You haven’t seen someone’s true colors unless you’ve worked
with them on a startup.
The reason character is so important is that it’s tested more
severely than in most other situations. One founder said explicitly
that the relationship between founders was more important than
I would rather cofound a startup with a friend than a stranger
with higher output. Startups are so hard and emotional that
the bonds and emotional and social support that come with
friendship outweigh the extra output lost.
Several people used that word “married.” It’s a far more intense
relationship than you usually see between coworkers—partly because
the stresses are so much greater, and partly because at first the
founders are the whole company. So this relationship has to be
built of top quality materials and carefully maintained. It’s the
basis of everything.
Running a startup is not like having a
job or being a student, because it never stops. This is so foreign
to most people’s experience that they don’t get it till it happens.
I didn’t realize I would spend almost every waking moment either
working or thinking about our startup. You enter a whole
different way of life when it’s your company vs. working for
someone else’s company.
How hard it is to keep everyone motivated during rough days or
weeks, i.e. how low the lows can be.
I’m surprised by how much better it feels to be working on
something that is challenging and creative, something I believe
in, as opposed to the hired-gun stuff I was doing before. I
knew it would feel better; what’s surprising is how much better.
But I think the reason most founders are surprised by how long it
takes is that they’re overconfident. They think they’re going to
be an instant success, like YouTube or Facebook. You tell them
only 1 out of 100 successful startups has a trajectory like that,
and they all think “we’re going to be that 1.”
Maybe they’ll listen to one of the more successful founders:
The top thing I didn’t understand before going into it is that
persistence is the name of the game. For the vast majority of
startups that become successful, it’s going to be a really
long journey, at least 3 years and probably 5+.
Because we’re relaxed, it’s so much easier to have fun doing
what we do. Gone is the awkward nervous energy fueled by the
desperate need to not fail guiding our actions. We can concentrate
on doing what’s best for our company, product, employees and
That’s why things get so much better when you hit ramen profitability.
You can shift into a different mode of working.
The principle extends even into programming. There is rarely a
single brilliant hack that ensures success:
I learnt never to bet on any one feature or deal or anything
to bring you success. It is never a single thing. Everything
is just incremental and you just have to keep doing lots of
those things until you strike something.