The Cynical Guide To Your First Internet Startup [Opinion]

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This is an opinion article. The viewpoints expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints or official policies of MakeUseOf.

internet business startupAre you tired of your job and looking for a reason to bum around on computers all day? Do you have a lukewarm idea that you’re hopelessly trying to monetize? It looks like you need to get yourself an Internet business startup and really make something of yourself.

Everyone and their dog has a startup idea these days, but how do you know if yours is any good? Well I’ve got news for you – it doesn’t matter! With these top tips you’ll be sipping double-shot skinny caramelattes from your eco-friendly cup in no time.

Got your MacBook Air to hand? Let’s go.

Move To San Francisco 

Nothing says “exceeding my API limits” like a move to the North American home of hippies and tech – San Francisco. If you are considering moving to this vibrant black tar heroin fuelled hub of lift-sharing liberals then you’ll already be aware that the Bay Area is where you’ll need to set up shop. It literally doesn’t matter what you do from here on out, you’re already a good half-way there.

internet business startup

The more rustic your headquarters the better. All you need is power, an Internet connection and a nearby source of fresh ground inspiration. It also helps to have an idea at this point, but it’s not critical.

San Francisco is where some of the most successful startups of the last boom emerged, and where many, many more crap ideas have died committee-addled deaths. If you can’t afford to move to San Francisco then you will have to face the sobering idea that your startup might just be too progressive for your current locale, particularly if it involves ordering crowdsourced pizza to a taxi from a man on a bike that transfers power back to the city grid, or something.

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Buy A Mac

No self-respecting Internet entrepreneur wants to be seen crossing the road from their favourite sushi joint with a crummy Windows laptop. Nothing matches your favourite cardigan like the shimmer of a MacBook Air in the San Fran sun. Be honest – a Mac is an essential component in your credibility as a startup success story. It says “I’m here. Notice me!

internet startup

You only need to look at most screenshots and marketing material around the web exhibited by other successful and wannabe-big startups – it’s shiny MacBooks and looming iMacs all the way. When was the last time you took someone who didn’t own a Mac seriously?

If you want to be a startup success you need to start treating others in a way you’re accustomed to be treating. And that means buying a Mac. And maybe an iPhone.

Come Up With Something

Unfortunately, this is also a requirement of being a successful startup story – your “big idea”. There are already a lot of good ideas out there, so take care not to choose one that someone has already done. If you find your idea is too similar to another startup, simply change it a bit. This worked for all those Pinterest clones, so why not apply it to everything else?

internet startup

Had a change of heart? In the startup world this is known as “re-evaluating your direction”, or in other words a “U-turn”. Don’t forget your idea has to be profitable in some way or another even if you’ve spent the last 6 months convincing yourself and others that advertising and promoted content will pay the bills.

It’s All In The Brndng & Brds

Branding is as important if not more important than your idea itself. You need a snappy name, an iconic logo (perhaps consider a bird) and something that rolls off the tongue. If you’re struggling with ideas and think your name is sounding too bland then jazz it up a bit by removing the vowels. A startup name like Shutter would become shttr, Base Trader becomes bstrdr and so on.

Sometimes it takes more than a lack of vowels to succeed, as was the case with twttr. Do you think what is now called “Twitter” got big because it was a useful service that specialised in sending short messages, barely long enough to say anything? Of course not – it succeeded because of that amazing bird. Just look at this ****ing bird:

internet startup

It makes me want to start tweeting right away. Damn that’s a nice bird.

Sell Your Soul Get Funded

The final piece of the puzzle. The next step on the ladder. Getting funded. OK, breathe.

All you need to do is combine the elements above into one neat package which you then present to an investor. He will analyse your idea, San Francisco location, branding, whether or not you brought your MacBook Air to present from and make a judgement about you. He will look deep into the darkest recesses of your soul and decree whether or not you should become his puppet in exchange for some money. Money you can spend on more Macs, more double-shot skinny caramelattes and whatever else it is your startup aims to do.

internet business startup

This is by far the hardest part of the process, and usually takes a few ideas and several generations of Apple hardware to get right. If you manage to secure funding then congratulations – you have made it in the startup world. You are a success. You win. The overcrowded market has found a gap, and hopefully it’s got your name on it.

Image Credits: Intro image (dierken)California Streets (Thomas Hawk), MacBook Pro Cat (37Prime), MacBook Dog (tashmahal)

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7 Comments - Write a Comment


Ken Gaming

Buy a Mac -_-


Alberto Lerma

Didn’t expected this.. I loved it.


alin delon

Buy a Mac sounds so ridiculous…Computer for sheeps


Elan Chezhiyan

mac is an awsome laptop and the OS is so fast, secure and stable. i love it!!


Dave Parrack

The final, final step: rather than keep building the service sell it to a bigger company for a whopping profit the first time they come a’ knocking.


Lisa Santika Onggrid

Thanks for the chuckle, I do wonder what encouraged you to write this. There’s a recent surge of Internet startup, of course, but this sounds like you was quite pissed by something.

Tim Brookes

Haha not really, I’m just a little bit jaded by the idea that everything is a startup. I have spent a lot of time around startups, some who have made quite a splash and others who are praying for funding or user adoption. The bubble will probably burst at some point, though for now if someone thinks there is money in an idea they will try to squeeze it till it bleeds.

I like the fact that Apple and Google have created marketplaces for individuals to do really cool things and get paid for it via App Store and Google Play. I dislike the Internet Repetition Machine which sees one good idea and clones it 50 times, watering down much of what was good with each iteration and slapping a new name on it.

Yup, jaded is the right word.

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