Telling Business Truths

Why are so many new companies obsessed with being the new Facebook or Uber, we ask. Here we challenge much of the conventional wisdom of startups and discuss the core philosophies that entrepreneurs use to break the mold and in the words of Steve Jobs, “think different”.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

We would say that the vast majority of company building is not in the realm of the things we love. It’s in the realm of, well this is a real pain, but I need to get through it. And do I have the patience and learning ability to go up against all these different obstacles, whether they be red tape or struggling to find why clients won’t pay attention to me or why I think a product isn’t working.

Curiosity

People at startups are inherently curious.  They constantly challenge conventional wisdom, asking “why?”, “what if?”, and “why not?”  They have a deep craving to understand the world, gain new insight, and discover a better way.

Focus on Possibilities

Entrepreneurs spend most of their time imagining what could be, rather than focusing on what is.  They let their mind’s eye travel to a future state and explore fresh possibilities rather than clamming up and protecting the past.

Disregard for Status Quo

Since they have nothing to lose, startups are driven to stick-it-to-the-man.  They yearn to put a thumb in the eye of the complacent incumbents.

Fail fast and pivot

We are so frustrated by this idea, which is held up as an exit path for startup’s that aren’t succeeding. The pivot is problematic because it overly discounts the value of the initial idea and the initial market that an entrepreneur chases. We think discounting those things and pretending that execution is the only thing that matters is misleading at best, and truly damaging - even company-ending - for many entrepreneurs. Spend more time learning about the customers, rather than just assuming that as long as you raise enough millions of dollars you’ll always be able to change your idea completely and build something.

Conquer Fear

We all face fear, but entrepreneurs figure out how to forge ahead in spite of their demons. They have the will to act instead of cower.

Speed

The big no longer beats the small.  Today, the fast beats the slow. Startups use speed to their advantage and are overflowing with urgency.  They sprint toward their goals while big companies are busy writing policy manuals and planning next summer’s company picnic.

No matter who you are, thinking like a startup will help you win in today’s ultra-competitive environment.  The entrepreneurial mindset can help everyone from bureaucrats to babysitters; from authors to accountants. Seize the startup mindset, and watch your creativity and imagination light up like a roman candle.  You don’t have to be a pimply-faced 22-year old listening to house music in order to unleash your own creativity and change the world. Think like a startup.

Matthew Watt