Startups are hot and happening right now. But how come, what are they, and why are people interested in starting up? In this episode we talk with startup inspirator par excellence Nick Stevens. He is one of the active coaches of the world wide event Startup Weekend and is currently working on Platform Zuid; which, according to Nick, will be “a city in a building, an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive.”
Although the term startup is hard to define, one of the key elements is taking responsibility for yourself, says Nick. In recent years the quantity of jobs is diminishing and there will be different work to do in the future, but this can be a blessing and a curse: “Your intrinsic motivation, your capabilities and the world around you make a big difference in what you can do.” This change requires not only a certain mindset on the individual level, but also on a societal level. The government plays an important role in educating the young in entrepreneurial skill sets, but “also needs to get out of the way with archaic regulations,” says Stevens. According to our guest, the city of Groningen can be just the right place for startups to develop themselves.
The entire episode
“We need to solve important questions instead of interesting ones”
Entrepreneurship is not about creating an app that is fun to make, necessarily. Rather, it is about creating something of value for someone else. In this city with its abundant knowledge and science, and the looming danger of earthquakes, there is no shortage of real important questions to solve.
“It’s getting harder to distinguish products and companies these days”
Part 1: What are startups?
Nick distinguishes between three types of startups with distinct charachtertistics: Those people who take responsibility for themselves (ZZP’er, for instance), Those who want to influence or change the world around themselves, and those who want to change the entire world.
Part 2: An inventory for a startup environment
At the basic level we need to make sure that we have the right education in place (teaching basic problem solving skills to young people and teaching them abilities that relate to the future instead of the past, like being able to research any problem). In addition, we need to make it easy to learn by doing, and we need to learn to cope with small changes in what we have been trained to master.
Part 3: Opportunities and breaking the status quo
There are a lot of problems that are interesting, we should focus our attention on problems that are important. There is a huge benefit on solving the important problems over the interesting ones.