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IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

David Heinemeier: All the excuses we have are our own fault!


Everything’s nice and fine today, but what will happen on Monday?

You have a great idea, you want to start a business, but come Monday you realise that it is frustrating when you have to start out from zero, so you start looking for excuses to just let it go, as everything stands in your way.

Nowadays, our "great excuse" is the state of the economy. That gives us the chance to say that everything is going badly, that it’s not my fault if I cannot be an entrepreneur.

But that is simply not true! It’s always our fault!

All the excuses we have are our own fault!

If we look back to twenty years ago, we become aware of the real obstacles that existed then, and that in fact we currently have exceptional opportunities to get a project under way.

Twenty years ago, you had first to persuade somebody to give you the money required for opening a business. You had to rent premises, have an office, a certain infrastructure, and so forth. And even so, if you were from a small market such as Denmark, with only five million inhabitants, you did not have access to a world market. And there are lots of businesses which without a large market in which to sell their product or service do not work. You had to get the press to talk about you so that people found out that you existed.

Many of those aspects (persuading everyone that you had a good idea) called for you to have a good CV and a good backer. In those days, if you didn’t have a good pedigree that was indeed a problem or a real excuse.

So I’ll tell you twenty years ago saw the release of Jurassic Park, the film that brought about the rebirth of dinosaurs.

And nowadays, all those excuses we make are dinosaurs! There are now thousands of projects that you can set under way without any kind of infrastructure.

Ten years ago we only needed 250 dollars a month to keep a server in operation, and from that server we developed Basecamp, my first company. And later, while I was creating Ruby on Rails, I had access to communities with the best software developers in the world, without setting a foot outside my small studio in Copenhagen.

We no longer need to go to banks, to the traditional investors. Through crowdfunding we can go directly to seek money from the clients or users who will be wanting to purchase our product. And such people are not interested in our CV or who is sponsoring us, but simply whether or not our product is good, whether our proposal is interesting.

When you approach people directly, you can ignore all that is not essential.

Teleworking is a reality. It doesn’t matter where you are on the map. 37 Signals, the company I now manage, went from being a consultancy to being a software company without moving from Copenhagen.

And now I live between the United States and Marbella, which is not exactly the software capital of the world but does have a prettier port than Copenhagen!

You should be quite clear that all barriers to turning projects into a reality have disappeared. We no longer have excuses. We have no opportunity costs, and that is the best gift.

We all have no option but to create something new. Go for it!



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