Archive for February, 2013

Entrepreneurship and Investors – Contradiction?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

While get more and more involved in entrepreneurship I see certain patterns that are used all over the place. One particular thing is really something where I would not follow what most people do or want do: Having an investor.

Many startups and entrepreneurs have some sort of business idea (or general idea and they hope it will bring money eventually *gg*). But in order to get to a point that the business would run it requires resources such as time and money. And if you work fulltime you need to your bills somehow. So the idea of having an investor is for most people a very much liked possibility. Someone else pays while you work for it and in the end you sort of share the return in some split.

What is that really what you want? I mean I can speak only for myself but the idea of that someone else pays me and I work is not really why I am an entrepreneur (at least not generally). Especially since it tends to be that investors and business angels get a higher and higher role in the startup I often ask myself “Is that really what you would want?”.

As of now I am a 21 year old guy who is studying at the same time as I am an entrepreneur. I have two fulltime employees and my main company (Skelpo) is offering services in programming in mobile and web. Yes I do not have the financial flexibility to just employ more people and do way bigger projects and lot’s of “riskier” things.

But I would not want it any other way: I work for my own money and I am not responsible for anyone on how I spend my time (which is one of my main reasons why I am entrepreneur). The money we get with Skelpo is mainly used to invest in other projects and to start several things at the same time. Yes – oh my gosh – I am not “focussed” on only one and only one thing. But who cares? I am not responsible for anyone else’s money and I can afford to do that.

And you know what? That freedom, that is what I want – nothing else. Working for money and having safety – if I wanted that I’d work for a company. But my goals are higher and I want to do different things in different areas.

So, what do you think? Am I ruining myself by that or is that just another lifestyle of entrepreneurship?

By the way: I may be wrong but as long as I remember correctly neither Apple nor Google or any other really big company started with a BA or investor from the beginning. Most of their things were either self-financed or they had really good loans. And don’t get me wrong. A BA or investor is not necessarily a bad thing at all! At a certain point it is probably not possible to survive with one (can’t tell, haven’t been there yet *gg*). But having one from the beginning and working more for “him/her” … that idea is just killing me. ;)

Ah, one thing: I am not opposed at all to silent investors. As long as you have the freedom to totally “waste” your money and time I’d go along with that.

Breaking Bad – Is it a good TV show to watch?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The following article is dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who prompted me to question my viewing of the popular show, Breaking Bad. She first asked whether or not I thought the show is a good influence on me. Using Philippians 4:8 (Bible),which talks about thinking noble, honorable, and good things, she gave a quite a bit to think about, which I will put before you here.

Many questions come to mind when I think about this show, such as “Does Breaking Bad glorify violence?” “Does it send out the message that wrongdoing is acceptable in some situations?” “Why do we laugh at the suffering of others? It shouldn’t be funny.” the answers to these questions usually prompt many to not watch shows and or movies such as Breaking Bad or any of Quentin Tarantino e.g., which can also be quite violent.

To start, let’s look at what Vince Gilligen, the author of Breaking Bad, has to say about morals and consequences:

If religion is a reaction of man, and nothing more, it seems to me that it represents a human desire for wrongdoers to be punished. I hate the idea of Idi Amin living in Saudi Arabia for the last 25 years of his life. That galls me to no end. I feel some sort of need for biblical atonement, or justice, or something….” “My girlfriend says this…’I want to believe there’s a heaven. But I can’t not believe there’s a hell.’…”

In this quote, Gilligen is pointing out the underlying purpose of Breaking Bad. It is to make people aware of the good and bad in the world, as well as the consequences people incur when they do wrong things.

So, What is right and what is wrong? How far is each man willing to go to take care of, protect, or provide for his family? Does the end justify the means? – These are the real questions and each man must answer for himself. It is also true that depending on the answer, one may gain reward or consequence.

Through the show, we follow Walter White, a normal, likeable science teacher, who chooses to “cook” methamphetamine (drugs). He sees everything as “O.K.” through his scientific mind. As time goes on it is only natural to hate him. We continually see what happens to him as he follows down that path and how it affects others around him, especially his family.

In the beginning his motive for this new job is his desire to provide for his family once he is dead from (secret) cancer. He hooks up with a former student of his, Jessie Pinkman, and falls into the drug life. In the beginning his actions and their repercussions cause him to want out, but in the end he continues. His drug dealings lead him into greed. So, though he started with the desire to provide for his family, he ends up pushing them away.

Walter’s partner, Jessie, is the second most important characters in the show. (he is the comic relief.) Though he too is on the wrong track in the drug business, he has his morals and stands by them as often as he can. He does not betray anyone, encourages good in his young family members and holds to what he believes. When he is forced to murder someone, we see him wrestle with it. He sticks to being himself, taking ever assault against his morals seriously. He is against murder, the injustice of harming the innocent, and cheating. He sees those who take drugs as their own masters, they have chosen to lead that life, and its not his responsibility. By removing the drugs and low life, Jessie is the hero, keeping his morals and encouraging good in the young.

I have watched quite a few of the interviews produced by those who are in the show, which by the way, a good way to know the intentions of those behind it. An interesting point that was made in them was, that Walt’s cancer directly influences him. It is his cancer that causes him to act the way he does. As it spreads over his body, his actions and consequence spread out, covering those he loves or interacts with.

Back to the point;

Is watching a show like this bad? (especially for those who follow Christ Jesus.)

I would say that it depends on the person. While I may be able to handle it, others may not. Likeweise for other situations. I also think that depending on how you view the show will influence your decision to watch or not watch the show.

I ask myself, “Does it directly reflect my real life?” It doesn’t for me and I hope the same goes for you. (If it does reflect your life, then I would encourage turning yourself in to the authorities.)

Lastly, I look at the grim humor in the show. I used to call it “dark humor”, but truly “what does that mean?” And “Is it a good thing?” I would I would characterize “dark humor” as irony, sarcasm, true yet grim outcomes of stupidity for the point of sharing a message.

 

For me personally, the show Breaking Bad is an example of ones life when he stretches the moral rules, and crosses the line into wrongdoing. It is not to encourage “breaking bad” in ones own life, but to make you aware of the stark difference between good and bad (no matter how small). Besides the ethical/moral aspect of the show,Breaking Bad shows the drug life, the business, and the duality of it. I see that even normal, sweet people can do bad things too (e.g. Gale or Gus Fring). So while it is not bad in my mind, I would prompt you to make up your own mind be evaluating and thinking it over.

 

Also: Here is the source for the quotes and an interview which shows the actors take on Breaking Bad.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Bad#Moral_consequences
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaBi9fe_EQ0 

Overhyped startups and entrepreneurs

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Take a look around the startup scene and the people behind. To me it seems pretty much like there is a big hype about all kinds of things. Clouds, SaaS, Facebook, Social Media and many more. And the top topic of all things is: “Funding”. Everyone is looking for investors, no one has money and everyone has a great idea. So what do people do? They gather in groups .. and so we have lot’s of social entrepreneur events and people are getting together.

There is nothing wrong with that but sometimes I think “Is it still about YOUR idea or is it more about the COMMUNITY you are in?” Do we spend more time meeting with people from the same scene or do we actually work and move our projects on? Where is the fine line to have the right balance? Because obviously both is important. But ask yourself: Would you still do the same thing if you were to be alone and there would be no scene and community around you?

Just some thoughts ;)