If a startup pivots in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?
No. That’s why, when you decide to move your business in a different direction, you need a handy template to explain that thought process to your total addressable market via your company blog.
It looks something like this.
A couple of months after I read Adam Davidson’s article What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work, I quit my job. I realized that how I wanted to work in tech and in entrepreneurship was how my friend Meena works on film: she finds projects she likes, she attaches herself to them, those projects go out into the universe, she puts them into a portfolio, and she continues to call herself a director of photography. No affiliation.
I grew up loving film and wanting to do film. I think 8th grade me understood that I didn’t have the ability to focus on one project for the rest of my life and I wanted to work on giant collaborative projects that had the potential to make people (me) famous.
Two years ago this week I was working at a tech company at 1871, Chicago’s tech co-working space, and I commented on a post about the lack of women in tech on the Built in Chicago forum. An editor from Crain’s Chicago Business reached out to me to see if I would expand on my ideas and write an editorial for the magazine about why I thought there weren’t more women working in Chicago tech. Why they didn’t ask the original post author, Reva Minkoff, I don’t know, but I think the editors were specifically interested in my somewhat unbridled remarks that 1871 was filled with dudes. If technology was going to be the next big industry in Chicago, they prompted me, wouldn’t it be a pity if it turned out to be just another white boys’ club like so many industries that have come before it?
I come up with business ideas in the shower. On the airplane. Wherever. Each one seems really great when it occurs to me but I eventually get tired of mulling it over and when it loses steam, I add it to the dreams deferred pile.
I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Probably be a business owner. The problem is, I have so many business ideas, I can’t decide which idea to start. Which idea defines me as a person? Which one marries my skills with my passions, but also make sense financially? Should I launch a line of practical, colorful children’s clothing? Or open a co-working coffee shop?
In 1993, I had a seventh grade English class essay assignment to “Invent a New Product.” The product I invented was Netflix.
My teacher didn’t think this was brilliant. She gave me a ‘B’ because what I’d invented “was a good idea, but not a product.” Without the proper encouragement, I diligently completed the rest of the year’s worth of assignments in the Mead notebook, wrote some sophomore’s name in hearts on the teal front cover, and never thought about it again until twenty years later when I was working as a marketing manager for a tech startup and I happened upon it when cleaning my apartment.
Holy shit, I thought. I invented Netflix.
This animated logo, extremely prevalent during my childhood, has informed all my adult musical tastes.
You can find more of these on the Saamiblog Flickr stream.