If you are reading this blog post, you’re probably familiar with Om Malik and his blog GigaOm. He’s basically turned tech industry reporting into a business. This excellent post, “From Start Up to Business, A Long Strange Trip”, reminded me of why small business incubation and seed stage investing is such an incredible world in which to work.
True business incubation should probably be more accurately called “entrepreneur incubation”. I think what Om is saying is that the founder needs to evolve. I see it every day. Founders evolve personally and professionally. Their products evolve. A little coaching here, a casual introduction there and the entrepreneur can begin to see the runway lights out there below them.
Now, in my opinion, this evolution takes some time, typically counted in a couple years rather than a couple of months. Which is why I keep beating on the Y Combinators of this country. They have a 3-month “program” of intense networking and pizza and they call that incubation. They seem to be betting on the technology, not the entrepreneur. They invest just enough time to justify grabbing some equity for a limited investment and hope it turns into something big.
This is fine. It’s capitalism and I love it. But it doesn’t build businesses, it builds mere exit opportunities. It’s short term in nature and by grabbing the headlines, it makes the world think this is how true value is created.