Chasing angels

This is an old post from a Toronto startup person David, read the top one quickly. I’ll screencap too:

The twitter thread referenced is here, it highlights folks that are focused on using their work to buy themselves freedom to work how they want:

These tweets are folks talking about running agencies and trying to build up enough runway that they don’t have to be tied down to the agency they can have fun doing other things. Or working differently —“Innovating”.

Girls who want boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they're girls
Who do girls like they're boys

It’s a forever joke in the startup world / industry that agencies want to be product companies and product companies want to be agencies. Why?

Agencies want to stop doing client work, full stop. But the money is too good to give up. How can you give up all those tendies to go into debt and try to find product market fit. But they still try, until they shut down or get aquired (maybe by a client like a Bank, a fortune 500, or a bigger fishy wishy.

Startups for some reason keep coming back to agencies, big and small, to build things. It’s usually founders that aren’t technical, or who have a a tech team though need some of that sweet jetfuel juice that agencies have in specialized talent. At some point the cost factor and desire for hiring your own talent and not paying agency costs make startups & agencies go from makeups to break ups.

Services companies are attractive business models because they let you invest in other things to generate revenue, or lets you invest in growth. Money isn’t the problem.

With startups, money seems to be the problem. Startups and founders need money to survive and grow. A penny for your thoughts, a nickle for a kiss, a dime if you tell me that you love me (music notes). Startup founders need those things in order from the Universe. The last one being validation which does not come about without those key things startups are always on about: traction, engagement, revenue.

Chasing Angels

Listen, with all of that fun stuff happening, many folks are spending or losing more than they’re gaining and startup culture welcomes angels in the outfield. Taking debt + loans is in. Printing money is in. Printers go brrr. One strapping it is in— it shouldn’t be though. We have to two strap it.


At the end of the day, the work that we’re doing, to Davids’ point, is that we’re looking for something we love to do. Jon Lax shut down his agency and took a job with FB. Even some cool kids are now a deloitte company.

Like, you can only go so far kicking the can on business models that don’t work. I wrote about the death of the design agency and here too while at the peak of my design agency because listen it’s a broken model. It’s work. It’s a job. J.O.B. It’s not Steve Jobs. It’s a job job.

You’re going to need to love what you’re doing. Like super love it. And not love pain, and failing, and resilience. Though loving what comes from sacrifices.

Startups can have broken business models too. Or models that as David and Jon say don’t scale. It’s real. Taking money, going into debt, chasing Angels in the outfield won’t solve that problem. It’s kicking the can, expensive. It can get as expensive as Uber expensive. We’re’ not Uber though.

‘If the lifestyle that you’re living has you taking more shorts than gains, then that lifestyle needs to stop’. - makaveli