Chaos and Stability: StartUps need both.

Chaos and Stability: StartUps need both.

I’m hosting another Start Up Choate event this week, at Applico’s space in New York. It will be the sixth of seven events this year that has united entrepreneurs, angels, and those aspiring to be.

This post if for those aspiring to be.

I sense a little hesitation from my fellow alumni, wondering if this is a good time to jump in. Many have graduated the best schools, with the best grades, and may be on a track (or have!) the best jobs in the nation. So why is everyone so excited about such a messy way of doing business? Is this just a bubble or is the world changing for real?

Let me be clear: startups are chaos at every stage, inchoate to outcome. Everything takes twice as long, and costs twice as much as expected. Partners blow up, products crash, launches fail. Second chances are rare with one idea, and the mortality rate with a start-up is somewhere in the mid-90%’s. The financing dance is more like a masquerade ball. Some serial entrepreneurs have multiple failures on their linked-in past, yet they keep going.

Before diving in, wouldn’t it be nice to know at least one trick to working with all this chaos?


My YEO forum-mate, Craig Morantz aka Go To Market Guy, said it well:

In order for chaos to be a productive force, it requires stability below it. If we want constructive criticism to be accepted as positive, relationship stability is imperative.

When we go at it in a mangers meeting about strategy, capital, or anything else the chaos is supported by a deep trust built among the managers.  Chaos in product development can be productive only when there is stable processes, consistent status meetings and flexible leadership that is open to new ideas. Criticism is not something that will shake the foundation of a relationship when the greatest form of flexibility exists, trust and respect.

So, what an outsider may see is utter chaos. But inside a start up, a truly good start up, is a foundation of trust, respect and flexibility that makes it work. A genuine desire to find the truth. Find the best people. Make a dent in the universe by identifying problems, building elegant solutions, and scaling them across user bases that appreciate the features we once dreamed up.

I truly hope what we have begun to build for the alumni, parents and student at Choate will help build the foundations of stability for many start ups within our ecosystem.

So we can enjoy the chaos just a bit.


Start Up Choate New York is on November 20th. Registration is    SOLD OUT. Sorry, just Choate, no Deerfield. Start Up//Choate features the following guest speakers:

  • Beth Ferreira ’92, COO,
  • Krish Arvapally, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Mojiva
  • Hosted by Alex Moazed ’06, Founder & President, Applico
  • Moderated by Miles Spencer ’81, Founder, Vaux les Vaux Ventures