What is it with the world's obsession with size of your company? If you're a startup founder, or a small business owner, you're not "successful" in the world's eyes unless you take your company public and have thousands and thousands of employees playing foosball and ping pong in between free foot massages and stuffing their faces with free gourmet meals in your $1000/sq ft office space?
Why do some people, when you tell them you run a small business, or a "lifestyle business," respond with a "aww thats nice" like you just told them your dog died and they are just being nice to you? Why is there a stigma to just running a small company on the internet?
The recent problems Twitter's been having with Wall Street got me thinking: What if Twitter, rather than expanding into other media initiatives just to please their investors, got smaller? Twitter, in order to grow, needs to learn to love it's smallness. Its never going to be Facebook. Heck, Id argue its not even a social network. Its a utility that connects users to ... well, whatever they choose. The biggest mistake Twitter made was to think that it can compete with Facebook or Google. That belief comes from the Silicon Valley Go-Big-Or-Nothing mindset.
Lets face it - most internet companies wont ever be part of the $1 Billion Valuation Club (I refuse to use that stupid U-word). And somehow, if you start a company and you fail to join that club or take your company public, you're a failure? Why does every startup founder dream of taking the easy way to scale and go for funding rather than at least giving bootstrapping a shot? When I started FRISKY, I never once thought about taking VC money. And still to this day, years later FRISKY is a self-funded, bootstrapped company.
How'd we get here? Fundamentals still matter. Profitability matters. If you're running a successful, profitable small company without taking a dime from venture capital, you're more successful in my mind than what a term-sheet might say you company's worth. Because bootstrapping a company, while it may be the
slow scenic route, is heck of a lot more fun because you're free from all pressures but the ones from your customers and your own goals.
So, say it with me, founders: Its OK to be small.