Zeno's Startup - Explanation

Zeno's Startup - Explanation

Nowadays it seems like starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur is everyone's dream. But it isn't all butterflies and rainbows - very few startups even start. If you have ever worked at a startup or started a business of your own, you know that going from having an idea to actually building a product and launching a business takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Many times what happens is that as you get closer to the launch date, you run into more problems and work that has to be complete before the launch. Hence the birth of the Zeno's Startup joke (a NerdWear original). 

This joke is playing with two concepts. 1) How long it takes startups to launch and how they continue to be "startups" once they become well established businesses. And 2) Zeno’s Paradox of Motion, which is a philosophical problem that toys with limits and the concept of infinity.

Achilles is racing a tortoise that has been given a head start. Zeno argues that even though Achilles is faster than the tortoise, he can never catch the tortoise. He says that the tortoise starts with a head start of some finite distance, x, and in order for Achilles to pass the tortoise, he must first travel that x distance (and reach where the tortoise was when Achilles started running). By the time Achilles makes it to that spot, the tortoise has already traveled a distance of x/2, and since x is a finite number, x/2 is also a finite number. Now in order for Achilles to catch the tortoise he has to run to where the tortoise was when he reached where the tortoise started, and by the time he makes it there, the tortoise has traveled another distance of (x/2)/2, which is also finite. You can split this distance an infinite amount of times, which means that Achilles would have to run an infinite amount of finite distances, and infinity times a finite number is infinity, so in order for him to catch the turtle, he would have to run an infinite distance, which means he can never catch the turtle if it is given a head start. This is obviously not true from observation and now that we know about limits and asymptotes, we know that an infinite amount of finite numbers doesn’t necessarily equal infinity. So "Zeno's Startup" is always 50% of the way to launching, and never makes it.

Learn more:

Zeno's Paradox: https://thatspreposterous.com/2020/07/23/why-does-zeno-guarantee-that-no-one-can-move/

At what point are you no longer a startup? https://www.business.com/articles/at-what-point-are-you-no-longer-a-startup/

Products: 

Zeno's Startup Sticker - $4 Zeno's Startup T-Shirt - $25

 


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