Q. What are you going to do in life?
A. Start my own company.
The above question has been asked to everyone a lot of time in their lives, sometimes numerous times in a single day. The above answer is one of the possible answers but often it is considered as one of the few correct answers to it.
Yes, in the present context of the world, many people love the dream idea of starting their own company; being their own boss, and eventually hiring employees to work for them and under them in their exemplary successful companies. And yes, that dream is lovely. And glamorizing that dream of having it all your way, makes even more people fall in love with the dream.
Independence has always been a glamorous thing. People living away from their families cooking and cleaning for one and looking after themselves by themselves is considered to be the ideal thing to do by many youths. Youths love it not only because they believe that it teaches people independence but also because the very idea of doing things alone is that of not letting anyone have any authority over you.
Starting a new company is the picture of independence. You go to work when you want, if you want to. You have no one to report to and no one to tell you what to do or how to do it. The other thing about startups is that it’s yours own. It’s your baby. You can make it into anything and make anything out of it. You can work 12 hours a day on it or 12 hours a week. Whatever you do, you do it by choice and not by compulsion.
The glamorization of startups is not a new thing. It’s been around us for a long while and crept up to us slowly and steadily till many of us have fallen for it hard and fast. And why should we not? All CEOs of startups have been presented to us as billionaires who changed the world with their single idea. Facebook changed socializing. Now people are more obsessed with likes on their profile pictures than with compliments by people in the real world. Uber changed transportation. Now people no longer need to walk or wait for a bus or a taxi. Amazon changed shopping. Now people can get the things they need without having to step out of their homes.
There are many such examples and all of these started with an idea someone had. And the thing about ideas is that no one can say if it’s a bad one. Snapchat’s dog filter basically adds ears and a tongue on people’s faces and everyone loves it. Talking Tom, a few years back was an application about a dog that repeated what it heard in a funny voice. Any idea could be the next big thing, and if it so then why not our ideas?
Everyone thinks has an idea. The idea can be for anything, a new application, a new business, or even a new soap. The idea does not have to be original. Facebook came years after MySpace and took over socializing. That does not even have to be sane. There is actually a business called Potato Parcel where people can send up to 15 words to their loved ones engraved on a potato. It does not even need to be definite. In the Something Store, customers place an order for $10 and in return, they receive something brand new that costs at least $10. What they receive in return, could be anything at all. When such brands become top stories in newspapers, magazines and online portals, we start to actually believe that any idea can be the next big thing; any idea that we have can be the next big thing.
Another thing with startups is that, all the startups that succeed, succeed with a huge amount of money. And success and wealth is what glamorization has always attached itself to. Why would it not? After all, glamor has always been in love with money. If the huge amount of money wasn’t tempting enough, when we add to that the prospect of gaining all of it in a very short time, startups are easy to glamorize and we are easy victims of its glamorization.
What do we want? Money.
When do it we want it? Now.
How do we want it? As easily as possible without any effort.
Being our own boss, changing the world with an idea and making lots of money is a very short time; when we can have all of this, why would anyone apply for a job, wait for hours to get an interview to work long hours for someone else? So, yes it’s no wonder that “the glamorization of start-up culture encourages people to start own companies rather than pursue traditional career paths”.
By Prakriti S. Tuladhar
The writer is a 5th Semester student of BSc. CSIT at Deerwalk Institute of Technology. This article was declared the winning entry in the recently held King’s College Article Writing Competition.