Sunday 10 June 2007

Success of a startup? It's people.

by Ronnie Apteker

If Vottle does catch on one day in a big way then it won't be because of the cool technology that has been developed (although that does help) but rather because of the people behind it. And we say if because it is a long shot; yes, the odds are against us. And this is why we love it; because of the challenge. Because it forces us to dig deep and to get as creative as we can. The online world is exploding all over again and the area of online classifieds, from our point of view, can really be enhanced.

Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. We have a bit of knowledge on our side and we have some over-active imaginations. We also have some time to ponder, some resources to spare, and a great playground here at IS to experiment and dream. And the key to all of this is people. You only ever invest in people, not in business plans and software. Ideas don't move mountains, people move mountains. People make it happen.

I learnt in life that you would rather invest in a bad business with good people than in a good business with bad people. You can take the best business plans in the world, or the best software, and give it to a bunch of arrogant and lazy know-it-alls, and nothing will happen, or worse. But you can take an average plan, or even no plan at all, and put a bunch of enthusiastic, humble and hungry people together and magic will happen.

One of the biggest myths in business is that it takes a good idea to start a company. Most great ventures start off with no idea. They are labours of love with a strong sense of purpose. What they all have at their core is good people. This is what the fundamentals are all about. Good people and a lot of imagination. Walt Disney once captured the never-ending nature of purpose when he said "Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination in the world." It is this view that we apply to our work with Vottle. We keep dreaming and brainstorming and challenging each other in an effort to come up with new ideas. As long as we have imagination we will continue to come up with new ideas, some good, some bad, but we will keep pushing the envelope.

Yes, you don't need an idea to start a new venture. Vottle is not an original idea. We are talking about classifieds adverts, and these have been around forever. We may not have invented this online service but we do have some ideas on how to make it cooler and more effective. At this stage we are only just beginning, and as the Internet continues to explode all over again with the Web 2.0 groundswell that keeps on gaining more and more momentum, we are more excited about the possibilities than ever. Viva Vottle! And viva the Vottlers!