Six Seconds, Second Best: Lessons for Start-Ups from the end of VineBy Ryan Cochrane On
Six seconds is a surprisingly long time to fill with content.
Sure, it's short enough as keep the attention of even the most time-deprived viewer. But using it in a way that wasn't gimmicky and delivered value was always going to be an issue. 4 years since acquiring the platform for $30m, it was another stark reminder that the brightest burning start-ups, especially in the technology space, often do so from both ends of the candle. Building sustainable success is a difficult subject - indeed, if a blog managed to solve this question, we'd be asking for a sizeable fee! But from the perspective of a start-up in the technology space, here's our 3 key learning points.
Everything has a price
There's always a bigger fish, and there's always a higher bidder. The fact that for Vine this ran into the millions of dollars is one thing, but when it comes to valuing your business - and more importantly, your intellectual property - it's easy to get very lost, very fast. Here in the UK, there's a number of great publications and league tables that bid to do this, such as the IP 100, and more. While this value will rarely be quantified into hard currency, if the day should come that it is, it pays off to know what you're worth.
Get what you're worth
Knowing what the business is worth, and actually getting that figure, are two very different concepts. In reality, they often exist at two opposite ends of the spectrum. To bridge that gap, and make sure that your start-up is positioned for success, aim to build it on a sustainable model - spend the money in your pocket, but don't go overboard just because some funding came in. Investment is to drive growth, it's not the end of the journey. Remaining mindful that the race is long means that should offers of support or takeover arise, you'll have the confidence to push back, or walk away.
Saying "No" isn't always a good thing
Remember that scene in The Social Network, where Sean Parker's telling a young Mark Zuckerberg about why selling and monetising is a bad thing? He's not entirely wrong. But he's not fully right either. Often, start-up operators hold on the keys for that fraction too long. While there's no shortage of stories of people who hopped off the wagon just that little bit too early, there's also a deluge of situations where people got off at just the right time. If it feels like you've taken a project as far as you can, it's time to move on. Even if your former start-up becomes a multi-billion dollar company, the reality is that there's no guarantee you would have got it there. Know yourself, and don't be misled into saying yes or no because of pressures or perceptions - always take the course that feels right for you.