Technology

Startups & the Superhero Origin Story

Josh and I went to see “Iron Man” after Startup Riot this evening, and Josh commented how the first superhero movie is always the best.  I tend to agree, and for me, I think it has a lot to do with my love of startups (and why Superman is lame).

The superhero origin story typically follows some flawed individual who sees something wrong in the world that gives them a reason to become something great.  Startups are based on flawed individuals who see a problem and think they have a solution.  Both startups and superheros make mistakes along the way, go through awkward phases where they come to grips with their “powers”, need to reevaluate their solutions, and can emerge powerful and revolutionary.

To me, the story of a successful startup closely follows the superhero origin story.  The sequel can be done well – watching Google mess with the wireless spectrum auction was interesting, but not nearly as cool as watching them rise from nothing to trounce Yahoo, Microsoft, Altavista, and the rest in search.  The mistakes made along the way are part of the charm, and nothing will ever be as epic as their rise to fame.  Superman is lame because he’s a golden boy – he basically shows up with super powers and no real flaws.  Cheering for Superman is like getting excited about the epic rise of ESPN 2.