So this post is about start-ups. Some people like them and some people hate them. As a company, RedCat Digital is situated smack-bang in Old Street, right near a huge amount of start-ups – so I don’t even go a day without walking past one (most notably Lyst and their office dogs looking out the window).
Now start-ups are pretty cool in lots of respects, I think. You look at companies like Airbnb – the simplest idea in the world, an easy way to rent your place out for a period of time and an easy way to advertise it. I personally look at every start-up like that and wonder how I didn’t think of the idea. But seriously, not every start-up has to be ‘the Uber of…’ or, ‘like Airbnb, but…’
I’m not trying to make every blog post I do about over-saturated markets, but I’m seeing a huge amount of start-up ideas and thoughts being thrown around – more specifically this idea of comparing your start-up to an established company seems like the wrong idea to me. If you have to use another company’s approach to explain your own, is your idea really unique enough? When people think of Uber, Appear Here and Deliveroo, no one makes these comparisons – even before they were big! This was because it was so easy to describe what they were doing and how.
I’ve always thought the main idea of start-ups is to come up with something that no one else has thought of yet – but we have Deliveroo, Jinn, Uber Eats, foodpanda, Hello Fresh, Gousto… how many more food delivery based start-ups do we need? It’s a seriously crowded market in particular, and it’s spilling dangerously into the culture of start-ups in general, and I haven’t even touched upon delivery start-ups in general.
In 2016, The Telegraph reported that 50% of UK start-ups fail in five years – 580,000 were formed and 600,000 were formed in 2016. By that rate, by 2021, 580,000 start-ups will have failed and fallen down the cracks. There’s more than one reason for all of this – partly to do with poor business planning, bad marketing and problems that can barely be forecasted. But I don’t imagine those are the only reasons – stick to the roots of what start-ups are for: originality, innovation and being exciting.
Please don’t take this post as saying ‘I hate start-ups’ – I think they’re awesome and the idea of bringing something new to a hole in the market is important to the competitiveness of more established companies, but Christ, please make it something new.