23 March 2018


Retired Member

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Entrepreneurs, startups, the fireball and the engine

28 May 2015  |  2031 views  |  0

For anyone starting or joining a startup you need to understand something important. Entrepreneurs, like all creative people, are pure petrol*.

Extracting, refining, and transporting petrol is complex, costly, sensitive, time consuming to get right. Even once it’s ready to pump, petrol is delicate and dangerous. Throw it about, it’ll evaporate. Leave it in the canister too long, it’ll spoil. But light a match at the perfect moment, and BOOM you have a fireball.

And a fireball is just what you need to get a startup started and up. In fact the bigger, the brighter the fireball the better. It attracts attention, it generates heat, it’s scary, it’s magnificent. Find other entrepreneurs to launch with, ideal. Greater the fireball, greater the traction, greater the chance your venture gets off the ground, but that’s only half the story. If you’re not careful the fireball will burn your house down, with you in it.

Build a highly tuned engine however and petrol can drive a ton of metal at 150 miles per hour. But an engine is a complex thing. You don’t build it overnight. You don’t build it on your own. It’s not built of petrol. It involves multiple parts built by multiple teams out of multiple materials. Build the engine right and the car will go like a dream. Build it wrong and you’ll constantly be with the repair man. Really mess up, the engine may blow and take the the car with it, with you inside.

So if you’re the petrol. Awesome, you’re a far rarer commodity than petrol itself. Find more petrol, find the match, get that fireball started, build the future you want, but at some point remember you need the engine built round you. Don’t underestimate the need to find master engine builders and the best craftspeople for each and every part. There’s no car without petrol. There’s no car without an engine. You’ll need both, and they must work in harmony. And you need to be clear which engine is going to best suit the petrol you pump through it.

It’s going to fiddly, it’s going to be hard work, and it‘s got to follow a master plan. It’s not going to be easy but that’s half the fun. Get it spot on, dead on, and that car is going to fly…….maybe literally, if that’s what business is building!

Well that’s that metaphor well and truly exhausted! Good luck!

*Gasoline for those who don’t speak weird British english


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