Startup Life: It’s Time To Play The Field

by Lauren Schneidewind on April 7, 2016

Working and living within the Startup community can be such an amazing experience. Every single day can bring in something new, exciting, and even terrifying to the table. As a part of this thriving community, I have learned one very valuable lesson, be flexible. I have to always remind myself to keep an open mind and never get yourself stuck in one particular direction unable to make a lifesaving pivot for your business. This flexibility is particularly crucial within the tech startup world (bubble). This need or desire to remain unattached and avoid unnecessary commitments was probably where my love affair with Ruby on Rails began.

Over the years I have become more and more committed to Ruby on Rails, not exclusive, but committed. Part of my business is based on supporting and growing other tech based businesses. I see a great deal of awesome ideas coming through my doors and I love when I see a success story. I think my largest startup I have worked on just passed the $250 million mark and growing everyday. (I can feel the $1 billion coming on with this business and am so excited over their success. In hindsight, I would have loved to have an ownership stake in that one, if only I had a psychic in my back pocket that I could depend on).

I love seeing these success stories and they are one of the best parts of this community. However, they are unfortunately the exception to the rule. Everyone in the startup community knows the basic statistics about how 90% of businesses fail, and actually only 10% of those successful make it past $250k/year, which narrows even further to 4% of businesses to ever make it past the $1 Million Dollar mark. These statistics aren’t great, and I refuse to base my success off of other people’s statistics. I believe in my abilities regardless of what everyone else is doing…and while tenacity and persistence might be two key attributes to “successful” business people, they can only get us so far.

I could literally talk for hours and hours about all of the qualities that I believe make LD Studios a success or any business for that matter, but I will stick to one, and only one today: Flexibility. Startups need to be able to adapt and move quickly, which is why I love bringing tech ideas to life utilizing Ruby on Rails. We can build ideas out in days-weeks-months instead of months-years-multiple years. This also means because of this “fast” development time, if someone changes his or her mind or a market changes/shifts, it’s no big deal. We are able to adjust with minimal money down the drain compared to more robust, completely custom platforms out there, where 6 months was spent going in the wrong direction. I personally wouldn’t get married right after my first date, that type of commitment level just isn’t for me. There is a time and a place for using those more widely used robust languages…it is rarely the best fit in the startup world. But then again, we have all heard about that couple that met in middle school and made it work. I would rather keep my options open and see what works for me, while I grow up and figure out whom I am. Isn’t that kind of what we are going through running a startup?

Flexibility is the key to remaining viable in the startup days. It can be liberating to get back out there and play the field until your startup finds the one. Until then my friends, enjoy the ride!

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