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The 'Pay it forward' business model

When asking my 70 years old father, if he imagined having something like a Smartphone by the moment I was born (30+ years ago... OK, 35 years ago), his response was: I didn't even know I needed that. But now, he uses it every day, for hours and hours. It fulfils his human need to stay connected to the people he cares, be informed of the things he is interested on, and keep learning about things he enjoys.

Human needs evolve at a thunderbolt speed, because every time a new innovation arrives, the scale-up process needs to evolve. To explain this better, let's take me and my dad again as an example: when he first saw a cellphone with a big antenna, he was amazed and thought that was the best that technology could offer to him. Nowadays, I see a new smartphone that is modular or flexible, and I just think "I am sure there is something better".  We are spoiled over and over, by being offered products and services that go beyond our expectations.

So, now from the other side. I made the strange (and for my father, irrational) decision to become a Startup founder. Now I have to find a product that would make my father, my friends or anyone say: Wow, I didn't even know I needed that. And during that journey, I have learned many things like:

it's never about getting the answers, but asking the right questions.

There are little things more certain (next to death I think😀), than the uncertainty of the entrepreneurial journey

But more importantly: I don't have to do it alone

When I had a comfortable corporate job, I met many Startup founders. I was lucky to have perhaps one of the few exciting jobs in the corporate world: prototyping in collaboration with Startups. And every time I met a new entrepreneur, it seemed like they were lonely people, that had to battle all the problems by themselves, and managed to invent and develop a whole business on their own.

I now know that is not true. At least for me, and the hundreds of fellow entrepreneurs I have met during my journey. And during the last months, I have also learned that help can be gotten from the most unexpected places. Not just previous entrepreneurs, but also any professional in their corporate jobs, or running their own agencies, or now retired and wanting to give back.

I have told that story to many people. And 90% of the times, they ask me the same thing: Why the hell do they do it? What's in it for them?. I usually ask them back: Why do YOU think they do it? And last week, I got the best answer I could hope for: "To pay it forward".

To summarise, and maybe if you just skipped all the way to the end to hear the conclusion, here is the only concept that I want to put across today:

Startups work to create something that will bring its targeted audience to awe, and make them realise that there is no way that they can keep on living without that. And for that, a Founder needs help, advice, feedback (and sometimes even criticism) of hundreds of people, who in their majority, just want to help!