When it comes to startups there are two parallel hypotheses that are making a mark in the world right now. These parallel concepts have come to redefine startups in their own respective ways. Each one has brought their own perception when it comes to the question, how a startup is initiated and how it scales its way to success. The young entrepreneurs will find it interesting to connect that many a times we are actually groping for ideas. Innovative ideas are not formed out of thin air neither do startups become successful over night. Paul Graham, in his essay stated that startups are equivalent to growth. Whereas David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals states quite the opposite.
Let us see if startups are always equivalent to growth. They are but only for a few specific chances that are comparatively in fresh dwelling “shadow feature” commonly called adjacent possible. Graham gives the examples of Google and Apple that snug comfortably into the statement “Startup is equal to growth”. The hypothesis suggests that the space of ideas is the realm from where people generally pick up ideas. This space has been over-exploited and now to begin a startup one has to start with an idea that has been completely overlooked by everyone else.
General opinion is that one has to work hard to find ideas that no one else has come across but this is not entirely correct. Most founders have a unique mind-set and these ideas that no one can see seem pretty usual to them. Later they notice that these are actually world-changing ideas. Most of the time the innovation is unconsciously done. Just like Henri Becquerel had unknowingly discovered radioactivity.
However the other concept disagrees with the fact that innovations are done when one simply comes across an idea by accident. They stumble upon it after working diligently on the cutting edge that makes them see the adjacent possible. Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity not while counting the stars but when he was experimenting on X-rays. Greatest inventions have not occurred simply due to careless observation or mindless thinking.
Steven Johnson says that new ideas are not really new. They have been scraped together from the old spare ones. This explains why a number of people get the same idea in a short span of time. There are few unavoidable world-changing ideas available in the adjacent possible. Once having struck this adjacent possible space, the startup needs to be established and brought into everyone’s attention as fast as possible. This is where Paul Graham quips in; rapid growth is the path to entrenchment. However this is not the only way of flourishing. Differentiation and uniqueness in spite of being in the existing space of ideas has led many startups to the step of success like 37signals and Mailchimp. Graham is narrowing down the definition of startups to that of the ventures seeking to dominate an adjacent possible space.
Invention, discoveries and innovations are not science. They belong to the art of creativity. But then again science is an art of mind. Thus the debate between the co-linked parallel concepts will continue.