At the end of Webstock last week, co-organiser Natasha Lampard gave some closing remarks. Tash’s remarks lead me to believe she was planning on resigning or this was to be the last Webstock — thankfully this was not the case.
Instead, Tash told a lovely story of a hotel / bed and breakfast in Japan called Houshi.
Houshi Ryokan was founded around 1,300 years ago and it has always been managed by the same family since then. It is the oldest still running family business in the world.
Tash contrasted this lovely story of a business handed down generation to generation for 1,300 years to the current state of so many “web 2.0” / technology companies. Tash suggested the term “exit strategy” should be replaced with “exist strategy”. Funny side note: As I write this, Grammarly thinks I’ve confused exit with exist!
Tash’s point resonated with me. I hear way too many discussions around exit strategies, how will you sell out and start the next thing. In fact, a lot of people only consider you an entrepreneur if you start-fail-start-sell-start-sell-start-sell businesses.
Tash asked, why do you need to build a business only to grow it so big and quickly only to sell it for a profit? There is a certain love and beauty with building a company that you share with your work-mates, share with your family, and like so many businesses only 50 years ago, expect your children would take over at some point in time.
This is where she talked about the term Longtrepreneur — a person who builds something for the long term.
While this is nothing new or unique — I saw a comment on twitter with someone saying, isn’t this was you used to call a business person? However, it was nice to have a talk that reinforced this simple values that don’t get much air time with the talk of start-ups and get rich quick being front and centre.
I was thinking about this again today, so went looking for the hotel she talked about and found it. There is a lovely video documentary below that’s well worth the 12 minutes if you have it.
Photo Credit Keri Henare on Twitter.