Startup culture (Unicorns vs Zebras)

When it comes to startup companies two different approaches can be taken. One is the Unicorn :unicorn: method which is male-driven, aggressive, hierarchical, top-down and one dimensional.

The alternative is what we can call “The Zebra :zebra: approach” which has the crowd in its DNA. Zebras are very social, they value collaboration over competition, they involve their users from the very beginning and cherish the process of building their project even more than the results of their work.


Really useful, Thanks!

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I’ve worked in some startup companies. People have different views of what a startup company is. I consider a startup company as a company that hits the ground running. A person who starts a company and slowly grows it is not a startup in my mind.

My view of a startup is one that has a specific product in mind, hires a number of experienced and specialized people, and is heavily funded. They have no product and hence no income. Yet they have tremendous expenses. Dozens of engineers, programmers and other personnel ain’t cheap. To get a new product out quickly costs millions at the least, and very likely tens of millions.

These companies are very much driven by the employees. They are usually specialists who are driven and work very long hours. They know what they are doing and they are allowed to do their work with minimal supervision. Any decent company operates this way.

Usually there is some sort of incentive like stock options or founders shares. That’s a big gamble though. My guess is that the majority never pan out.