Diary of an Economic Crisis Survivor

Life, Death and Miracles of a Startup, in the Italy of the Economic Crisis

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THE E-BOOK

THE E-BOOK.

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34. Epilogue. Death of a Startup

February 22, 2015, HOURS 04:36
YEAR II, DAY 8
DAY OF LIFE OF THE STARTUP N. 373

The Great C won.

One year. One year and few days.
Gone.
But these days were not wasted days.

But now everything is gone.
Tomorrow the company will be bailed out. And I don’t want to explain what it is or how it works. Just ask google. I am really sad.

 

Our final battle against The Great C  was about 5 days of test looking for the critical mass, and with a relevant amount of money invested  in Google Adwords and Facebook AD).
With big investor’s eyes on us.

This was our final battle.

I don’t’ know what we did wrong. I just know that we didn’t reach the best configuration and we didn’t reach the expected goal of the investor and so…..no investment, no money, no project, no startup.
The other reason is that we risked. We risked and we finished all the capital of the company. The advertsing investment was our last “cash card” to play. We don’t have a Plan C. It’s over.

 

Every step taken by a startup, every test, every choice, every step towards what we think might be the way to success, depends on a huge number of variables. Some of them we are able to control, some others not. So the only thing we can do is to try to reduce reality to simple schemes (for how wrong) and hope to have “calculated” the right route to success. It is not our case. For this reason I believe that success for a startup (or for a company!, the term startup is just crap and trend) is difficult to achieve: it must be a very rare astral conjuncture, which includes, as mentioned, things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

It’s time to return to Italy, go home, give up, get a job just to earn and try to survive so long as, someone (perhaps) be able to defeat this damned Great Economic Crisis. And then, only then, perhaps, I’ll wake up from this nightmare.

Today everyone lost. I lost, Vittoria lost, Italy lost.

It is arrived. The Great C knocks at our door. We are in its ranks.
We go to the airport, one-way ticket to Italy.
 

This country, Italy,  sick to the bone, where everyone and anyone is a zombie that eats society, where everyone and anyone complains more than they actually try to fight the Great C, where everyone and anyone is victim and victimizer, some with more, some with minor faults.

33. One year of survival against the Great C, looking for the Critical Mass

February 15, 2015, HOURS 16:30
YEAR II, DAY 1.

Diary of a crisis survivor 33

It has been exactly a year.
One year surviving The Great Economic Crisis.
One year of Victory, our startup.
A year made of ups and downs, of right decisions and others wrong, success, tests and escape from Italy.

We think we are still in the Test phase, however we believe it is time to start thinking about another goal, which could allow us to find the best way to survive The Great C.

Now our goal is to be able to create critical mass: a sufficient number of customers that can allow to attract others customers only because of the number of feedbacks, interactions, or other actions you’ve managed to develop. That number could allow you to grow exponentially, to be able to do significant tests about your users, and that allows you, above all, to get closer to your definitive business model.

The next step will be to be able to achieve an important trade-off between: the number of users (our critical mass), and reducing the cost of creating the product / service.
And this would be hard task.

Because at that time, the eyes of Investors may seek Victoria.

Here we are. Where are you, customers? Where are the people who want to change the world with us? The time to find you has come.

But the time has come also to put together marketing campaigns, looking for the Critical Mass.
And it is now time to put up and start running, looking for The Great C.
Because the time has come, after a whole year, to fight the final battle against The Great C.

Diary of a crisis survivor 33 critical mass

32. Fighting the organizational chaos

FEBRUARY 3, HOURS 14:39
DAY 353

diary of a crisis survivor  Gantt & disorder

Disorder.
This is a disordered world.
And The Great C increased the level of chaos.

In particular in Italy, where it is better find a job to survive rather than be brave and try to create your own business.
Even for this reason, losing pieces along the way, we had to escape from Italy. Probably, however, the discussion is valid in any country in the world: no one gives you anything, and you have to be able to find the right trade-off and choose the best team for the next match, depending on the day.

We planned, we optimized, we tested, but despite all, the Great C found us and knocked on our door.
We need something more simple, but at the same time something more concrete: something that can help us understand where we are, how we got here, and which is direction to take.

So while in Italy we continue to talk about the new Head of the Republic, continuing to ignore the problems of the population, we have adopted a tool that will allow us to understand where we are, what we lack, what are the Milestones, which activities to make: we have adopted a control system with a simple, effective and shared Gantt.

 

It will be helpful? I don’t t know but I hope so.
At least something we can understand.

Maybe we will understand that we are just 5 stupids: this business plan was not to be realized, but we fell in love too much with the idea to deny the evidence.

