Startup math

You know how companies often try to describe themselves in terms of other startups? As in.. “I heard about this great new company – it’s like MySpace + YouTube.”

Oh brother.

Startup junkies please note. This is not a good way to describe your company. You are saying “I am derivative” instead of “I am innovative.”

Just today I was introduced to a company by someone (not the entrepreneur, so she’s off the hook for now) who said it was like “YouTube + Second Life + + Joost + MySpace + MapQuest” (a few terms were changed to protect the not so innocent). Now you tell me – what the hell is that? Bookmarkable broadcast-ready geo-tagged videos containing 3D representations of peoples friends cats? – huh?!?

Instead of thinking in math, maybe they should think in colors. Red + Blue + Green + Purpose + Orange = a mess.

How about telling me what problem your product solves or what you make that everybody is going to want to use? Better yet, how about just giving me a URL and saying “check this out.” I’d much rather hear about it or see it than try to figure out all of the operands in this silly sort of math.

file under: Blog, Startups