Be cockroaches that surf within a funnel

Last week winner of Startup Weekend Cyprus DIYful visited me in London, and we spent sometime exchanging ideas and their business status. I don't know what happened (I usually just let the conversation flow), but through our discussion Chris and Anton came up with a ridiculous sentence that has since stuck with me - "be cockroaches that surf within a funnel".

The origin? It was particularly the exploration of these concepts:

  • "Be cockroaches" - I'm a fan of what Paul Graham said the surest route to success is to be cockroaches - "they're like cockroaches who can survive a nuclear winter". In a nutshell, teams that can always survive to fight another day.
  • "that surf" - I can't remember who gave me this analogy, but someone wise once commented that startup life is just like surfing - be content keeping afloat when there is no wave, but when the big wave comes ride it till it ends.
  • "within a funnel" - I tweeted in response to Joel Gascoigne's blog post about how funnel-thinking was more apt than ratio-thinking. Essentially funnel-thinking is to treat all activities as a funnel; for example, when thinking about customer acquisition, fully expect that out of X customers reached, a certain percentage will do something (like click on a link), and only another percentage of that will sign up.

I really like the imagery though. Now all I need is a picture of it.