d be great at running a company – I’m sure I would be awesome at it. I’m pretty good about making everything I do a success. The reason I haven’t started a company is because I don’t have anything worthy of a company. Yes I’m full of great ideas, several of which have been profitable, but I still don’t think any of them would have made a good company.

When I think of a startup, I think of 2 main paths that an idea takes to becoming a company, and about 20 other paths to creating a dot com failure. The latter of which I’ve seen plenty of at my time working with some Seattle area venture capitalists.

Every successful startup that I can name followed one of two main paths to success. They were either born out of academia, or they were a result of somebody solving one of their own problems at work and realizing that others may find their solution useful. Perhaps the most famous startup, Google was born out of a college project. This is often the case with new algorithms. We computer scientists tend to let the academics come up with all the new theories, opting to just put them into practice. It’s win win.

The more common approach to launching a start up though is to simply solve your own biggest problem at work. Big companies like Microsoft and Google know this, yet despite all their best efforts they still lose employees every year who turn their work inspired projects into stand alone companies. Friendfeed is a good example of this.

Statistically, these two methods will yield the most successful companies. I’ve seen too many failures to just start a company first and then look for a business model. It’s really easy to just buy a domain name and start a company, but it’s much harder to find a successful business model that way. I’m a firm believer that business models must come before domain purchases and company formations.

Sure, I’ll continue to make websites that generate cash, and I’ll also continue to solve problems that I encounter. If I ever happen to come up with a problem and solution that are broad enough to apply to many others AND generating cash, then I’ll start a company.


  1. Good Luck!

    Comment by Andy — March 16, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  2. There are tools out there to help start-ups get up and running to give them a chance of success. Accounting and invoicing software is critical for a good financial framework.

    Web based apps are particularly useful as they allow more flexible collaboration so that the start-up can get advice and feedback from partners, friends, advisors etc.

    Comment by Start Ups — March 28, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  3. Keep at it!

    Comment by Video Training DVDs — April 1, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

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