Seven Ways Starting a Company is Like the Hunger Games

By: Guest | June 28, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Meridith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg.

Launching a business is always an adventure.

In fact, it has a lot of similarities to competing in the Hunger Games.

Sure, you don’t have to fight for your life and no one dies, but things you don’t think about – payroll taxes, lawsuits, bad clients – can take down your business before you get started.

We had a lot of fun compiling these ideas along with tips to thrive.

A good designer can make all the difference.

Even if your graphic designer’s doppelganger isn’t Lenny Kravitz, and he or she has a hard time rocking gold eyeliner, find a visual branding expert who can help set you apart from your competition.

Katniss became the “girl on fire” because of her flaming dress. Choose this partner wisely so you are positioned to set the world on fire.

Playing to the cameras will get you rewards. 

Mini-parachutes bearing gifts will not rain down on you when you kiss your co-founder; however, getting some good press can be worth thousands in advertising dollars.

Never underestimate the value of some good PR and take those opportunities whenever they present themselves.

Poisonous bees suck.

Whether it’s a tracker jacker or a plain old honeybee, getting stung isn’t fun. You don’t want to get stung by your vendors or partners, either.

Do your homework. Come prepared. Have your contracts reviewed by a good attorney and make sure you read the fine print.

The folks watching at home will never fully understand.

A startup can be engrossing, distracting, and stressful. Unless your family has worked for, or started a business, they are unlikely to understand.

You don’t want to turn out like Haymitch (even if you have a crush on Woody Harrelson), so prepare yourself to be misunderstood, and maybe set reminders in your calendar so you don’t forget important birthdays and events.

Watch out for the Careers.

Careers” are Hunger Games competitors from the inner districts; they are well-funded, well-fed, and have been trained at birth to win the game. Serial entrepreneurs are the Careers of the startup landscape. They have experience, connections, and have raised money before. They might have even made enough from their last venture to self-fund indefinitely.

Essentially, like the Careers, they’ve been trained since the birth (of their last company) to eat you for lunch, so watch out.

The capitol/capital rules the land.

This isn’t the end of Mockingjay folks; the Capitol is still calling the shots in the Hunger Games and in real life you haven’t been bought out for an ungodly sum by Facebook, Google, or somesuch yet. While starting a business, the quest for capital still rules your world whether it is accessing VCs, securing a loan, or closing a deal with a new customer.

You’ll survive a bit longer if you remember cash is king, so count your pennies and hold off on the three finger salutes until you are in the outer districts.

Master of the game.

Two weeks before launch, your web developer goes dark. Google releases a new algorithm the same day you complete a costly SEO overhaul.  “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!” Sometimes it feels like someone else is playing a cruel joke on you.

Be nimble. Take evasive action. Handle the unexpected pitfalls as best you can and keep moving forward towards Victor’s Village.

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

This guest post is from Project Eve, a new social network for women entrepreneurs. When not dodging tracker jackers, its co-founders, Meridith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg, can be found on the Project Eve site, on Twitter @projecteve1 and on Google+.

  • scribblinghappy

    You forgot the value in having a partner like Peeta who will watch your back.  It’s more than playing up for cameras, it’s biting the berries and doing what it takes to survive. 
    I really like this comparison though. Lots of things that work well.

    • Projectevekim

      @scribblinghappy -oh yes exactly partners and allies like Peeta and Rue are crucial getting your back and lifting you up when you are down and for Meridith and I at Project Eve finding the humor in the absurd!

  • This is fantastic, mainly because I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games. Great post!

    • Projectevekim

       @AdamBritten Thanks Adam! We had an awful lot of fun writing it not just because we got to re-read parts of the book to make sure we were accurate. Anything you would add? We tried to work in something about the folks at home not understanding the “showmance” between Peeta and Katniss but we couldn’t quite get our point across. 

  • magriebler

    Clever post! To your well-taken first point about the value of high-quality design, I would add: invest in good writing. (You two don’t need help in this area, obviously. The odds are in your favor!) Having a marketing degree and a basic grasp of the English language does not a promotional writer make.

  • GOchris

    RT @ginidietrich I. Love. This! RT @spinsucks Seven Ways Starting a Company is Like the Hunger Games by @projecteve1

  • jasonkonopinski

    @ginidietrich @spinsucks @projecteve1 Of. Course. You. Do.

  • Such a good post! Strangely enough, I JUST started The Hunger Games this morning on the way to work. I’ve been meaning to read the series for months, but school got in the way. It’s fun to see it applied to business! 

    •  @annedreshfield OMG. You won’t be able to go to work because you’ll only want to read. I had to tell myself I could only read IF I went to work.

      •  @ginidietrich So I’ve heard! I’m going to be itching to get back on the train so I can read, which is…just weird, considering what commuting home on the train is like! lol.

      •  @ginidietrich I ran into this same problem! I’m now in the middle of book two. 🙂

        • Projectevekim

          @lauraclick @ginidietrich Meridith and I agree we found them totally addictive fortunately they are quick!

    •  @annedreshfield I haven’t read it yet, either, Anne! (Well, you’re ahead of me, because you started it.) I think I’ll have to add it my summer list. 

  • SpinSucks

    @ginidietrich HAHAHA> I had a feeling you were going to like that one.

    • ginidietrich

      @SpinSucks Why? Because I’m Hunger Games obsessed??

  • LOL!! This is awesome!!!! We started ours together, so I had my Peta so to speak! 🙂  

  • projecteve1

    @JeffSheehan @spinsucks thanks Jeff and Gini happy Friday!

  • TedRubin

    Love this!

    • Projectevekim

       @TedRubin Thanks! We had so much fun writing it. Anything you would add?

      • TedRubin

         @Projectevekim Never, ever give up… and be prepared to evolve on the fly.

  • JustInTheSouth

    @d3sky ha! Love the twwet

    • d3sky

      @JustInTheSouth @ginidietrich Hehe I esp like the “Folks watching at home will never fully understand” line

      • JustInTheSouth

        @d3sky HA! I know right?

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