A bus on a Nepali road

A bus on a Nepali road

Running a startup is like driving a bus up a narrow Nepali road. You are trying to climb a mountain through a perilous road with a vehicle barely suited to the job. To achieve this, you need a specific set of skills unique to this road and your vehicle. To make it worth it, you need to pack your bus with passengers who are taking a big risk with you because you can get them there faster, cheaper, or ideally both.

The bus driver is your technical team. You are building a thing as fast as you can and as well as you can. As you climb higher, commitments to customers create further challenges that require even more technical ability to execute fast and well.

The passengers are your customers, who must stay calm and happy on the bus. The engineers’ job is to keep the bus moving and not falling. The job of sales, customer support, and other related functions is to load the bus with people and keep them there calm and happy.

Sometimes, half of the road is not there. When it rains, the ground gets extra slippery. For one reason or another, you may end up, by design or accident, with one wheel hanging off a cliff. The job of the technical team is not to die and keep going. The job of the rest of the people is to keep the bus packed with people.

Could you fall? Yes. Will it hurt? Most certainly. So, why do it? Why risk your life and others when there are better ways to reach the top? Here is a thought: How about going up in a helicopter?

A helicopter Nepali montain

Wouldn’t that be nice, eh? Well, here is the thing: helicopters are for rich companies, not for you. You are running a startup. First, you must get people up the mountain on a bus several times. If you don’t fall off the cliff, you might be able to save some money, grow your business, and eventually even get yourself your first helicopter. With time, you may buy many helicopters that will get tons of people up and down that mountain. With tons of effort and good luck, you may build a nice mountain transport business. I hope you do. I am rooting for you!

But as long as you are a startup, you are on a bus, climbing a Nepali mountain, trying not to die or ruin your customers’ lives. That’s just how it is. You just have to keep driving forward and don’t fall off the cliff.


· startups