The startup world can be obsessive over growth rates. “Uber grew by 3,000% in their 37th month of existence.” “AirBnB took three years to hit a 100% monthly growth rate.” Even the Inc 5000 is ranked by three year revenue growth rates.
The numbers above are made up. They are not direct quotes about growth rates for Uber and AirBnB.
It can be easy to say that it’s “the startup culture,” while in reality it can be so easy to do the same thing in our businesses and lives.
I regularly find myself asking why Fizzle or my email list is not growing faster. Unchecked, it becomes this constant state of dissatisfaction. And yet, every time we hit one of our goals, we automatically recalibrate to set the marker beyond our current reach again…recreating that feeling of restlessness.
But when we take a step back… growing fast enough for what? To be able to raise venture capital? To be acquired by another company? To have a million dollars?
When I ask myself these questions, I’m quickly reminded that it’s not about the money at all. After all, having money is just an enabler.
It’s not about racing as fast as possible to sell a company either. Selling a company means you no longer get to work with your team or pursue the mission or build the product.
No, it’s deeper than that. That restlessness is actually about creative dissonance – that gap between your ability and your taste. It’s a desire to improve. To grow. To get better.
At the end of the day, the process of getting better is all we really have. The rest is just a race to… well, it’s a race to the end. And we all end up in the same place.
That’s what drives me more than anything: the process of getting better. If growth is a lagging indicator of the process of getting better, then that’s great. But growth for growth’s sake… I’ll pass.