Things startups do and don’t need

Charlie says: I was going to heart this, but I wasn’t sure if it would heart the original (not my intent) or Mike’s critique (my intent). So I’m reblogging it. I can appreciate what Chris was going for in his initial post, but many many many of the “needs” he posts are, obviously, wants. Are “windows that open” that much more critical to the success of a startup than “no doorman”? Are “two forms of Internet access” essential? Of course not. I like Mike’s flexibility / inflexibility heuristic, but I prefer my own. What do startups need? A problem (or, if you prefer, an opportunity), an idea, great execution, and, yes flexibility. What don’t they need? Just about anything else.


I’m sorry. This list pisses me off. I avoided saying so for some time, but now I just can’t help myself. Every business is a unique snowflake. Every person is a unique snowflake. Some start-ups will be successful in the middle of Texas, far from any viable public transportation. Some start-ups will be successful despite the fact — maybe because of the fact? — that they offer free lunches.

These lists should be taken with a grain of salt. My list is simple. Things start-ups need: flexibility. Things start-ups don’t need: inflexibility.





Things startups do need

Sunny office

Windows that open

Democratically controlled music system

Two forms of internet access

Beer on fridays

EVDO cards

Video game system

Good coffee maker

Proximity to public transportation

Proximity to park

Heating that goes all night

Health care plans for everyone

Mac laptops with second monitors


Lots of in-person interaction

Gmail and Google docs

Soft lighting

Things startups don’t need

Fancy (Aeron) chairs

Expensive art on the walls

Vacation policy

PR firm

Dress code

Private offices

COO’s and GMs

Business cards

Microsoft products

Dental plans

Free lunches

Central air conditioning


Phone system

Set time you need to arrive in morning



Saturday, January 2, 2010 — 440 notes
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    Things startups do need Sunny office Windows that open Democratically controlled music system Two forms of internet...
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  10. 825b reblogged this from cdixon and added:
    Chris Dixon writes a great long form blog and Tumblr. Below is his self-described “highly subjective” list of...
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