When it comes to advice, technology loves standardization. Startups are often told that there are certain metrics to meet, deadlines to meet, timelines to measure against.
Examples abound: Here’s the ideal amount of money to raise in your Series A round; Here’s How Many Employees You Should Have Before You Hire This Executive; here is at what stage to hire legal advice; and, more recently, this is the percentage of staff you have to lay off if you can’t access more funding.
(The answer is 20% of the staff, depending on who you ask.)
There is an answer to some of these blanket statements: startups are complicated, and one size certainly does not fit all. But still, these startup standards help point companies in the right direction, eventually becoming the status quo.
So when entrepreneur Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, suggested that is seeing startups with 20 years of runway thanks to the huge fundraisers of 2021, it caught my eye. Isn’t it the general advice that startups should have three years of track record? What if we are in a more bullish market, 18 months?
My belated reaction to this August tweet aside, let’s talk runway. As you can see from the title of this article, I think the ideal runway length is a myth, along with other startup myths, such as more money equals more growth. At the end of this piece, you may agree.