Insight

Why Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction Would be a Great Startup Founder

“Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.” – Marsellus Wallace

Every millennial in the “contemporary scene” would already know this legendary quote. There’s lots of truth to it, too. Especially when you’re in a startup environment, and especially when you’re in a startup environment in a developing country.

Indonesia is still developing and has lots of problems and Indonesians themselves either love it or hate it (one exception is food, though. That we can absolutely be proud of). It’s a little sad nowadays for Indonesians to be proud of nature, since we already burned a huge portion of it for profit anyway. Sure, there are still lots of limitless natural wonders but if we don’t do anything about it now, it will soon turn into the “bogan”-filled dirty Kuta that we kept bragging about a few decades ago. The lovers are either too proud while they keep making excuses and being evangelical apologists, while the haters despise the country and can’t wait to take the next plane to a Western country and never look back. Look, we have lots of problems, both by denying the problems or just stating them and not offer a solution.

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One of the solutions that can make a difference for this chaotic country is startups. We have the human resources, natural resources, even the technological resources as well. We have one of the biggest markets for Facebook and Twitter. Startups are currently trending worldwide, including South East Asia, and including our very own Indonesia. However, the media in Indonesia always exposes investment, investment, and investment. This and that startup failed and nailed that investor. This made the mindset of people who are interested in creating startups be investor-oriented, rather than solution-oriented.

There’s a few problem with that.

  1. People would create startups for the sake of the investment, not to provide solutions for society’s problems. The problems stay as problems, since they would not be interested to pivot after market validation told them so.
  2. It is a representation that the people are not confident enough in their product nor their own team, since they think that if they do not have an investor, they cannot survive.
  3. They don’t have confidence that their startup can sustain itself without investment.
  4. They would be dependent with their investor.
  5. If they fail, they’d end up doing whatever their investor want them to do.
  6. Most times it’s only a matter of the pride of being exposed in the media that your startup has gotten an investor.

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Investment should only be to expand the market. Startups should be sure that they already can generate their own revenue themselves and create a stable ecosystem.

Look, the market is the best teacher. By learning from the market, any business would achieve great things. Usually, people who wants to create startups wants to create this certain idealist project that they thought was groundbreaking, game changing, and just amazing. Let’s face it, most newbie founders are narcissists. They think they’re awesome and a superstar. Then, when they do their market validation, everything shatters. Their perfect solutions aren’t so perfect after all. Their ego and pride are hurting. “How can this be? There should be a problem that my solution can solve!”. With that mindset, they’re creating their own imaginary problem, and not trying to find solutions to face the real problems that exist.

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I currently work at a startup incubation and other than incubate startups, we also create events that invites individuals to create startups or startup founders to improve aspects of their startups. I have seen so many over proud startup founders that are still arrogant and still, are failing. The cost of pride is too much, and it is better to set that aside if you really want to create solutions to a problem. Set that aside if you really want to help people, not just having the title of “CEO” in your CV.

So thank you Marsellus, for that very enlightening quote. Here’s another quote from Mr. Wallace:

You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. —  Marsellus.

He’s also right. Startup time goes much faster than corporate time. If you don’t do it now, somebody else will. So do it now. Ideas are cheap, executions are not. Your market will be your best teacher.

Marsellus would be a great startup founder. Even if it is for his strip club.

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