Startup vs Corporate

Coming from a big corporate background, I have often been asked (perhaps none more so than myself), how do I compare the two?

Being someone senior in a large corporate, our job is like reading a map. Figuring out precisely where the starting and finishing points are, identifying roadblocks, calculating how much fuel we need, and decide on the best route. Technically, the more senior you are, the further away the finishing points are, but the job is essentially the same.

Being a founder in a startup however, the job is more like driving a car. Yes, you will need to know where you want to go, but the most important task is to actually drive the car!  Staying on the road, not running red lights, knocking someone over, or simply making it a comfortable ride, is far more important than anything else.  Devil indeed is in the details.

Therefore, I have yet to see a real entrepreneur trying to tackle a “systematic” issue (common fallacy for most social entrepreneurs). Tackling a problem, in the form of a business, from a top-down manner is plainly suicidal.

Finally, what is my own reflection on being a startup investor, coach or mentor?

Be a GPS.

Knowing clearly the entire map, but only telling the driver what’s happening in the next 100m.

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