Things startups (really) do and don’t need

Things startups do and don’t need just popped up on Hacker News. I agree with the majority of the list but I feel strongly about the following:

You do not need:

  1. Good coffee maker
    Make tea by boiling water, it’s less expensive and healthier.
  2. Video game system
    Games are too distracting, leave them at home, don’t try to keep people in the office.
  3. Beer on Fridays
    As a co-founder who doesn’t drink, I wouldn’t appreciate regularly encouraging my employees to do so or trying to force friendships during happy hour. If people are friendly, they can be friendly over drinks that aren’t on the company tab.

You do need:

  1. Business cards
    Why would you hinder people’s ability to get back in touch with you? Not everyone has an iPhone with a shake-to-swap-contact-info app.
  2. Central air conditioning
    I’m baffled that “Heating that goes all night” is necessary while “Central air conditioning” is not. Isn’t it easier to warm up with an extra jacket or by running Photoshop than to cool down when you’re sweating like mad in July? In any case, you need both.
  3. Meetings
    The original list offered no explanation for this but I feel that a daily stand-up is invaluable to staying on track and feeling closer to everyone in the company and where things are moving.

Needed things missing from the original list:

  1. Revenue
    Because you’re a business first and everything else second. And once you have that, profit.
  2. Technical talent
    If ideas are worth less than execution, then you need the best people you can get to execute.
  3. Passion
    Nothing is better than working on something you believe in. It just doesn’t feel like work.

The original list is neat but it also doesn’t apply to startups of any size. If you’re not generating revenue, why have perks like video games or beer?

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