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Learning from the best: How Founders think?

It is a well-known fact that sprinters reach their top speeds right at the start, the rest of the race they merely try to either maintain it or slow it down. The same is true for every start-up. Even the laws of economic productivity mention it- The most productive is usually always the first phase. That is the time when start-ups have the million dollar ideas.

Most of us adhere to conventional meaning of what business must seem to be like- dressed up suits, conference tables, power point presentations, thick reports and so on. However, successful start-ups have most of the time, been almost opposite of it, and yet, they form the most productive chunk of the whole economy. The reason?

It is because performance and appearances are almost always indirectly proportional. The less energy one expends on performing, the more it is employed on making it look better. Energy spend on making a thing look seemingly impressive results in a performance worse than normal. What would you do if you wish to make a car faster than it normally is- Cut the crap that makes the car beautiful and heavy. Mostly, business works the same way. Hence, the effort that goes to make a particular effort look productive is not merely wasted, but it makes your start-up less productive than before.

Successful start-ups are never ‘professional’, they are productive. Successful founders do not clean their offices or wear better clothes to impress people. Most successful tech ventures were established not on clean desks or during office hours, they were formed by badly dressed people in their shorts (or less), at 3 am in the morning.

Thus, the conclusion being that it makes no sense for start-ups or their founders to be more corporate, or professionals. In fact, it should be the other way round. What’s really important is that the productivity of the start-up must not be compromised, at all costs.

Furthermore, if there exists one quality that is common in all successful founders, be it Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, it is their determination. Most of them were uncertain at the start of it, but none of them lost determination to succeed. Perseverance is important, since when you establish a start-up, nothing would ever go as you plan it to be. Uncertainty, lack of progress and isolation are all normal amongst founders. This is mainly because, start-ups, by the literal meaning of it is to start something new, and when you try to change the status quo, people often don’t like it very much.

Another important thing to learn from successful founders is the ability to face rejections. There exist very few ventures who have been accepted right from the start. In retrospective, most of the big companies seem successful. However, most of the times, it is an uphill battle, when the idea is really in progress. Investors, CEO’s, Journalists would reject your idea, but you must not lose hope. If your idea is good, it will eventually succeed.

In addition to persistence and determination, successful founders are also adaptable- they tend to change according to the changing circumstances. This is because flexibility to understand the markets and getting to know what customers really want is the key. It is not the initial idea which is always brilliant, mostly start-ups develop as a result of a failed experiment. PayPal started out of a failed software dealing with encryptions, Flickr developed out of an online game and so on. Startups are mostly trial and error, but keeping focus on the end result is always important.

One more thing to learn from them is that getting rich is not the ultimate objective, it often is not an objective at all. The end motive is craftsmanship. Your idea must appeal to the users just like it appeals to them to have their daily meals. Financial freedom is a requisite, but more important than that is to achieve the perfection, even at the cost of the profits.

Hence, every neat idea requires a lot of artistry, when you create something, it has to be honed and perfected. Until and unless you start, it will always seem a daunting task, but there is always a silver lining at the end.

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Learning from the best: How Founders think?
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