Bootstrap companies are the offspring of their founders. Just as with a child, the founders' DNA and parenting ultimately results in a totally unique entity. PreIdeation
is the first stage during which the founder develops their passions and talents. There is rarely any contemplation of a company or even a notion of a particular product during this time. Preideation begins with the founders' birth, childhood and beyond and culminates when they awaken to the possibility of taking an entrepreneurial journey. In terms of the Hero's Journey, this is the Call to Adventure
The key task for the founder-to-be is to develop and deepen their passions and talents. "Passions" refer to external interests. Steve Wozniak
tinkered with electronics well before inventing the Apple Computer, creating a number of devices, including a Blue Box
to make free long distance calls. He demonstrated the early first version of what would later become the first Apple computer at a gathering of electronics geeks at the Homebrew Computer Club
. Bill Gates discovered a passion for computers
in middle school and dedicated many hours writing code and becoming conversant in programming languages. Microsoft would later start life as a BASIC
language supplier for the nascent personal computing industry.
"Talents" refers to innate capabilities. Maven
are terms I use
to describe three very different energies in founders. In bootstraps Mavens are the product innovators, while Evangelists find the customers. While there is a pervasive myth about solo entrepreneurs, it is most often a complementary team that starts ventures. Discovering and deepening one's talents and realizing the need for a partner are essential activities in the Preideation stage.
Here's a 5 min YouTube video
from the Bootstrap Bootcamp
explaining all the bootstrap stages.