Startups are like TV Series

I’d like to make the analogy between Startups and TV Series. And even though it might sound a bit ludicrous, they’re actually very similar.

There are thousands of TV Series out there, and as many scenarios. Most of them are average. Only a few are good and a very small amount are very good. You can shoot a pilot, have a pretty good script, a decent casting and an amazing crew, but that won’t make any difference between show A and show B. To add a little bit more suspense, special effects or plot twists won’t be enough either. The best shows make the difference through a converging sum of details that create an amazing and consistent story overtime.

In the world of startups, it is exactly the same.

This sum of details is often concentrated in a specific part of the story, making it complex in some sort but still very organized. Take shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones or House of Cards for instance. It is a pretty heterogenous, yet successful trinomial. Each one of them has a set of complexities that makes them not only good, but spectacular.

In Breaking Bad for instance, we follow the intricate evolution of the main characters’ personalities. Without this, the whole show would be as bad as a fake documentary on drugs. And I’ll just throw in there the fact that Walter White also has a great focus on his product.

Game of Thrones is very intense. The story as a whole is a mixed puzzle where all the pieces are slowly falling into a carefully arranged order. The complexity of House of Cards comes from the relationships between the characters and the underlying set of manipulations that follow. Much like House of Cards, where the main character’s master plan only reveals itself to the audience as the story progresses, making for an even more climactic end.

Without those different sets of complexities, none of those three shows would have been unquestionable successes.

Don’t get me wrong, complex does not mean messy. Lost is a messy show, Weeds is a messy show. Complexity implies excellence in order not to get messy. The same is expected from entrepreneurs, they must all be exceptional at some point. Building a great venture implies that entrepreneurs learn how to put together and deal with the sum of details that will eventually turn their businesses into a compelling story and not a messy one.

Let’s take two more analogies: Suits for instance, is a great suite of episodes in which the hero never fails. Compare it to the Tim Ferriss kind of entrepreneurship. What about Walking Dead? It can be easily compared to a lot of startups covered in the media which are slowly moving but never giving up. They are not iterating anymore towards the future, they’re just moving.

You have very little chance to build a successful venture like Facebook, Uber, Tesla, Google or Apple. But you have zero chance if you’re not aware of the importance of excellence in what you’re trying to achieve.

Excellence is nothing but a complex set of details,
actions and decisions that come together at the end.