Scanning Crains NY Business recently, I saw an article on ‘starting up’ in 54 hours. It’s the brainchild of Marc Nager, Clint Nelsen and Franck Nouyrigat called Startup Weekend. Startup bootcamps seem to be the current extra-curricular activity of choice these days. Wharton is also getting in on it with their Innovation Tournament. Then there is the 48 Hour Startup and of course let’s not forget the 3 Day Startup.
So what’s my beef? Truth be told I admire the ambition, the optimism, and the openness of these efforts. And for sure these bootstrapping marathons do introduce entrepreneurs to future colleagues and partners, get them asking the right questions about financing, customers, revenue, competition and so forth.
My problem with these events is they frame startups as something you *can* do quickly. As if it were a Lego set or pop-up book that gives instant results and gratification. Sure startups are 21st century tech-driven business that provide innovative products in a very short development cycle but a lot of the day-to-day running of the business are still very mundane 20th century sensibilities; not unlike running a mom and pop store, a laundromat, deli or sandwich shop.