How fat Teddy Bears are like Space Shuttles

How fat Teddy Bears are like Space Shuttles

My friend Jason Hogg recently told a story about a conversation with his son.  His son asked this question:

“Daddy, why don’t we just take the Space Shuttle to Mars?”

Jason: “Son, yes, the Space Shuttle is a spaceship, but going to Mars is a lot more complicated than that.  Let me tell you why.”

Like space travel, startups are more complicated than they seem.  Most aren’t NASA complicated, but they aren’t simple either.  I find that when someone starts a sentence with “Why don’t you just…?“, they are typically indicating a lack of understanding of the complexity of something.

Here’s a silly but germane example.  At a recent Cornell Hockey game, there was a fundraiser and gift collection where the fans were asked to either buy or bring a stuffed animal to be donated to a local children’s charity.  For most people, it meant spending $5 as you walked into the stadium, and tossing this little guy over the glass partition at the end of the game:

Little Big Red Teddy Bear 2014 December Hockey

Some generous person decided to donate a huge bear.  It was initially part of the display in the lobby to get the attention of attendees. I can hear someone saying, “Why don’t we just toss the Big Big Red Teddy Bear over the partition?”.  The result was not so elegant:

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In summary: Getting the little bear over the glass, and getting the space shuttle into orbit are a lot less complicated than getting the huge bear over the glass, and a spaceship to Mars.  Next time you hear “Why don’t you just…?“, be wary.

Jason, your Father of the Year gift can be picked up here: