Here’s this week’s dish on expensive paperweights, company culture and bootstrapping. Check out more in this series here.
In a shot across the bows of any early-adopter interested in startup tech, Nest announced that it’s shutting down Revolv’s IoT smart home hub.
Google-owned Nest acquired the Boulder-based startup in late 2014, at which point Revolv stopped selling the hub, although product maintenance and app updates continued. The $300 hub turns into an expensive paperweight on May 15, just months shy of its three-year anniversary in August.
It’s a lesson techies are learning over — and over — again: consumers don’t actually always “own” the tech they buy. As such occurrences become more commonplace, it becomes less advantageous to be the hipster techie who liked it “before it was cool.” This can in turn damage the prospects for future startups and their early proof-of-market gadget sales.
These days, you can throw a cyber-rock and hit any number of articles about great office culture. Whether it’s installing an office kegerator, social media intranets, Tattoo Tuesdays (yes, that’s actually a thing) or even foosball, darts and whimsy; instilling off-the-wall company culture is becoming a must-have for businesses.
Why? Talent, of course. With most of the U.S. experiencing a tech workforce drought (Kansas City included), great wages, flexible hours and during-the-workday fun are how companies hope to attract — and keep — top talent.
On that front, Startland should really get behind mandatory naptime.
Medium.com: Bootstrapping in unicorn land
Amid all the local companies completing successful capital raises, there are plenty that will never raise a single VC dime. And that’s not a bad thing, according to serial entrepreneur David Sparks out of Silicon Valley (OK, so we’re playing fast and loose with “regional” for our roundup).
Sparks co-founded and successfully exited with Foodist Kitchen and is currently bootstrapping CMX. He says raising capital forces startups onto a fast-track highway with only two exits: rapid growth or failure.
Investors slavering over their ROI require a raise-and-scale business model, and startups are more than happy to attempt to beat the odds while dreaming of Scrooge McDuck piles of money.
For most startups, it’s a square-peg-round-hole situation with a historically low “win” ratio. Perhaps we’d have more “wins” if more startups saw long-term, old-fashioned bootstrapping as a viable option, Sparks argues.