Fishing in the Desert

I have built my startup product, but customers are not in a hurry to buy and investors say we're too early for them. What's my next move?

“Lend me yer eyes captain,” said the smirking pirate, lifting his fake eye-patch for a moment, “How would ya improve my fishing boat?” I looked around. The desert surrounded us in all directions. “What’s the catch?” I asked. “I’m a post-doctorate in macro-economy. Navigating the academia got too political. Why not feed the hungry world, I wondered!” he said, winking. “And you chose to fish in a dried ocean?” I asked. “Nay, silly, I chose an ocean nobody else can yet see! Fix my broken boat, and we’ll show a mountain of fish to the hungry world.”

“Which hungry world?” I asked. “The world cannot self-sustain on limited land. They’ll suffer a crop conflict that only fish can resolve, you see,” pointing to his PowerPoint presentation in sand, “and I argued this point with the watchman in the lighthouse. He agrees more than I with the promise of the ocean. We fought for months over the rights to the idea. Which deserves more, the fisherman or the watchman who illuminates the way? I couldn’t convince him to step down from his lighthouse, for he sees us closer to the other side from up there. I’m perfecting my ship, to prove that shipping beats speculating” he said.

“Stop for a moment,” I said, “how will you catch a single fish in the desert? Just … One fucking fish?”

“Don’t you believe that among the millions of fish swimming here in the near future, one will bite?” he asked. “Have you tried to catch a single one to prove that theory?” I asked. “No, I’m too busy perfecting this fishing boat. The lad who built it for me died of starvation — woe is me!” he pointed to two feet sticking out of a blanket, “I taught myself engineering. Let’s dominate this ocean before others arrive,” then he let out a sudden scream, “Dawn! Quick, hide the stealth ship before others discover the ocean!”

In panic, he pulled the blanket from over the dead man and covered the boat with it. I walked up to the body. The palm of the dead man’s right hand covered the agony in his face. His dry lips told of thirst as the cause of death. His left hand gripped the rope with which he dragged the ship in his final hour. I pulled his arm away to see his face. He looked older than anyone I knew. I looked closer, slapped him and shouted “wake up… WAKE UP!” The dead man’s eyes opened wide, stared back at me and cried “WAKE UP!” A splash of cold water landed on my face. I stood at the sink, staring in the mirror, slapping myself, shaking. “Why waste a life building an ark before first proving that anyone gives a shit?” I told the dead man in the mirror.

The dawn of the final battle arrived. And the ark, built aground, remained aground still.

Amin A.

Written by

Amin Ariana

A software entrepreneur from San Francisco

Special thanks Abby D.