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Run Like A Startup

by John Gattuso

About a week ago, the VentureLab folks set up a get together to plan the next semester for Startup House. Residents and teachers alike joined in to give feedback on the program and how to improve the experience. Sitting in this meeting, I found myself smiling. Startup House was being run like a startup.

In a startup, when user experience is lackluster, when customer retention is in the trashbin, when any and every metric is moving in the wrong direction, you make changes. You talk to people, you design experiments, you get user feedback, you improve the product, and you repeat the process. The same thing is happening with Startup House.

We, the members of this first group, are the early adopters. We are the people who deal with the flaws in the product and help improve to it. The product will begin getting better and better. Startup House will start growing. Word of this awesome program will spread like wildfire. Soon, we will hit the proverbial “product/market fit.” There has been massive growth in adoption since the first day of Startup House in August and I am excited to see how big this can get in the future.

From Startup House to TAing for Startup Lab, to FIXD, it seems that everyone I talk to is interested in startups. It’s almost as if startup has become its own buzzword, its own cliche. From talking to friends and family over the holidays it appears that many are delusional to what a startup really is. Many think it is the high life: you set your own hours, you don’t have a boss, and someone just throws money at you. I can’t tell you how many friends have asked me if I am a millionaire yet, or why I don’t have massage chairs and catered meals for the office. This sensationalized view of startups is crazy. Who really wants a startup afterall? Running a startup comes with ridiculous hours (you do get to set your own hours, all of them), responsibility for others livelihood, little to no pay, and the pain of repeated failure.

I don’t want a startup; a startup is a temporary organization searching for a repeatable and scalable business model. I want a company. That is the end game. I want an organization that can stand on its own, that can thrive without outside funding, that has passionate customers who cannot live without the product. This is the goal, the startup is just the arduous journey towards the light on the other side of the tunnel.

About the Author: John Gattuso has been sharing monthly updates about his experience as a student with a startup living in GT’s Startup House. Stay tuned to follow his journey as a budding entrepreneur.

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