Earlier this year, I wrote a post on entrepreneurship, where I reflected on the many highs and lows associated with starting one’s own business. It was a topic I’d spent a lot of time re-visiting, thanks in part to a passion project I’ve been able to pursue over the last two years, thanks to my role at AWS working with startups.
Part of the reason why I took this job, was to leverage the substantial capabilities of a tech giant like Amazon in finding new ways to help entrepreneurs. Yes, it’s a statistic regularly cited within tech circles; 90% of all startups will fail. Having been through a not so successful stint at attempting this myself, I already knew that. Yet I wanted to focus on doing everything I possibly could to proverbially wrap our arms around these passionate founders, and lift them up when they needed it the most. The question I wanted to answer was whether I could identify some of the more common causes of failure? And by doing so, could I attempt to counter-combat some of these with the means made available to me within the scope of my role?
Startup Stories: Notes from Founders came about because much of the literature I’d read and the many conversations I’d had with entrepreneurs (plus my own experiences), all pointed to the same pressure point: exposure. Being invisible because of all the company’s precious resources being invested in building the product, non-existent marketing budgets, and the lack of expertise around how to growth-hack one’s way into mainstream consciousness, is often the cruel reality of a small founding team. I understood all of this. But the difference this time was that I had a far-reaching platform that offered the kind of visibility these startups could really benefit from. It allowed me to pick some of the promising founders building companies on AWS, and put these folks on a pedestal to shout about all the amazing work being undertaken. Last year I was able to mobilise action, and the project was born. Fast forward to circa now, and we’ve just wrapped up six months of promotional activity for Startup Stories Volume II.
It’s been an amazing ride. I want to thank all our featured founders for being game to take part, while openly sharing the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly tribulations of startup life. While this second volume of 25 stories is a mere snapshot in time that covers everything from fundraising, finding a co-founder, pricing strategies and beyond, the lessons learnt and the advice on offer is evergreen.
So to all the intrepid startup founders out there building the innovative companies of tomorrow, I say thank you. Thank you for your unwavering fortitude and the spirited motivation you bring to the task at hand every single day. This one’s dedicated to you.