Operating Manual (vs. recipe for success)

I realized recently that while many are searching for the startup playbook to execute on or the recipe for success, the harsh reality is they don’t exist. While you can glean great steps to repeat that have worked, and avoid pitfalls that plagued others – there is no perfect model for building a successful company. 

The above Tweets over the weekend really drive this home. See above for two thought streams/tweetstorms about so called “good ideas” and “bad ideas” and how each can be helpful.

Through combing through my resources for BuildingTheMachine.com I realized I am compiling a manual.

By doing so I can curate and craft these links to get you off of the site as soon as possible to figure out your own path in the hopes that material found will be of some use. I have started thinking about this a little bit like Google in the early days. The faster you find what you need, the more successful you are (and in the process, the site is).

Thinking about these resources as an operating manual is similar to the manual for a car or a bike. Nobody can write up the use cases creative folks can imagine, or capture the limits you can push one of these devices too. Instead they can provide frameworks and tools to keep things in order. Manuals can provide guidance for care and replacement – while also providing standards for maintenance and repair. The best part about so called “standards” for entrepreneurs is that they typically don’t remain so for long. They break the molds (and sometimes bend rules) to their will. 

Trying to capture all the “procedures” and “steps” in the first place is against what it takes to start a business. Many of the best founders use their ignorance on a topic or sector as a bonus towards plowing through obstacles when they happen. Some of the best folks I have worked with don’t know the walls facing them. The unknown unknowns are a naive motivator – if they knew they may stop (or perhaps never even start). 

My point is that providing a manual is the best we can do, but better to get the heck out of the way and let the drivers drive.

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