CK Japheth Profile picture
22 Feb, 11 tweets, 3 min read
Is starting a startup about living the dream?

Here are some uncomfortable truths about starting. It looks glossy & it feels like you are part of the group putting a man on Mars, but NO. It's not. But first, a startup is not a small SME or a small version of a big business.
A startup is also not about tech innovation or invention, it's about new “business models” & generating value in new unproven ways. Its not about the word technology, although that would be nice. Its centered on scale & repeatable. Failure is guaranteed, success is a plus.

A start-up is a company confused about

1.What its product is.
2.Who its customers are.
3. How to make money
–Dave McClure, 500 Startups
Success depends on speed to figure the above while everything is going against you.


On Failure.

You will fail, almost everyday. It will hurt-everytime, like its the first time. What you don't have going for you is that our culture looks down on failure. You will be mocked for each failure, remember failure is where great ideas get built, not where they die.

On Team.
Bad news; calling yourself CEO & Founder means nothing. A startup is not about being boss. Your co-founders, early team will most likely quit on you. All their reasons will be RIGHT. Those who stay, will hate you even more for the uncomfortable process of DISCOVERY.

On Capital
No one will tell you but you don’t deserve the capital. It will only come after you’ve built up some value. Don't chase it, focus on your value & the type of capital you need because if the wrong capital comes, its terms could make you worse off even kill you.

The Pioneer gap..

The hardest of them all but one you cant wish away. The gap between when your startup launches but is not yet investable & when it is at a later stage where it is investable. No one wants to touch you here. If you don’t die here, you might never die.

On Family..

Most will not understand you, don’t be unfair to them by expecting them to. You decided to work on something you dont clearly understand with no guarantee of success. But make no mistake, you must understand them & be there for them even when it seems impossible

On Fear.

You will feel the fear - EVERYDAY. Worrying itself is a form of fear enough to kill you. You have to learn to feel the fear and do it anyway. Your head will be handed to you everyday by something you didn’t anticipate. You have to find a way of coming back everyday.
On Mental Health..

A big one mostly taken for granted by our culture as a sign of weakness. Ignore at your own risk. Self care is key because the hardest part will not be when others cannot understand you, it will be when you can’t understand yourself. It just wont be once.

On Time...

Staying longer at the game, is not a guarantee of success. Unfortunately, you can still work on it 2 or 3 and even 5 years and failure is an option. If you still want to #StartaStartup after this, lets discuss how to improve your odds of success. (No guarantees 😊)

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More from @CKJapheth

9 Sep 20

I get 100s of requests for mentorship+capital from people looking to start. Most believe they’re the NEXT BIG IDEA & should be handled with care. I see me when I got started so I thought I should share what’s obvious now that I didn’t know then.
If all you have is an idea & have nothing to show, don’t look for support, you don’t deserve it. Show enough skin in the game before anyone believes you. No one will do for you what you’ve failed to do for yourself. Use what you have to show you can use more. Show progress.
How to start a startup; this is an old classic. I use it all the time. I ask people to come back when they’ve reached launch level. We shall throw our weight behind them, not at “I have an idea level” we all do anyway. It shows they’ve invested everything they have. Just work.
Read 10 tweets
22 Dec 19
Why I believe in Entrepreneurs. (A short story)

After God, I fear STARTUP. Here are 10 Entrepreneurs that have made me believe more in Entrepreneurs in 2019.
It’s not about what their startups do, it’s about their stories of grit & spirit of always bouncing back, no matter what!
1. @iMalinzi of @digestafrica has the most complete resource of information & data about early stage tech companies, investors, accelerators & deals across Africa. First in (6AM) last out (10PM) & evidence that startup is not for the fainthearted. Down but certainly not out
2. @Anatoli411 of @YungaTech18 has a next-gen community security company that connects neighbor to neighbor & to police in case of an emergency. When we first met, he was building IT solutions. That’s not a startup, I said. Been through the fire but you can’t keep him down.
Read 12 tweets
22 Nov 19
Building a $1bn company(A short story)

Here’s a picture for the ages. 2 companies represented valued at $1bn, only that is @MitchellElegbe @InterswitchGRP story and I’m just the guy showing him around (a story for another day).
I couldn’t help but notice the humility, there are startup founders that have an idea but look like they need police sirens to clear the way for them.
He spoke about what entrepreneurs do when the facts change. Here are 10 things I walked away with.
1. AFRICA is not Silicon Valley. The rules that apply here won’t apply there. Our chaos is different, Porter’s 5 forces won’t work here. You will need to create your ecosystem while taking advantage of others being created.
Read 12 tweets

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