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Alhambrize Your Startup

How Will You Alhambrize Your Austin Startup?

In 889, no one had the idea that the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain, was going to be a big deal.  For a while it was Spanish, then it was Moorish, then Muslim Spanish, and then Catholic. There were some other interloping possessors too and some were real scoundrels. There are flavors of Roman, African, Andalucían, European, Muslim and some unique individuals plastered all over its grounds.  There are buildings stuck to walls and a fortress tacked to palaces.  Every season of its history has a building and a thousand stories attached to the place in Spain called the Alhambra. Today, the building and its grounds have amazing European-style gardens, a fortress, a place to lock up a princess, covert dressing rooms, places to eat oranges, hold court, meet ambassadors, contemplate, eat and do whatever things its occupants need to do.

Great people have spent time changing lives and world affairs on those grounds.  I found a hundred hours of inspiration at the Alhambra when I lived nearby. Some people have found great success within its structure and lots have found ways to improve upon the Alhambra. Other folks have lost their lives, their nations, their families, and their fortunes in the Alhambra. The Alhambra is like a start up with successes and failures and patches and adaptations that make it work.  It has crumbling walls that were hastily thrown up to serve a particular function and aqueducts that survived centuries because quality water supplies were a primary need.  The Alhambra is a mess.  It is a gorgeous smashup of homogenized confusion that suites it site and its purpose perfectly. Most successful start-ups are like that.

Master Plan Startup vs. Alhambra

Most startups are not built like master planned and architecturally perfect skyscrapers.  Most startups have enough of a plan to build the first building and the startup either does or does not function with that first blueprint.  The entrepreneurs at the head of the startup are like those that ruled the Alhambra who each saw an opportunity and a need and made the place better. The heavy investments, like the aqueduct system, go to the things that are vital to the long-term growth of your startup.  The lighter efforts are given to the passing fads, like the whims of a queen you plan to behead, or packaging in this year’s trendiest color.  At some point, you realize your startup is your fortress and your palace and your lifeline; however, times change and updates will always be in order.

Alhambra Pivoted – So Will Your Startup

Successful startups adapt and grow and improve in the ways that are needed, which are generally different than the way first perceived.   Different troops will be employed until the proper qualities are identified and good hiring choices are made.  Different procurement techniques are attempted until the appropriate calculations of time, price, quality, and vendor are balanced.  There will be lots of failed ventures along the way.  Some ideas will be dismantled. Sometimes, people will try to take your start up from you by force and sometimes with tricks.

It is known that many who ruled in or over the Alhambra did not appreciate her because having her was hard.  Having a start up is also hard. It is my wish that my clients occasionally take a step back and look at the wonderful mash up of functioning parts they built.  I hope they recognize that, for all the work, their business provides for them and keeps them motivated and that she is worth fighting for.