Five startup tips from Captain Jack Sparrow


Starting up is exciting! It’s a great adventure to wield your imagination and skills to create something new; almost always with limited resources and racing against time.

One almost feels like the quirky Captain Jack Sparrow, navigating his beloved Black Pearl through the turbulent waters to the safety of the shores. So, here are some essential startup tips that the infamous pirate may share to survive the early years, navigating uncharted territory, slaying the Kraken, treasure hunting and other exciting sea adventures.

Know thy Kraken (problem to solve/slay)

The key to building a world-class product/solution is to first understand thoroughly the customer’s problem that you are solving.

Spend quality time and extra effort to research and understand-

  • Root cause and extent of the problem (helps to assess your opportunity)
  • Who all are affected by the problem (market segments and prospective customers)
  • Pain points for the customer (match your product features to address them)
  • Economic loss due to a problem (so you can price your solution appropriately)

What you want the most? (The broken compass)

Most startups begin as outrageous ideas, ahead of their time and adoption.

People will laugh it off and brand you crazy for chasing a wild dream.

But, with the special compass, my friend, you shall succeed. For the world, your compass may be broken and never point North, but you must know and believe that it will always point to what you desire the most.

In short, aspire and trust your compass. It will not lead you astray.

Think outside the box (or under the boat, as necessary)

Let’s admit it. You do the usual things; you’ll get the usual results. If you dream of great rewards, you’ll have to pull some special tricks.

With limited resources and steep challenges, innovation is indeed an entrepreneur’s best friend. Well, the competition from wealthy and established companies is proven to force the innovation out of you.

Will Turner: This is either madness or brilliance.

Jack Sparrow: It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.

Think long term, have conviction (Save the one bullet)

One cannot overemphasise this point.

Remember, when Jack Sparrow was dumped on an island with only a rusty sword and pistol with a single shot? You have to believe as he did in the hope that his chance would come.

You have to wait and work, like he did, for your chance.

And, of course, when your opportune moment does arrive, you will have to take that one shot. Without a hesitation and with confidence.

Not all riches are worth pursuing. Let go.

A word of caution. Not all riches are worth chasing. It may seem tempting, but do not touch the cursed gold. It is good to be profitable. But, blind ambition has led many before us on paths of illegal and immoral practices. We wish you well to create wealth based on ethical and sustainable business models. Remember, do what you must. But there is a pirate code to be observed!

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)