When he comes for advice, technology loves standardization. Startups are often told there are certain metrics to hit, deadlines to meet, schedules to measure against.
Examples abound: Here’s the ideal amount of money to raise your Series A round; here’s how many employees you need to have before you hire that CEO; here’s at what stage to hire legal counsel; and most recently, here’s what percentage of staff you have to cut if you can’t access more funding.
(The answer is 20% of staff, depending on who you ask).
There is an answer to some of these common statements: startups are complex and one size certainly does not fit all. But still, these startup standards help steer companies in the right direction, eventually becoming the status quo.
That’s why when entrepreneur Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator, suggested that he sees startups with a 20-year track record thanks to the huge fundraisers in 2021, it blew my mind. Isn’t the general advice that startups should have three years of experience? And if we’re in a more bullish market, 18 months?
My delayed reaction to that August tweet aside, let’s talk about the track. As you can tell from the title of this piece, I think the ideal runway length is a myth – among other startup myths like more money equals more growth. By the end of this piece, you might agree.