Is the Startup Community On Island Time?

“The startup community is on island time and you my friend are still on hyper-drive, New York City time.”

This is how a friend and advisor tried to help me to understand how things work relative to the pace of certain aspects of the tech and startup communities. It actually resonates (thus the blog here) but what I want to know is: where is the nice sandy beach, cold beer, and jerk chicken? Okay I’ve been to an incubator’s office where they had beer on tap, I’m not sure if it was cold, but we are being laid-back here (or at least trying), so we can check beer off the list. How about the rest? When I take an island vacation I usually get a little tan even if I’m wearing SPF 50. Instead, my co-founder and I are working around the clock seven days a week and are starting to look a little sallow. Don’t get me wrong we love what we are doing and wouldn’t trade it for re-entry into hyper-drive, New York, investment banking deadlines BUT, years of adhering to those deadlines did not prepare us the combination of an urgency to grow one’s business and the Reggae-style, forgiving nature of the pace of parts of this.

Not everything is laid-back though, if that were the case we’d probably just take up meditation or sign-up for more yoga classes. When I say not everything is laid-back I’m looking at you rigid space counts and time limits. —Pitch your whole business in 140 characters, spaces included. Really?!? Or even better a seven second “elevator pitch.” Where is the elevator that gets you anyplace in seven seconds? Then of course, there is the adjustment you made to one tiny bit of code that crashes EVERYTHING.  The pattern seems to be a more forgiving human side but when code is written with a character or time limit you can expect not to get one second more or to be able to squeeze in one extra comma.

If I’m really honest we’ve adapted to parts of this already. We only launched two months ago and already redesigned the website once at least, we changed vendors and overhauled one of our newsletters and finished a substantial overhaul of our original pitch materials. (Apologies to those who have found this disorienting). We might not have been humming Bob Marley while we did it, but for two women who spent lengthy careers in highly structured environments it’s probably the equivalent of kicking off our shoes ahead of that walk on the beach.




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