Joyce Reitman
Friday, November 21, 2008

When I go to a party, I know I can talk to anyone about what I do. Everyone loves the concept of start-ups. They either want to invest in one and make lots of money, work in one and make lots of money, or they want to learn how to do it because they have an idea and would like to establish one themselves.

The romance of the start-up is the dream of an outsider – the immigrant who comes from nothing but is willing to work harder than most: the social outlaw who can’t grasp what it takes to become assimilated into a group, but can understand creating odd formulas in science, industry or economics that can change the way the world operates; the curious academic achiever who needs a marketplace to test his/her theories; the successful businessperson who desires to transcend the corporate ladder and become something more than a corporate power-broker.

Start-ups demand passion, persistence, and powers of influence. One person cannot make it happen by themselves. They need to enlist others to keep the fire burning, to pick up the pieces and keep on going when bad stuff happens. People of many talents are needed. There are the leaders, the visionaries, the money people, and the operations people who implement all those ideas floating around. Different temperaments are also needed; the evangelists who engage the future customers, investors and employees; the power brokers who bring in the partnerships and money needed to make things credible and real; the calm professionals who are capable of smoothing out the edges when opinions differ, or when people simply get tired.

The inventors are at the center. These are the people who contribute ideas, formulas, inventions and new ways of doing things. They are the heart and soul of the operation, they breathe life into the concept and make it possible. Everyone keeps going back to these people who are the creative life-force of the start-up.

If you are looking for a specific formula to build a successful start-up, you are on the wrong track. Start-ups are often a disparate mixture of chemical balance, inspiration, fantasy and reality.