SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

Pirates and Successful Startups-Many Similarities!

“Pirates and startups?” you ask.  ”Colin’s definitely lost it – too much time in ND.”  But wait, read a little bit of this and then tell me what you think.

I love to scuba dive.  And I love history.  Much of the scuba diving I do is in the Caribbean where there’s a rich history of piracy there.  I’m reading a book called, “The Sea Rover’s Practice,” by Benerson Little, a Naval SEAL.  The title’s a good pick because during the time from 1630-1730, often referred to as the “Golden Age of Piracy,” there were many ruffians about – pirates, buccaners, privateers, freebooters, filibusters, crusiders, and corsairs.  And as different as they all were, they had one thing in common.

MAKING IT PERSONAL

Above all, the most significant commonality amongst all sea rovers was the personal, material gain by force of arms upon the sea.  So, despite group predispositions to different countries, navy’s, and such – they all just wanted to get rich.  Sound familiar?  Why do you bust your backside for the ‘this is bestest Twitter client ever man!” startup, working long hours, forsaking relationships and health?  For the ping pong table in the lunchroom?  Methinks not.

CALCULATED RISKS

Most sea rovers chose to take calculated risks in their search for plunder.  Certainly their skill, cunning, and bravery would sometimes allow them to take bigger prizes.  But for speed and agility, most rover’s boats were smaller and carried few guns.  This made them faster and more maneuverable than their targets.  So, if these rovers didn’t have the ships, guns, funding and men that their targets did, how were they so successful?  Images of the NoSQL camp confronting Oracle & MySQL come to mind here.

I’ll TAKE TACTICS FOR $200 ALEX

So, how were these rovers so successful.  Seems it all boils down to a couple very important tactics supporting a goal – $$:

  1. The Surprise Attack
  2. Using a Ruse
  3. Effective Use of Limited Resources/Intelligence
  4. Speed & Mobility
  5. Strategy & Management

If you look at this list and think some don’t apply, remember Facebook and how they provided all of these wonderful capabilities to you for free.  While they were selling all of your data out the back of of the store (Ruse).  Of maybe the fact that you can use GMAIL now to make free voip calls (Surprise).  And there’s always the basecamphq.com guys who run a multi-million dollar business with less than 20 employee (Effective Use of Limited Resources).

Rovers needed the ability to outsmart their targets, they used smaller, faster ships for this purpose – most successful campaigns were conducted via sloops – much smaller than a ship.  But it allowed the gang much greater maneuverability and the option to either pursue or run and hide to fight another day.  Today, in the age of the lean startup, we call that a Pivot (Speed & Mobility).

But the single most important item on the list above, Strategy, really dictated all the others.  Above all else, the rovers had a plan.  And they stuck to it.  There was the ship’s charter – why were they here and where where they going?  Your compliance with the charter was recorded in the ships documents – you had to read and agree to it before joining on.  Rovers had a well defined compensation plan, and the first realization of stock options ever – each crew member, according to their position, was granted a share of the plunder.  Rovers provided insurance, if you were injured during a campaign, you were compensated according to the  seriousness of the injury.  But one thing, and probably the most effective, was that the crew elected their captain.  And if that captain didn’t deliver on the goods, or failed to lead (like out in front with cutlass and pistols blazing), they were replaced.  Sure, the captain might be able to fire a few mates first, shifting the blame.  But in the end the CEO could only fire so many VP of Sales before finally taking responsibility for the failed mission.  Through effective Management, the pursuit of the charter’s goals were pursued relentlessly.

WHAT KIND OF ROVER ARE YOU?

Is your company a band of Pirates?  Are your goals aligned with your shipmates?  Is your startup governed by a charter?  What is your strategy?  And how will you amplify your strengths in the face of larger, more well financed, entrenched competitors?  The rovers knew what to do.  Do you?  Does your captain have the crew’s faith or is a mutiny on the horizon?

AND AS ALWAYS

It’s important to note that many rovers ended life poorer than they began.  And that for all their extraordinary efforts worthy of book and film, that many also were hanged or died in prison.  Maybe there’s even something for venture capitalists to learn from the Golden Age of Piracy.

THANKS FOR READING!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Colin Clark

Colin Clark is the CTO for Cloud Event Processing, Inc. and is widely regarded as a thought leader and pioneer in both Complex Event Processing and its application within Capital Markets.

Follow Colin on Twitter at http:\\twitter.com\EventCloudPro to learn more about cloud based event processing using map/reduce, complex event processing, and event driven pattern matching agents. You can also send topic suggestions or questions to [email protected]

Latest Stories
Growing a digital business is essential for virtually every enterprise across every industry. Large enterprises and small businesses alike are digitizing their internal and customer-facing processes and services to increase efficiency, scale their businesses, and collect meaningful data. Yet, while many companies have launched digital services to collect data, we haven’t fully tapped into the potential of data analytics—even though studies suggest that digital will be a top differentiator in yea...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City. Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Industry after industry is under siege as companies embrace digital transformation (DX) to disrupt existing business models and disintermediate their competitor’s customer relationships. But what do we mean by “Digital Transformation”? The coupling of granular, real-time data (e.g., smartphones, connected devices, smart appliances, wearables, mobile commerce, video surveillance) with modern technologies (e.g., cloud native apps, big data architectures, hyper-converged technologies, artificial in...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
ShieldX's CEO and Founder, Ratinder Ahuja, believes that traditional security solutions are not designed to be effective in the cloud. The role of Data Loss Prevention must evolve in order to combat the challenges of changing infrastructure associated with modernized cloud environments. Ratinder will call out the notion that security processes and controls must be equally dynamic and able to adapt for the cloud. Utilizing four key factors of automation, enterprises can remediate issues and impro...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...