A Manifesto For Startups - The Vacuum Journey

In Morocco, starting a startup is not about making millions of dollars or the next big app. Here, startups strive to build missing pillars of the economy from scratch.

In a phenomenon, that I call 'Internetopia', that is taking place, where individuals independently unite together to make history.

We are at the gates of a post-industrial era, the chain of value is shifting upside-down.

For this reason, we are seeing a major progress in the starting of businesses.

Unlike any other time in history, a lot of people are trying to start a startup. Something of their own. In this same path, we get usually stuck in the siphons of running the business, thinking about sales, profitability, competition, how to get investment, pivoting over our set of hypothesis.

We also often tend to forget that everything that we do in our business, is about people. People make decisions, people take action, people use our products and services, it's all about the people. In other words, the success and the failure of a business revolves around people.

Henceforth, each individual involved in your startup, including yourself, should answer the following questions:

Why I do exist?
What’s my purpose of life?
Where do I belong?

Riemman Function Riemann Function

Our life is inevitably a sequence of ups and downs, good and bad moments. Failure is inevitable, success as well, you don’t know what is good for you, maybe failure will make you stronger and success will make you arrogant. Perhaps failure may make you corrupt, and success will give you back some hope.

These life beats, sequences of “success and failures”, are not empirical nor Cartesian, it's your hearth that makes a meaning out of them.

At the end, it's just a “Vacuum Journey”.

You start from nothing, and you end in nothing, what makes life worth living is the sense of giving more than getting.

That’s why you should ask this question everyday, every moment, Before I Die, what would I have given to the world, and how can I achieve that every second I crawl this earth. Before I Die or the “BID”.

The deadline of death is the only inconvenient truth waiting for us at the end of our Journey, and we should embrace it.

Not only for us, but our team, our customers, our investors and all our stakeholders should adhere to our vision of “Before I Die” (BID). Make sure you create an ecosystem that the goal of your BID lasts like sequoia: strong, mighty and everlasting.

A Few Practical Things We Can Achieve Together

  • Business to Startup donation, if you see a startup that may create amazing change in the world, with a great team that are in sync with your goal and ideals, and that will create a positive change in society, why not donate to this startup.

  • Even our ways of doing business like “saving money”, instead of having your 1 million dollar stored in a bank for the next 3 years, why not invest it in a “hacking / co-working space” that may have real interest and returns and will create a positive change. This is healthier to the economy.

  • The petrodollar and the world currencies are going to collapse the economy sooner or later in my opinion, why not start a small trade between startups with a private currency (e.g. Bitcoin) and build up an independent financial ecosystem, little by little.

Chart defining the scale of success Chart defining the scale of success

My personal measure of success relies on the positive impact I can have on the largest number of people in the longest time span possible. When startup founders gather together to solve different problems we will open the gates of a new era of human history, unlike anytime before.

Differential Equations Rule

In this path we will find that we will disagree and differ on many decisions. But difference, is something we have to accept and respect, we are meant to be different.

Look around you, we are all the time spatially different you are sitting on a chair and your neighbor on the other, born on a different country from your peer, you have the ability to understand a knowledge field different than the knowledge field of your peer.

The trick is to integrate our differences by summing them up in one harmonious symphony that will play to the end of times.

I will leave you with this Arabic poem/proverb:

Live in this life as a traveler,
Leave behind you a golden path
We are in this life only as guests
Each guest one day will leave

This article was the talk I presented during the Websummit, dublin 2013 at the people’s stage.

Cover Image, Essaouira fishing harbour (Morocco) | Ahron de Leeuw