I've been working in the start-up scene with founders and senior members of their teams since I started my coaching practice just a few years ago. Prior to this I worked in the London start-up scene during the Dotcom era and remember well the pain of starting my own in consultancy!
It's probably an understatement to say that over this time the start-up landscape has been transformed, but even in the last few years there have been major developments in the ecosystem.
One such shift is the proliferation of incubators and accelerators, and shared workspaces, together with entrepreneur development schemes run by various organisations. Many of these focus on equipping the entrepreneur with the skills and attitude to make it as well as providing a rich source of funding opportunities. Some of the providers are large, well established companies, or universities hoping to more effectively spin off research into profitable ventures.
During the last few months however, part of my intuition has been nagging me. It feels like a long-term slow shift has become tangible in the language, behaviours and ideas present within these ecosystems.
It has become more 'establishment,' for want of a better word, with less fresh narratives, less co-creation. It's got the feel of convergence maybe. The very things being sought becoming less likely due to the seeking.
In the hope that this is not simply a figure of my imagination, these are the questions I'm asking myself:
Is this a reflection of greater involvement and influence by established organisations or indeed academia which are implicitly having a cultural affect on the nature of the entrepreneur?
Or is this, again implicitly, a measure of convergence by numbers, where certain formulae appear to have worked before and are being applied more liberally to all? In the perhaps false belief that these approaches can be generalised across all start-ups, regardless of context?
Or is this simply a reflection of a paradoxical maturing of a market space that by nature probably shouldn't mature, but becomes more homogeneous, only to diverge again sometime? So it's just another wave?
The pattern seems, however, to sit uncomfortably with me.
What are your thoughts?