The Escape Velocity of a Business

February 18, 2020

There have been many analogies for starting a business - positive feedback loop, the flywheel, a rocket, but they all have one thing in common and that is:

It is nearly impossible to start, but once it gets going… It is nearly impossible to stop.

Today I want to share with you why that is and how you can ‘hack’ this process by latching onto a rocket that is already on its way.

I want to preface this by saying: I don’t want to give empty hope to people that are thinking of starting a business; merely explain to people in the midst of it that it WILL get easier. The hard truth is 90% of people who attempt to start a business will ultimately fail.

That being said - let’s get into it!

When you’re first starting out there’s so very much to learn and to do. For example some of the skills I’ve had to learn and implement are:

Cinematography, video editing, software engineering, coding, graphic design, seo, sales, marketing, copywriting, leadership, accounting, and probably dozens of others.

This is why 90% of people will fail - you just have to know and be able to do so many different things. With this much friction, the metaphorical escape velocity is just way too high.

But if we can somehow find a way to break through this daunting barrier, we can get into space where it’s litteral smooth sailing all the way to wherever we might want to go.

I mean it can’t be that hard.. It’s not rocket science, right? ;)

Let’s get literal for a second. Here is the equation for escape velocity of a planet - say earth.


M is the mass of the earth - so… pretty big. In fact, so big that the escape velocity of the earth is 11.2 km/s which is about 33 times the speed of sound. So that velocity is quite hard to achieve.

What does this have to do with starting a business? Well - a lot actually. I’ve uncovered over the years that many things in the universe are connected… Not in a weird, hippie way, but in a sense that many jurisdictions of thought are applicable in other areas of life. Just because this is an equation in physics doesn’t mean it can’t apply to entrepreneurship!

Now there is somewhat of a loophole in the escape velocity equation. And that is the ‘R’ which is the distance from the center of the planet to the point you’re taking off. Now normally this would be the radius of the earth if we launched from sea level like they do in Cape Canaveral.

But let’s be a bit smarter than that! If we increase R, it will actually make the escape velocity lower/easier. Then it becomes almost obvious - we need to launch our rocket from the top of Mount Everest!

In the physical world this is pretty much impossible to do - not only for the safety of the Nepal people, but can you imagine having to build a launch pad on the top of a mountain?

However, in the business world this is completely doable. The secret is to find someone who’s rocket is already well on its way and launch yours right off the top of it!

Now what does that mean in a REAL sense? It means to make things easier on ourselves, we should find a company/market/trend that is already doing well and build on top of it.

I’ll give you a real life example right out of my anecdotal experience.

The year was 2016 and I was working as an electrical engineer at a small 10 person firm in north Dallas. I knew I wanted more than this - I figured there just had to be more to life than working hard everyday to make someone else rich.

It was at this point I started researching as I’m sure you might be doing right now -

“How to make money online”

“Start a business from home”

“Be my own boss”

was all my google search history showed for months.

Then I found it. A business doing absolutely amazing. They were dominating the entire eCommerce market and crushing any competition that stood in their path. That company was Amazon.

If you know my story at all, you know the rest is history. I built a business on top of Amazon’s - selling physical products all over the country. Something that would have been absolutely impossible to do if I had tried to launch from ground level.

Fast forward a few years and now I’m using tools like Heroku and AWS to launch software companies quickly and with more ease than if I had built everything from scratch myself.

And just like I’ve built my company on the backs of others, many people have built their companies on the back of mine.

Now this doesn’t mean it’s easy or that ‘anyone with a keyboard can do it.’ It just means that the escape velocity is lower. It means that by latching onto an already exploding idea, you can get carried to new places.

There are still plenty of blinking red lights and fuel leaks along the way, but if you can skip some of the headache, why wouldn’t you?

Thanks for reading.

Written by Jordan Kilburn A.K.A. the Millionaire Millennial who lives in Dallas and helps people enjoy life, make money, and build cool stuff. You should follow him on Instagram / YouTube