The Five Types of Startup Founders
Featuring the characters of HBO’s Silicon Valley:
We are a startup here at Unreel. It is an exciting prospect, getting to grow an idea into the next big thing in online video. Startups can have a variety of different founders, we are lucky to have great ones. Typically though, founders can be put into five categories:
1. The Programmer:
The Steve Wozniak type. They do not need to fit the painfully stereotypical never talked to a girl, seen the sun, or heard of Clearasil mold, but something isn’t right. They can code like no other, but when it comes to social situation, something is lacking. Their goal is to make an awesome product, without any idea how it will make money. They might not even care that it doesn’t make money; they want to create amazing code, not necessarily scale a company. At pitches to VC’s it becomes clear that the Programmer is capable of doing just that, but not much else without guidance.
2. The Poser:
They talk a big game, and are not afraid to bring up their minimally successful past. In fact it’s all they talk about. They posses no discernible skill that adds value to the start up, aside from their mouth, and even that is up for debate. They love to throw out buzzwords with no substance behind them, “We are going to pivot to disrupt the IoT industry using Big Data and synergy.” Essentially verbal diarrhea. The Poser is usually able to hitch their wagon to a naive founder, who will fall for their questionable experience, and business acumen. In the end a Poser may not ruin a startup, but they hurt more than they help.
3. The Sizzle:
Their ideas are not revolutionary. Like putting Internet on the radio. But they can hustle and push their concept until it catches. Their team is always decked out in company “swag” that they insist spending budget on, despite the startups ever shortening runway. The Sizzle thinks they are a Rockstar and acts accordingly. There is always something exciting going on with the Sizzle, even if it does nothing to move the needle for the startup. The Sizzle can be an asset, but only if they are kept focused by a responsible team around them.
4. The Visionary:
They aren’t one trend ahead of the market, they are seven. This is the Steve Jobs. They know what the people will want, even when the people don’t. The visionary can share many of the features of the Sizzle, but they have the ideas to back it up. A Visionary founder can step back, and use contextual clues to see underserved markets and address them. Once a Visionary has earned their tittle, they become apart of a self-fulfilling prophecy. By proclaiming a trend will be the next big thing, people buy it, and make it popular. Better yet, Visionaries can invent problems people don’t even have, and then present them with a solution they didn’t know they need, and they buy it because a “Visionary” told them to.
5. The Investor Founder:
They may not have come up with the original idea, but they know what to do with it. This person has already built and scaled businesses; it’s not their first rodeo. They understand that taking a great product to market is only part of the start up equation. Using experience, and industry know-how they can help carry a team to a successful exit. They lead a team from hacking in the garage, to a true business with an office that includes a coffee machine. From making smart first hires, to effective partnerships, the investor founder is integral to a start-ups growth.
Unreel’s founders are a combination of the best of these archetypes. Check out what they have managed to create at Unreel.co.
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