In the spirit of the famous "Powers of Ten" film by the Eames Office, here's an exponential look at startups. Each step is a 10x increase beyond the previous one.
Startups by the numbers:
The number of chances you get to choose your founders.
Select right and you have a chance to make it big. Choose wrong, and no matter how great your idea or technology or product is, you will eventually fail.
The number of employees you'll have before you don't fit into someone's apartment anymore.
Someone will be constantly filling up the coffee machine's water reservoir, and you'll have the first instance of someone leaving something bad in the bathroom that no one owns up to.
The team size at which almost no one in your company will know everyone else's name.
New people will walk around the office and you'll wonder if they work here or if they are just visiting. No selection of available beverages will be wide enough to satisfy everyone anymore.
The amount of the first monthly AWS bill that you get and say to yourself "oh, our service is starting to cost real money to operate."
This will be followed by a set of urgent meetings to turn off a bunch of stuff everyone forgot about and no one uses anymore.
The amount it costs to have lawyers do just about anything.
You're chagrined when you pay all of that and get back only a 30-page PDF, but on the other hand, you didn't have to spend a decade learning the difference between force majeure & locus standi, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The deal amount of the first enterprise SaaS sale that will make your company feel like you are on the path to success! Everyone will 🎉
And then you realize you have to do that again like a zillion more times and everyone gets back to work.
A great seed round for your startup, which will cost between 20% and 40% ownership in your company if you are a first-time founding team.
You'll be elated to have funding, but the money goes fast and you've already sold a big piece of the pie. Build fast and be right!
The amount of ARR (annual recurring revenue) you are supposed to need in enterprise SaaS to be on path to inevitable success.
Of course, big parts of your company will still be held together by duct tape and hard work. And fast follower copycats will be coming soon!
The number of Trello cards and/or Jira tickets you will have generated by the time your startup IPOs.
Also, the number of times someone will have used an emoji in Slack that you didn't understand. 🏺📯 🆖 🎴
The valuation that authorizes your startup to be called a "unicorn." 🦄
If you play your cards right, you might get to be a guest shark in season 100 of Shark Tank (CNBC only.) At the very least, by now there's at least one unfunny "Fake [YourName]" Twitter account.
The amount of revenue Apple makes roughly every two weeks. It was started in a garage, just like your startup. Except your garage was called WeWork and had beer on tap and funky wallpaper.
You probably should have co-founded with Steve Jobs. (Just sayin’.)
You've done it! 1 trillion employees. Even more than the total number of Amazon delivery drivers and Uber drivers combined.
Retire in style! (If you have any equity left.) 💚