Passion Is Bullshit (The Iroko Truth)
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If you remember, about a month ago I wrote an article that said Passion Is Bullshit and Bullshit will Not Make You Successful and then another article that indirectly warned about taking advice from Accidental Entrepreneurs.
Both articles received mixed comments from people saying that they sort of disagreed with it….to others saying “Ofili you don mad”…lol. No one actually said that but people did disagree.
So imagine my shock and surprise tpday when I accidentally stumbled upon this awesome article
while shitting by unaccidental[sic] entrepreneur Jason Njoku talking about “I believe the iROKO story is a big fat anomaly!” and “Startups are fucking hard!”
Ok ok I inserted the exclamation marks, but the words are his and the words are very true and they relate to the point I was trying to make in those 2 previous articles. But before I start over claiming … check out the article and let me know what you think.
At the end of the day sha, it is quite a dope article! <— last exclamation point I promise! <— whoops I lied…
Article: Startups Are Not Supposed To Be Sexy
Startups are cool. Startups are sexy. Startups are where the money is at. Let me go on record. Startups are fucking hard. Globally there has been this mega trend to glamourise startups. Instagram sold for a $1B. Bam! Facebook IPO’d at $100B. Wham! What! Whatsapp generated $20M in revenue but was acquired for $19B. CaBow!
I am largely in favour of that. I feel responsible for cultivating (and benefitting greatly) by becoming something of a poster child for the internet story in Africa. It’s great and warms my heart when young Nigerians want to create internet companies rather than going down the traditional and conservative route of medicine, law, banking or accountancy. Man, Nigeria needs the jobs! But there are two sides to every story. There isn’t really a large media brand that hasn’t covered the iROKO story. From CNN, CNBC, Techcrunch, Pando, NYTimes, FT, WSJ, Variety, Reuters, Forbes, Quartz, BBC, France24, Fast Company, Bloomberg. I have spoken to them all. And they all largely cover the last 2 years of my experiences. The IROKO story. The upside. The growth story from rages to ‘riches’. The problem is before this story there was another story. The 31 years of being broke all the time. Of frustration of founding and failing at everything I touched.
Startups are the place where dreams of the young turn to ash. The default mode for a startup is survival, because most founders lack experience of anything they usually go from one idiotic mistake to another. These mistakes are usually responsible for turning dreams to ashes. Startups don’t die. They commit suicide.
But if you read the stories [my own included] one would think technology startups are a Nirvana filled with investors and dollar trees waiting to be harvested. Shikhar Ghosh, a professor at the Harvard Business School, looked at 2,000 VC-backed companies between 2004 and 2010. The unavoidable and hard truth is 75% of venture backed startups don’t return the money to their investors. Nirvana, a startup is not. It’s tough when you are venture backed. The vast majority of startups will NEVER get funded. EVER.
Failure often is harder on entrepreneurs who lose money that they’ve borrowed on credit cards or from friends and relatives than it is on those who raised venture capital.
“When you’ve bootstrapped a business where you’re not drawing a salary and depleting whatever savings you have, that’s one of the very difficult things to do,” says Toby Stuart, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
Venture capitalists make high-risk investments and expect some of them to fail, and entrepreneurs who raise venture capital often draw salaries, he says. – WSJ
I believe the iROKO story is a big fat anomaly and needs to be taken with a hand full of salt for all aspiring founders. It shouldn’t be an anomaly. But if you created 1,000 internet startups in Nigeria. At least one would experience the type of growth we have. Which one? Who knows. I am trying to find out but as an investor with Spark over the last 12 months, I now have a fuller appreciation of how unsexy and bloody hard this whole startup thing is in Nigeria. For those who are throwing their hats in the arena I salute you. But prepare yourself for the pain.
The most likely end result for iROKOtv is to fail. So everyday I awake from my slumber, head down to the arena, unsheathe my sword and do everything in my power to ensure that doesn’t happen.
A beautiful death is not sexy. Unless you are a Spartan. Me? I am just an Igbo boy…
Written By Jason Njoku
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