Dear Haters Of Startups In Kansas City Business Accelerators: We’re Sorry
This is an open apology letter to critics of entrepreneurs and their companies, especially entrepreneurs that go through Kansas City business accelerators. It’s meant to backup our brethren of doers, and assuage the power that accompany unproductive criticism. This essay is meant to frame non-entrepreneurs’ expectations about what our companies can offer now; as well as what they’ll offer, eventually.
We love you. We need you. And we’re sorry.
You are our eventual customers; our eventual investors; our eventual press; our eventual employees; and eventually our biggest supporters. Right now, we don’t deserve you, and we know it.
Kansas City business accelerators teach their startup entrepreneurs to go fast. Launch fast, ship early, and tweak regularly. On a macroeconomic level: we guarantee this will create an environment of innovation that society yearns for. On a microeconomic level: we guarantee that this speed will result in imperfect early-stage businesses that aren’t ready for public transparency and judgement. In other words, going fast is innovation’s prerequisite – but that same speed brings problems that are hard to justify to the untrained eye.
Our software will have bugs. Our design won’t win awards. Our revenues won’t be sexy. The list goes on. Remember, we’re not businesses yet – we’re startups. We wish we could be businesses sooner, but for now, we’re doing the best we can.
Currently, we’re building healthy foundations; foundations that will be built upon for decades. We don’t say the word ‘foundation’ as a lip service, either. The formative steps of starting a company are as important as the days for which a home’s foundation is poured. It’s the most important part of the home; it must be built first; you can’t see it from the street; and if it’s not built properly – the house will fall apart. You deserve a strong foundation because you deserve for us to build you something that lasts forever.
In order to do such things we make long-term decisions. Decisions that might not be legible at this stage of business, but will one day be clear-as-day. At that time feel free to call us “overnight success stories”, but for now we’ll be building things that are anything but. For this, we’re sorry.
We’re also sorry we’re not in the press everyday. We’re sorry that we’re not at every networking event for entrepreneurs in Kansas City. We’ve learned that these things are fun, and valuable – but relative to other things that we’ve experimented with, they’re not necessarily the best use of our time.
We’re sorry that comparing our startups to pre-existing businesses is impossible. Apples to oranges impossible. It’s impossible because we’re not trying to be like those pre-existing businesses, we’re building things that are different. We’re obsessed with running tests that prove we’re on to something, and that prove you want what we’re building.
We’re sorry for not looking like the entrepreneurs in movies. We don’t buy fancy cars, live in fancy homes, wear fancy clothing, or travel the world in style. We’re sacrificing those things, for you.
We’re sorry it’s so trendy to start companies right now. As an entrepreneurial society, this is all our fault. Kansas City business accelerators attempt to delineate between those that are doing, and those that aren’t, but it’s not a perfect system. This makes it hard to decide who to meet with, who to support, who to follow, and who to buy from.
You are our co-workers, our city’s citizens, our press outlets; you’re the people we love and care about. We’re sorry that we’re not giving you as much attention as we did before we ‘took the leap’. Part of our motivation for building these great companies is for you. We understand the irony: building something for you ends up taking us away from you. But understand this is temporary. It’s our calling, and we must pursue it.