Maybe we will understand, as the past other team members understood, that we shouldn’t leave Italy, but simply settle for a job.

Maybe instead we will understand that everything we did, was part of a long journey, that brings you constantly to face unpleasant choices (without knowing if the choice was right or wrong).

Maybe we will understand what the way to come home is.

diary of a crisis survivor  Gantt

31. The Gateway

January 23, 2015, HOURS 19:47
DAY 342

diary of a crisis survivor dynamic environment

Caught.
The Great C found us.
Despite our efforts to optimize resources and reduce costs, our budget forecasts resulted worse than expected. Both capital and especially resources. We can’t afford to buy new services, but we need them.
Therefore, while Italian politicians continue to not care about what happens outside the “Important Halls” talking and pretending to quarrel about the Electoral Law and about the new Head of Italian Republic, the Great C kindly knocked on our door and forced us to do the only thing we could do:

leave Italy (CLUE Ranked # 9).

After the initial panic, we used the plan B (you must always have a Plan B)and we found a place to stay, a dynamic environment, where we can take advantage of the large number of personalities and professionals to  grow.

It is an essential thing: working in a dynamic environment where you can learn and share. In Italy we could not find it: I think in Italy we have lost that sense of “social aggregation” replacing it with an uncontrolled individualism” (perhaps for pure spirit of survival?).

The really negative side is that we are losing pieces. Here we are just 5: Pigna (the CFO), the “Nerd per caso” (two developers), D (our designer) and me. Luca & The Wolf just gave up: they will remain in Italy, change profession, adapt to the system and they will find a random job(no offense to those who have a random job, but these guys had dreams).

We searched a new start.
And until the Great C will fail to find us, we will work here.
But in Italy will be back soon (I hope as winners).

dynamic environment

30. A safe place

January 13, 2015, HOURS 19:00
DAY  332

diary of a crisis survivor 30 patent

Security.
Today I start from here.
From the need to escape the clutches of the Great C in a precise way.

In fact, our friend, the Great Economic Crisis tries in various ways to be able to win.
We have been ticked off that someone has copied our brand.
But we’re smarter. We recorded it all months ago.
At that time they thought we were crazy: spend money, time and energy on something that you don’t know if you can achieve … but the intellectual property of our brand is protected … and now who copied must change.

The legislation on patents and trademarks may not be. But after a long process we are protected.

I had decided not to talk about it before because I didn’t feel the need: now instead choosing to register at the Chamber of Commerce logo of Victory, our startup, has proved successful.

And the Great C, this time either, failed to get us.
(But, in a few time, It will achieve its goal).

The moment of the getaway is come.

diary of a crisis survivor 30 trademark

29. Please Santa bring me a Crowdfunding for Christmas

DECEMBER 22, 2014, HOURS 14:43
DAY 310

diary of a crisis survivor 29 crowdfunding

“Dear Santa, as you know my name is Victor, I’m 30 years old and I live in Italy.
In September, I create my own startup, with my teammates, some of which unfortunately had to leave Italy.
I went around the desolate streets of my city, a city, as many other Italian cities, devastated by The Great C, and  I thought and thought … well as a gift this year I would love to receive a Crowdfunding for us.
But if in your sled there is no space, you can take what you want, at least a little bit of enthusiasm.
This year, like the last, I will be here to resist and fight The Great C.
Thanks Santa, I can’t wait to see you. “

The 83% of Italian companies are small and medium enterprises. Since the advent of The Great C, these companies have had increasing difficulty in finding the funding they need to not give up.
Not recently, I heard about Crowdfunding, or collective funding for those who are new to the subject, and I discovered two important things:

There are five ways to make crowdfunding:

    1. Donation-based (e. based on the donation and no economic return);
    2. Peer to peer;
    3. Peer-to-Business;
    4. Invoice Trading;
    5. Equity Based (based on risk capital)
  1. The size of the Crowdfunding in Italy is virtually zero, this because:
    1. There are few platforms to do it(as Unicaseed and Starsup);
    2. You must be an Innovative Startup (Startup and Innovation: a relationship not always sincere);
    3. The “donors”, who wanted to invest a significant amount of capital, need the guarantee of a bank.

crowdfunding

In conclusion. In Italy, Corwfunding seems not an easy tool to use.
We’ll try, but as I said in the last post we finished supplies and capital, The Great C is besieging us, our startup fails to get success and we are thinking of abandoning Italy: this is the reason why I asked Santa a little bit of Crowdfunding for us.

We hope that the light of Christmas would bring hope.

