Editor’s note: Chris Heivly, a serial entrepreneur, Startup Factory co-founder and now entrepreneur-in-residence at Tech Stars, talk s about taking the leap in building a startup.

DURHAM – Leaps are fun, dangerous, and scary but do you have a choice?

For as long as I can remember, experts have expressed the decision to start a company as “taking a leap“. The metaphor is obvious -the actual moment you leap is fraught with fear. People leap into marriage (think about jumping over the broomstick). People leap off bridges attached to a bungee cord (this is the image I have in my brain and a framework for the rest of this article).

In order for the metaphor to work or at least create enough drama, the difference between the starting point and the ending point has to be wide or deep. There has to be a considerable distance between the before and the after. The typical startup leap is the one from a corporate job to a startup role. The leap is perceived as even greater if your corporate role comes with role prestige, compensation, or any of the corporate trappings (remember a car allowance?).

For some reason, I don’t see the startup leap metaphor working if you exit college and join or create a startup. There is not enough distance in that movement to warrant characterizing your move as a leap. It feels like you are jumping from the sidewalk to the street.

One of the other key components of a leap has to be the level of commitment to the jump. If you are just ideating on your idea and working it at night and on weekends, I don’t think you can tell your friends that you made the leap. The leap has to be an all-in affair where there are no other options available to you after you jump.

There’s much more to Heivly’s post. Read it all at:


(C) Chris Heivly