Saw this post on Facebook about Mr.Thordur Magnusson, the Chairman of Eyrir Invest. Eyrir has been one of the private venture investors in Iceland and they have strong track record in their portfolio like Caldiris, Marorka, Ossur, Marel etc all household names in Iceland. They have a strategy of Buy and Build, which means the Eyrir team takes an active role in the running of the company, actually it is an oxymoron I don’t know of any Private Equity or Venture Investor who is hands off, anyways, that discussion is for another day. I liked one of the statements Thordur made which is Eyrir’s overnight success has been 11 years of hard work. Again, those who have not done this always get surprise how long it takes to start, build, scale and make a company resilient and sustainable. All things take time, especially when you are building things, because a startup is an experiment and it takes time to really figure out the product to market fit, developing a sales and economic engine, constantly fine tuning the business model, keeping people motivated about working for a purpose than money etc I am amazed when we start listing these things there are so many intangibles that have to be in place and if we slack on anything it would lead to the ultimate demise of the effort. As much as I want to believe that it takes time to build something, it does not have to that way, when we want to learn a skill we take a class or practice it and get better at it by repeatedly doing it. Of course it takes time to get really good at it, Why cannot the same thing be applied to startups and entrepreneurship? We all don’t have to re-invent the wheel, lets just learn and adopt the wheel making strategy and try to improve on it. I really like Brad Feld and David Cohen‘s book “Do More Faster“, I think it aligns and sequences a lot of things in place when you want to do a startup, combine that book with the “4 Steps to Epiphany“, “The Lean Startup” and “Business Model Generation“, you have all the required knowledge in place. But these books cannot teach you discipline, persistance, resilience and just being a hustler (street skills, which is getting stuff done!). This is where the team comes in, I have written a lot about Team Composition and how picking startups to bet on is an Art and not Science. You should have been in picking teams business for a long time to understand how team dynamics work and picking the right skill set. Fred Wilson wrote about this a couple of days back on how betting on startups in like playing poker, and to get really good at poker you need a lot of skill, practice and I guess Chutzpah.
I want to disprove this myth that it takes a long time to build a company because there are many examples where that is not the case. It takes a long time to build a successful global companies but resilient and sustainable companies can be built in a shorter period of time. I like to invest in the mess like Fred says.