Merry Christmas Survivors. Hold on.

doacs 29 crowdfunding

28. Survival Tips for Italy and Startup n.1: Optimization

December 14, 2014, HOURS 17:58
DAY 302

diary of a crisis survivor italy human captail dissipated

“Italy, dissipated Human Capital”

These are the results of the 48th report of the Censis about the Italian situation What prevails now is the uncertainty.
We, startuppers, know something about it. And for us, the choice doesn’t exist. We only can think positive: although the situation is critical, we don’t want help The Great C.

The supplies are finished.
The ideas are finished.
The capital is finished.
Soon we will be forced to leave our shelter.
Sincerely we are undecided if to leave Italy to escape The Great C. At least for a period.
And then I don’t know. Will we never return? This country has a big potential and a great appeal, but is necessary another big effort.

Otherwise we will be forced, as always, to find the resources to live every month, but then, we will always look for new ones, therefore risking of not being able to survive .It is a dog that is chasing its tail. Uncertainty and Fear.

So in this ugly weather Sunday, the only thing we have left to do is optimize. Optimize as finding the right trade-off between profitability, growth and most of all costs (in terms of resources, time and money).

The research of the optimization of resources, time and money,  must necessarily pass for startups that are arising in this moment, because, as the newspaper La Repubblica said, “young people are the biggest waste of Italy.”

Is necessary stop wasting and start optimizing.
To accomplish this work, we started from an analysis of costs, assets and processes of our startup, Victoria. Now we will try to cross this analysis with the tests carried out in recent months and with our planned strategies.

I want close this post, with a sentence of Paolo Iacci, that I randomly found on one of those books that I define “The Crisis survival Guide” (“The theorem of Coffee – Guerini Next – 2014”):

We must do more and better with less.
Fewer resources, less money, fewer people.
But we must ensure more motivation, more expertise more effectiveness.
We have to find a new glue, cultural and social, to overcome this exasperated individualism.
We have to find the organizational possibilities for it to develop in an orderly and effective the creativity of which we boast rightly.

diary of a crisis survivor 28 creativity

27. Don’t be afraid about The Great C, use it.

NOVEMBER 24, 2014, HOURS 13:31
DAY 282

diary of a crisis survivor 27 use the great c

Finds.
Finds of men who, in other times, fought and defeated the Great C.
I wrote the text of the find in the large blackboard of our office, now all team members of Victory, our startup, can read it. I will write it here, so that you can begin to see the light, in this dark period.
I don’t know if the “crisis” of the author is  our Great C. I just know that these are dark times, we don’t give up and we will use The Great C.
 

“Do not pretend that things will change if we always do the same.
The crisis is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because the crisis brings progress.
Creativity is born from the distress, as the day is born from the dark night.
It is in crisis that invention, discovery and large strategies are born.
Who ever overcomes crisis, outdoes himself without being overcome.
Who attributes their failures to the crisis and neglects, violent his own talent and gives most respect to the problems rather than solutions.The real crisis is the crisis of incompetence.
The drawback of people and countries is laziness to find solutions to their problems.
Without crisis there are no challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow agony. 
Without crisis there is no merit.
It is in the crisis where the best of each other rise up, without crises any wind is caress. Talk of crisis is to promote it, and silent in the crisis is to exalt conformity.
Instead of that, work hard.
Get it over with the only crises threatening, that is the tragedy of not wanting to fight for it.
He was Albert Einstein.
I’m Vittorio.
And I will use the Great C like an opportunity.

diary of a crisis surviror 27 einstein

26. Take your time to create your own Startup.

NOVEMBER 10, 2014, HOURS 22:00
DAY 268

Zombie Hand

Besieged.
Locked doors and barred windows.
The Great C is besieging us with his horde of depressed zombie citizens.
I don’t  know how long we can hold it, we may not have enough supplies and ideas.

The Great C has overwhelmed  Italy. And Italians have been overwhelmed.
Now both are knocking at my door, they want us. They want our project to collapse.
The Great C took Tim, our handyman: one-way ticket to North Ireland.
And D, our designer, is about to take the same path.
Let’s think about  all those minds that Italy has lost just before the coming of The Great C, all those brilliant minds who preferred to go abroad than prefer to gone abroad than to fight everyday to survive. Marco, Fabio, Andrea. The names are endless.

We are The Resistance of the New Millennium.

Commitment & struggle. In this way we will survive this siege. Because create a startup means this: give up everything, locked in your studio / office / home. No coffee, no beer, no fun, just a great desire to start your own startups and great confidence in your strength.

Take your time, even if it seems like an utopia.
Take your time, even if the Great C is besieging you.
Take your time to create your own startup and do it.

diary of a crisis survivor take your time

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