This great Mixergy Interview has sparked an interesting discussion on Hacker News about what startup founders should aim for. Says Patrick McKenzie (aka patio11):
I swing more to lifestyles than jackpots, but a successful (for any definition of "successful") lifestyle business is a great place to try conquering the world from. A recurring theme for folks trying to shoot the moon is how much time fundraising takes up and how conflicts with investors can drive you under. If the rent is covered and salaries are already in the bank, you have a great fallback position. (BATNA is "We go back to where we were before we knew you. Oh, shucks, successful business." versus "We fail to make payroll and the bank repossesses my liver.")
I was having a chat with a serial founder friend this morning, and he made a similar point:
What founders are usually looking to get out of their business, financially, isn't a billion dollars, but simply a significant improvement to their lifestyle.
So, if you're a student fresh out of uni and your online business can allow you to double your yearly budget, that's probably good enough for you (for now). And a business that does that shouldn't be all that hard to build for a student with vast swathes of free time...
If you like this Mixergy talk, see also this classic talk by DHH at Startup School 2008.
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